Klein details ‘New Deal’ plan for windfall funds

By Josefa Velasquez
5:47 p.m. | Dec. 8, 2014

ALBANY-State Senator Jeff Klein, who leads the Independent Democratic Conference, has proposed a two-pronged program to use the state’s $5 billion windfall from bank settlements for a modern-day version of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Klein’s “New Deal for New York” would use part of the bank settlement money to create a new program called Empire Public Works, dedicated to upgrading the state’s infrastructure.

In an interview with Capital, Klein said the infrastructure projects in the program would be required to pay prevailing wages, which would apply to agencies like the M.T.A., housing authorities, and bridge and tunnel authorities, which don’t always pay prevailing wages.

“It’s money that I believe was stolen from the taxpayers from financial institutions accused of financial crimes against New Yorkers,” he said in a phone interview, adding, “It certainly makes sense that this infusion of cash go right back in to the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers.”

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Ordinance sets higher wages for city projects: San Mateo officials adopt rules for public works while encouraging private developers to adopt similar policies

October 13, 2014, 05:00 AM – By Samantha Weigel – Daily Journal

As the cost of living rises along the Peninsula, those who work on San Mateo city public works projects will be guaranteed prevailing wages after the City Council approved an ordinance codifying existing policy and to adhere to state regulations.

To receive state funding, California’s newly enacted Labor Code section 1782 requires charter cites, such as San Mateo, to pay workers at least the state’s prevailing wage on public works projects, City Attorney Shawn Mason said.

The ordinance was approved last week but Councilman David Lim said the City Council has long strived to pay its employees prevailing wages and encourage private developers to do so as well.

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Orange County District Attorney
Press Release

September 25, 2014

SANTA ANA – A former general contractor was convicted and sentenced today for defrauding his employees by taking their wages totaling over $80,000 in loss and keeping the money for himself from a state public works contract. Sourin Babayan, 65, Glendale, pleaded guilty to the court to 17 felony counts of taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on public works project and six felony counts of dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime. He was sentenced to two years in state prison and ordered to pay $80,200 in restitution.

At the time of the crime, Babayan worked as a sub-contractor and owned SDB Construction (SDB). DJM Construction (DJM), a general contractor who was awarded a project by the State of California, for the improvement of a state developmental hospital in Costa Mesa.

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San Rafael’s red-light camera company nabbed by state for not paying prevailing wage

San Rafael’s red-light cameras may be dark, but the city’s relationship with the provider isn’t over.

The city has been instructed by the state to withhold nearly $25,000 in payments to Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. of Phoenix, which serviced the city’s two cameras, because the company failed to pay its contractors prevailing wage when the equipment was installed in October 2009. Prevailing wage is the basic hourly rate paid to public works project employees as set by the state, ensuring contractors aren’t awarded projects based on paying lower wages than a competitor.

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Defender of the Prevailing Wage Act speaks up

It has become accepted among several elected and politically appointed officials to spout how much better we would be without unions to hold us back. Recently, in Pennsylvania, there was a movement attempting to pass a resolution that would allow school districts and municipalities to exempt themselves from the Prevailing Wage Act of Aug. 15, 1961. The original Act was instituted to protect local wages and standards that were negotiated for the benefit of the territory that they covered. This Act standardized wages and benefits on public work projects, so out-of-state contractors could not, unfairly, underbid local contractors that support local worker

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Workers’ Pay Should Not Fund ABC Sham Labor Compliance Committee’s

Anti-union contractors deduct earnings from workers’ paychecks. They use the money to fund committees that falsely claim to be about labor compliance, but actually exist solely to further the anti-union contractors’ political interests. Then they claim that expense as a fringe benefit to the worker, which they use to reduce the amount they are legally required to pay the worker under California’s prevailing wage law.

Unfortunately, a loophole in current law allows that deceptive and unfair scenario to happen. And the Associated Builders and Contractors (“ABC”) and their friends are all too happy to exploit it.

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Seven Contractors Fined for Prevailing Wage Violations

The Labor Commission reported that the prime contractor, Valley Vanguard, is jointly and severally liable for all assessments issued against the six subcontractors.

“Valley Vanguard, as the prime contractor for the highway expansion project, is responsible for ensuring that all workers performing construction work on a public works project are paid the correct prevailing wage rates,” Su said.

Bi-Partisan Bill by State Senators to Require Prevailing Wage Jobs in California Charter Cities

Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) will co-author a measure on prevailing wage to increase middle-class jobs, sustain a skilled workforce, and ensure cost efficient and high quality public works projects.

“Continuing California’s economic growth depends on creating more middle class jobs, especially in the construction industry that was hit so hard during the Great Recession,” said Steinberg. “Low wage contractors cut costs by cutting corners, but the data shows that they’re not saving public money. We can’t afford to shortchange workers and taxpayers by ignoring the economic net benefit of California’s prevailing wage law.”

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