Facts About a Wage Dispute Involving Quad Construction Workers

University Statement:

The workers demonstrating on campus are not employees of the University of Houston. Regardless we expect that employees of contractors and subcontractors performing work on campus be treated fairly and in accordance with the protections afforded to them under the law.

In light of a labor dispute between a general contractor, UH requested an external audit of general contractor’s payroll practices through an independent CPA firm to ensure the contract requirements were being met. The audit identified no irregularities regarding prevailing labor rates and no issues on the part of UH. 

UH values those who work on campus projects and supports fair labor practices. The Texas Workforce Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor are the appropriate agencies to report any violation of labor law, including allegations of worker misclassification.  

The Facts:

  • The University of Houston is not in a labor dispute with these workers- they do not work for UH and are not paid by UH.
  • These workers are employed by a construction contractor. The general contractor was awarded a bid to construct new residential buildings on campus and subcontracted some of the work through its subcontractor.
  • UH was made aware of allegations of payroll irregularities against its contractor, Austin Commercial, late last year.
  • UH launched an external audit of Austin Commercial’s payroll practices through an independent CPA firm to ensure that the contract requirements are being met by the General Contractor.
  • The external audit included a review of certified payroll and found no exceptions to compliance with prevailing wages.  
  • The auditing firm confirmed in a letter it did not find anything inappropriate with regard to Austin Commercial’s payroll practices. 
  • The Department of Labor is the appropriate agency to investigate any claim of worker misclassification and whether there are inconsistencies between the type of work an employee is performing and how it is being classified for payroll.
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