June 16, 2016
By WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
Western, NY – Also lost in the shuffle of a number of high-profile Labor events, actions and Strikes over the past several weeks was news that the New Jersey Department of Labor had ruled against North Tonawanda’s Audubon Machinery Corporation and its Board Chairman – Republican U.S. Congressman and Donald Trump Surrogate Chris Collins, fining the Western New York company for wage theft and barring it from bidding on public work projects in the State of New Jersey until 2017.
In July 2014, Audubon Machinery Corporation Employees installed equipment at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey. During a subsequent investigation, the New Jersey Department of Labor (DOL) found a discrepancy between State‐Mandated Certified Payroll Records and the actual pay records for the company’s Employees – and determined $19,000 in missing wages for six Workers. In addition to the wages, Audubon was charged penalties and fees for a grand total of seven violations and $37,821.
However, Audubon contested the charges and appeared before the DOL in late March for a hearing on the charges of unpaid wages, failure to pay Prevailing Wage, failure to register, obstruction, hindering and other charges. Afterward, the DOL announced that it had revised its initial assessments to $11,840.35 in wages, an administrative fee of $1,184.04 and penalties of $5,000 that the company must pay. In addition, the DOL announced Audubon had agreed “not to apply” for Public Works Contractor Registration (PWCR) until March 30th, 2017, which means it may not bid on or engage in public works projects until such time as it has applied for PWCR and received a PWCR certificate.
“Kudos to Marshall (Bertrum, an Attorney and Staff Member of the Western New York Council for Occupational Safety & Health, which played a major role in the investigation),” Western New York AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation (WNYALF) President Richard Lipsitz recently told WNYLaborToday.com. “This is an ‘embarrassment’ to Chris Collins. The company ‘cannot do business’ in New Jersey. To ‘their credit,’ the Worker Center at the Western New York Council for Occupational Safety and Health helped ‘bring to light’ the wage theft and ‘won.’ It ‘truly is’ a ‘David versus Goliath’ story.” To read more click on the following link