Are UXO Escorts Getting Short-Changed?

Washington, D.C. Several years ago the Department of Labor (DOL) added UXO Technician categories to the list of occupations and skill sets under Service Contract Act (SCA) contracts. SCA rates are the minimum hourly rates that companies are required to pay employees working under SCA contracts. The scale or wages vary by location including by State and county. conducted an evaluation of SCA wage lists from over a dozen of locations and came across some interesting results. All wage determinations examined had five categories for UXO technicians under the 30000 series (Technical Occupations). These included:

  • Code 30491 - UXO Technician I
  • Code 30492 - UXO Technician II
  • Code 30493 - UXO Technician III
  • Code 30494 - UXO Safety Escort
  • Code 30495 - UXO Sweep Personnel

In all cases examined from the DOL website, the minimum hourly rates for the Sweep Personnel and Safety Escort were equal to the rate for a UXO Technician Level I. However, what is more interesting is that the DDESBP and USACE policy requires escorts to be performed by a UXO Technician Level II or higher. Specific language from the respective policies are highlighted below:

DDESB Technical Paper 18 - UXO Technician Level II - Roles and responsibilities

"Escort personnel who are not directly involved in UXO-related operations (e.g., personnel performing environmental monitoring), but have activities to perform within exclusion areas."

USACE EP 75-1-2

"For anomaly avoidance on an HTRW site with known or suspected MEC, the contractor shall provide a UXO team consisting of a minimum of two personnel, one of whom must be a UXO Technician II. This individual will be the UXO team leader. The UXO team must be on-site during all sampling activities. The UXO team may include additional UXO-qualified personnel, geophysicists, or any other team member, depending on site- and task-specific conditions/requirements."

An example of this discrepancy is highlighted in the current Wage Determination for Redstone Arsenal located in Madison County, Alabama. Under the DOL website, Wage Determination No.: 2005-2007, Revision No.: 15 (Date Of Revision: 06/13/2011), the rates of the Safety Escort and Sweep Personnel at $22.74, the same as a UXO Technician Level I and the rates of a UXO Technician Level II at $27.51. A difference of $4.77, a 20% discrepancy.

So if an UXO escort needs to be Level II qualified per DoD and USACE policy, why isn't that position rates as such.

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