New York, NY – New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer today announced an initiative to return over $2.5 million in unclaimed prevailing wages to workers cheated out of their pay by contractors on City-funded projects.
The Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law enforces prevailing wage and benefit rates for construction and building service workers employed by contractors on City public work projects. When companies on these public contracts fail to pay the proper wages and benefits, the Comptroller enforces the law to recover the money owed to workers and ensure that they receive the money through outreach. The Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law are conducting intensive research to find telephone numbers and email addresses for workers with unclaimed wages. Anecdotal evidence indicates many workers are afraid to respond to calls and emails because they fear it is a scam, making widespread public awareness essential to connect employees with their prevailing wage awards.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is putting tremendous strain on New York City’s workforce and vulnerable communities, leaving many families uncertain about their ability to pay rent or even put food on the table,” said Comptroller Stringer. “In these challenging times, every dollar counts. While the federal social safety net continues to discriminate based on immigration status, we’re working around the clock to make sure workers get the $2.5 million in unclaimed prevailing wages they are owed for their work with the City. We’re asking New Yorkers across the five boroughs to spread the word, and to please get in touch if you think you may have been unfairly cheated out of wages.”
Since 2014, Comptroller Stringer’s office has assessed more than $30 million in prevailing wage violations and paid over $15 million to employees who were cheated out of their wages. It has also debarred over 50 contractors who took advantage of workers – setting an official record.
“In his time as Comptroller, Scott Stringer has consistently worked to stand up for the rights of workers on many fronts. As this pandemic hits New Yorkers especially hard, it’s even more important for working families to get access to all the resources due to them. We strongly support the Comptroller’s proactive efforts to get $2.5 million in stolen wages back in the hands of families that need them, and urge our members to respond to calls from the Comptroller’s office, and to assure their co-workers and neighbors that they should also respond,” said Kyle Bragg, President of 32BJ SEIU.