Politico reported Wednesday that a Trump Organization subcontractor performing window restoration for the Old Post Office turned luxury hotel renovation in Washington, D.C., is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for compensating workers below legally mandated wages.
Five on-site workers told Politico they are making less than the prevailing union wage in the D.C. region, four of whom showed pay receipts which proved their claim.
The Old Post Office building, located less than a mile from the White House, is being leased by Trump’s company from the federal government. In the terms of the agreement with the General Services Administration (GSA), the Trump Organization agreed to act as property manager and for all parties involved in the project, including subcontractors, to pay labor wages in compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act.
The law, passed in 1931, mandates that workers involved in government-owned restoration projects be compensated “no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area,” according to the Labor Department.
A GSA spokesperson confirmed that “the Trump Organization is required to comply with Davis-Bacon and this includes subcontractors working at the project.”
Two of the on-site workers who spoke with Politico are employed by a glass company not under investigation, but produced pay receipts showing compensation of about half the legal wage.
“Everybody is complaining [about being short-changed]”, said one Kensington Glass Arts’ employee.
A second Kensington employee said he spoke to the company about the issue and they told him he did not qualify to receive the Davis-Bacon wage. “They’re going to do it as long as they can get away with it,” he said.
The window restoration company under investigation — Craftsmen Group — told Politico unofficially that “the matter has been settled. . . . These are not public matters. This doesn’t have to do with Donald Trump. There should be no cause for any public interest.”
The Trump Organization has a long history of breaking labor laws and short-changing contractors and subcontractors, which undoubtedly makes trade companies weary of doing business with Trump and therefore feel the need to control costs in all areas, including labor.
As of Tuesday, a Labor Department spokesman said the investigation of Craftsmen Group is still ongoing.
An anonymous Trump Organization spokesperson said the company was not familiar with Labor’s inquiry, but commented that the Old Post Office project’s general contractor, Lendlease, “is utilizing a sophisticated system and dedicated employees to certify that all payrolls are correct and ensure that workers are paid prevailing wages. If any issue is raised in the future, Lendlease will investigate and resolve it expeditiously.”