NYC Comptroller Stringer Bans Company From City Business for Stealing Immigrant Workers' Wages

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Scott Stringer. Photo--Flickr.

[New York]

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer announced Globe Gates, Inc., a Bronx-based contractor which does business as Global Overhead Doors, its owner and president Agostinho Tome, and his related corporate entity Global Iron Works, Inc. have been banned from public works in the State of New York for their willful failure to pay prevailing wages to their workers and for the falsification of payroll records.

The $143,000 settlement with Globe Gates provides for payment of roughly $120,000 in unpaid prevailing wages, plus interest, to the two Latino, immigrant workers who notified the Comptroller’s Office of the abuse of their rights in 2015.

“Now more than ever, we have to protect the most vulnerable members of our community from being cheated out of their hard-earned wages. Unfortunately, when the federal government creates a climate of fear for immigrants, workers become less likely to complain about workplace abuse and unscrupulous employers exploit that fear to cheat workers out of their wages. My office is committed to protecting workers who are the victims of wage theft, and to cracking down on contractors who prey on immigrant workers,” Stringer said.

Globe Gates employed the two workers to perform ornamental iron work at the Jamaica Water Pollution Control Plant over the course of two years, from September 2013 to August 2015. The general contractor, WDF, Inc., hired Globe Gates as a subcontractor to work on the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) project to upgrade the water pollution control plant.

Globe Gates’s payroll records showed payments of the prevailing wage rate for significantly fewer hours than were actually worked. No additional wages were paid for the unreported hours. Globe Gates was able to keep the workers in the dark by providing them with pay stubs that omitted the number of hours worked and the wage rate paid. The Comptroller’s investigation was aided by the detailed records maintained by DEP for work at the plant.

While these two workers were employed at the Jamaica Water Pollution Control Plant and being underpaid by Globe Gates, the company was already under investigation by the Comptroller’s Office for prevailing wage violations on a different project. The Comptroller resolved the prior investigation in January 2015 by stipulation of settlement and found that Globe Gates underpaid more than $75,000 in prevailing wages to two other Latino, immigrant workers.

“Monitoring and enforcing prevailing wage law in New York City is a responsibility that I take very seriously,” Stringer said. “Globe Gates was already under investigation by my office and nonetheless continued to cheat their workers and falsify payroll records. My office has zero tolerance for contractors who steal wages from their workers and then cook their books to cover it up.”

Under state law, the Comptroller’s Office sets and enforces prevailing wage and benefit rates on New York City public works projects, such as renovating public schools and parks, and on New York City building service contracts for work including security and custodial services. When companies on these public contracts do not pay the proper wages and benefits, the Comptroller enforces the law to ensure workers receive the money they are owed.

Since 2014, Comptroller Stringer’s office has assessed more than $26 million in prevailing wage violations and paid over $11 million to employees who were cheated out of their wages. The Comptroller has also debarred over 50 contractors who falsified payroll records to cover up their wage theft.

Prevailing wages are required to be paid for work performed on public construction and building service contracts.

If workers believe they have been cheated out of prevailing wages, they should call our confidential Labor Law Hotline at 212-669-4443 or email laborlaw@comptroller.nyc.gov

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