A.G. Schneiderman Announces Conviction Of Electrical Contractors For Not Paying Prevailing Wages On Electrical Work Projects

NEW YORK — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the conviction and sentencing of Ronald Bartiromo, Raymond D’Auria and R3 Electrical Inc. for failing to pay legally required wages to their workers on two public works projects throughout New York City.  Ronald Bartiromo and R3 Electrical pled guilty to the felony crimes of violation of prevailing wage requirements of the New York State Labor Law and grand larceny in the second degree.  D’Auria pled guilty to the misdemeanor crime of violation of prevailing wage requirements of the New York State Labor Law.  As a condition of the pleas, Bartiromo and R3 Electrical agreed to pay $273,943.66 in restitution to underpaid workers and are prohibited from working on public works projects for five years.  Bartiromo was also sentenced to 5 years’ probation.

“Mr. Bartiromo, Mr. D’Auria and R3 Electrical, Inc. are being held accountable for stealing wages from workers who did electrical work on several public works projects throughout New York City,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office will continue to take strong action, including filing criminal charges, against employers who violate New York’s labor laws, steal taxpayer dollars and violate the public trust.”

(Read More)

Non-Union Contractor Caught Shaving $50/hour Off Worker Paychecks on City Funded Project in NY

As contractor on the Sugar Hill housing project in Harlem, MountCo construction was supposed to be paying its workers the prevailing wage (nearly $65 an hour).  The reality? Workers on the project were making closer to $15 and being forced to lie about their earnings to inspectors who were there to monitor the company because of its history of failing to do so.

Construction of taxpayer subsidized projects is big business, regulated to ensure maximum positive economic impact on the community.  The name of MountCo’s non-union game, sadly, is inflating profits by drastically underpaying workers. The city is now looking to recover nearly $300,000 in back wages owed to the workers, the New York Daily News writes.

Workers told NDN that on that day of the project’s press conference completion, they were kept in the top half of the building so they would not be seen by the press or reveal to the Mayor the problems with the contractor.  What’s worse, many of them were paid for only half days and told the reason was how little work there was to do on those top floors.

“They told us we had to work on the ninth floor or higher. We couldn’t work any lower than that. They were going to tell us when we could go downstairs,” one worker, who did not want to be identified, told The News. “They wouldn’t let us see him.”

(Read More)

Nearly $5M in Back Wages for Approximately 500 Workers at Federally-Assisted Project in New York Secured by US Labor Department

NEW YORK – MDG Design & Construction LLC has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor that resolves wage violations at the federally-assisted Grand Street Guild construction project in New York City’s Lower East Side. MDG and other respondents will pay $3.8 million in back wages and fringe benefits to about 200 of MDG’s subcontractors’ construction workers. Previous, separate investigations led to the repayment of more than $1.1 million in back wages to approximately 300 laborers and mechanics who worked for MDG’s subcontractors on the Lower East Side project.

MDG was the general contractor for the Grand Street Guild project, which involved the refurbishment and rehabilitation of three 26-story apartment towers. The department’s Wage and Hour Division found numerous Davis-Bacon and Related Acts violations by MDG subcontractors on the project, including failure to pay required prevailing wages and submitting inaccurate or falsified payroll records to the government.

(Read More)

New York’s De Blasio Seeks to Drop Wage Law Challenge

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is seeking to drop his predecessor’s challenge to a law requiring landlords and companies getting economic aid from the city to pay workers the same wages as employees of its contractors.

The city asked state Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey D. Wright in court papers today to void his ruling from August of last year invalidating the prevailing wage measure, saying the court failed to recognize the city’s authority to incorporate wage standards into its commercial transactions.

The city council passed the bill 44-4 in May 2012 over former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto. Bloomberg sued the council two months later, saying the requirement would increase costs and was pre-empted by the state’s minimum-wage law.

The law requires any company receiving at least $1 million in economic development aid from the city to pay its workers the prevailing wage — the rate set by law for each trade or occupation for employees of contractors who do public works projects and building service work for government agencies.

(Read More)

NY Sets Classification Rules

New York has joined a growing number of states tackling the issue of employment classification for commercial truck drivers. Following through on a mandate in a bill passed in January, the state’s Department of Labor released new standards this week to clarify whether a driver is an employee or an independent contractor.

“The trucking industry is vital to how our state operates, from shipping materials that make our buildings, to parts and systems that keep us safe, to the food and products we use every day,” says New York Commissioner of Labor Peter Rivera. “For too long, truck drivers have sought to have a clear standard. This law provides clarity for employers and truckers.”

Demolition Company Operators Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court For Scheme To Underpay Employees In Violation Of Federal Prevailing Wage Law

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOVER NARANJO, the owner and president of Enviro & Demo Masters, Inc. (“Enviro”), and LUPERIO NARANJO, SR., a foreman for Enviro, were sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to six and four years in prison, respectively, for perpetrating a scheme to underpay employees in violation of the federal prevailing wage law and for tampering with witnesses and using other people’s identities to further this scheme. Both defendants were convicted in November 2013 after a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who imposed today’s sentences.


Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Today’s sentences ensure Jover Naranjo and Luperio Naranjo, Sr., will pay a steep price for underpaying their staff, abusing federal funds, and then lying to cover it all up – loss of their liberty.”

(Read More)

NYC: Firms building city-backed affordable housing repeatedly caught cheating workers out of wages

Last week, Mayor de Blasio promised to “lift up working families” with soon-to-be built affordable apartments the city is sponsoring on a vacant lot in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

 But at an affordable housing project a few blocks away, builder MDG Design and subcontractor F. Rizos, settled federal wage-cheating charges in April 2013 by agreeing to pay $960,000 in back wages.

Just one month later, MDG was hit with more wage-cheating charges on another city project, this time for $4.5 million in back wages, a city record.

Yet MDG was chosen by the former Bloomberg administration that very month to turn a city-owned warehouse in Williamsburg into 55 affordable apartments and stands to build hundreds more in the coming years.

Many taxpayer-funded developments in New York City require contractors and their subcontractors to pay “prevailing wages.” Some contractors jump through hoops to avoid this.

(Read More)

AG Announces Partnership to Combat Misclassification

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneider­­man has signed a memorandum of understanding that allows his office to cooperate with both the federal and New York Departments of Labor to battle worker misclassification.

The three offices will share information in an effort to catch employers that wrongly classify employees as independent contractors.

The move puts New York on board a federal initiative launched in 2010 as part of the Obama administration’s “Middle Class Task Force.” To date, California, Colo­­rado, Con­­nec­­ti­­cut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Lou­­isi­­ana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Min­­ne­­sota, Missouri, Montana, Utah and Wash­­ington have signed similar agreements. The initiative claims to have collected $18.2 million in back wages for over 19,000 employees.

(Read More)

In clash with Bloomberg, Quinn vows to appeal ‘prevailing wage’ law court ruling

Saying this was only a “minor setback,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other members vowed Tuesday they would appeal a court ruling that struck down the “prevailing wage” law.

“Make no mistake, we will appeal and we will be victorious in our efforts,” Quinn said surrounded by members of Local 32BJ SEIU, which represents property service workers in the city.

(Read More)