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.

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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.

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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.

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