Workers Urged To Check Online For Owed Wages --NYC Comptroller Stringer

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Scott Stringer

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer has announced the kick off of a “Know Your Rights” campaign with labor rights groups, community organizations, the Consulate of Mexico and the Latin American Consulates Coalition to help connect more than 1,000 individuals to over $5 million in unclaimed prevailing wages they are owed.

The campaign, coinciding with Labor Rights Week, will include direct community outreach, social media engagement and the distribution of informational flyers in various languages across the City to raise awareness about prevailing wages.

“Here at the Comptroller’s office, we believe that an honest day’s work deserves an honest day’s pay,” Comptroller Stringer said. “Since taking office, we’ve de-barred 35 companies that have cheated workers out of their rightfully-earned wages and recovered millions for hard-working men and women. Today we’re joining with a coalition of partners to help ensure everyone knows their rights about prevailing wages and to send a message that we do not tolerate exploitation of workers, no matter their immigration status.”

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, or on building service contracts with City agencies, like security guards and custodial work. When companies 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 Bureau of Labor Law has assessed nearly $18 million in prevailing wage violations and paid more than $8 million to workers who were cheated out of their earnings.

In August of 2015, Comptroller Stringer announced a new campaign to help connect workers with prevailing wages that had gone unclaimed which has resulted in 84 workers receiving nearly $600,000 in money they were owed. This includes seven people who eventually received nearly $330,000 as a result of a chance encounter in a taxi cab.

Currently, the Comptroller’s Office is holding more than $5 million in unclaimed prevailing wages for more than 1,000 workers who were underpaid by contractors on City-funded projects.

To search a list of names of individuals owed money:

www.comptroller.nyc.gov/prevailingwage

Since taking office, Comptroller Stringer has debarred 35 contractors due to the egregious nature of their prevailing wage violations. As a result, they are banned from bidding on City and State public works contracts for five years.

The list of debarred contractors includes:

Decoma Building Corp.
TM Mechanical corp.
DeWaters Plumbing & Heating
Vick Construction
Colonial Roofing Company
EF Pro Contracting Inc.
V & R Contracting
Aqua Jet Painting Corp.
Cassidy Excavating Inc.
Optimum Construction Inc.
Metro Duct Systems Inc.
Mackey Reed Electric
Sphinx Contracting Corp.
H.N.H. Contractors Corp.
Craft Fence Inc.
M. S. Quality LLC
New American Restoration Inc.
Brooklyn Welding Corp.
New York Insulation Inc.
Traffic Moving Systems Inc.
North American Iron Works
Arkay Construction Inc.
Apco Contracting Corp.
Astoria General Contracting Corp.
Reliance General Construction Inc.
Mountain's Air Inc.
Scott Electrical Service LLC
Astro Communications of NY
Sublink, LTD
Mack Glassnauth Iron Works
MZM Corp.
Dosanjh Construction Corp.
New York Rigging Corp.
CFM Services Corp.
Beacon Restoration, Inc.

Individuals who believe they may be entitled to unclaimed wages can call the Comptroller’s hotline at (212) 669-4443, email laborlaw@comptroller.nyc.gov, or check Comptroller Stringer’s mobile-friendly unclaimed wages website.

In addition, throughout Labor Rights Week from August 29th to September 4th, members of the Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law will be staffing information tables at the Mexican Consulate in Midtown, El Centro del Inmigrante in Staten Island, and Feria Comunitaria in Washington Heights.

"We applaud Comptroller Scott Stringer's office for taking initiative to make sure that New Yorkers who have been unfairly cheated out of wages get the compensations that they deserve. Rampant wage theft remains a reality for New York's most vulnerable communities, many of whom are immigrants and we must send a message to employers and companies that this will not be tolerated," said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

"Wage theft is a persistent and pervasive problem in New York, especially for immigrant workers. That is why it’s so important to identify and compensate workers who are still owed thousands of dollars in unpaid prevailing wages. Working people around New York are sick and tired of employers stealing their wages, and they are ready to fight for what’s rightfully theirs," said Meg Fosque, Lead Workplace Justice Organizer, Make the Road New York.

"I welcome the Comptroller’s determination to ensure that all workers, regardless of their migratory status– particularly those of Mexican origin – are compensated for their hard work. Just last month, the Comptroller’s office requested our assistance to locate beneficiaries of a compensation, result of the ill practice of a former employer. Consular officials found them in Mexico and here in New York City; for the beneficiary in Mexico, we received a check to be forwarded to him; for those in NYC, Mexican consular officials convince them to meet with representatives from the Comptroller’s office to receive what they fairly deserve. The Consulate of Mexico will continue to strengthen its alliance with the City authorities in order to fight all practices of labor discrimination, and to encourage the workers to come forward to denounce them and claim their rightful lost wages,” said Diego Gómez Pickering, Consul General of Mexico in New York.

“When greedy corporations cut corners they often see immigrant labor as the easiest target to take from. And when these workers don’t know their rights, or where to turn when they’ve been wronged, they can unjustly fall through the cracks. I commend Comptroller Stringer for standing up for these working men and women who contribute so much to our economy and I encourage everyone to spread the word to make sure that these New Yorkers receive the wages that they so rightly earned and deserve,” said Christopher Kui, Executive Director of Asian Americans For Equality.

“With great enthusiasm and appreciation we received the initiative of the Comptroller's office, which will benefit thousands of workers, men and women of Hispanic origin who honestly have earned a living and who have seen violated their rights to a fair and timely payment. The Coalition of Latin American Consulates in New York will support the location of our nationals that are entitled of a compensations they owed and look forward to strengthen the cooperation with the local authorities,” said Maria Isabel Nieto, President of the Coalition of Latin American Consulates in New York and Consul General of Colombia in New York.

“The Alliance of South Asian American Labor (ASAAL) strongly commends Comptroller Scott Stringer for his outstanding work since elected, in identifying workers who have been victimized by wage theft. Many of the affected workers are South Asian and we at ASAAL, want every single worker regardless of race, ethnicity or creed to have the same privilege as anyone else to get paid, an honest day's pay for an honest day's work,” said Maf Misbah Uddin, Founder and President of ASAAL, Alliance of South Asian American Labor.

“Workers across the City continue to be cheated out of their hard-earned wages. We applaud Comptroller Stringer for taking each and every step to identify the workers who are owed thousands of dollars in compensation. We will continue to work hand in hand with the Comptroller to combat wage theft across the city,” said Rocio Valerio, Labor Director at New York Communities for Change.

“The Asian American Federation strongly support Comptroller Stringer’s leadership in holding contractors who accept public money accountable to paying their workers fairly. Those who accept our tax dollars to fund their work must act ethically and treat their staff fairly. In partnership with the Comptroller’s office, we will work with our member agencies and informational outlets in the Asian community to let those workers know that they have an opportunity to claim their lost wages,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation.

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