NEW YORK CITY (TIP): With Labor Rights Week just days away, on Wednesday, August 19, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer enlisted the help of the public to identify more than one thousand workers who are entitled to payments totaling $3.7 million as part of unclaimed prevailing wage settlements with several companies that worked on City-funded projects. The Comptroller’s Office sets and enforces prevailing wage and benefit rates on New York City public works projects and attempts to find workers who are owed wages from these settlements.
“My office has recovered millions of dollars through our enforcement of the prevailing wage, but now we need your help to connect these workers with the money they are owed,” Comptroller Stringer said. “Thousands of hard-working individuals, many of whom are immigrants, have been cheated out of their rightfully-earned wages, but they may not know these funds exist. Help us get the word out about unclaimed wages – recovering thousands of dollars may only be a phone call or email away.”
For a complete list of the 1,056 individuals entitled to unclaimed wages, please click here.
Workers who believe they may be entitled to unclaimed wages can call the Comptroller’s hotline, send in inquiries via email to email@example.com or check the Comptroller’s unclaimed wages website, which is now mobile-friendly.
Prevailing wage laws require employers to pay workers the wage and benefit rate set annually by the New York City Comptroller when those employees work on City public works projects, such as, renovating public schools, or building service contracts, which includes security guard and custodial work, with City agencies. When companies do not pay, the Comptroller enforces the law to ensure workers receive what they are owed.
Since taking office, Comptroller Stringer has enhanced his office’s efforts to recoup unpaid prevailing wages and benefits. Since 2014, the office has reached settlements worth more than $8.6 million, including one in May with North American Iron Works in which the company paid nearly $1 million to 33 workers that was rightfully theirs, and debarred 21 contractors from doing business with the City as a penalty. In instances in which funds have been recovered and workers cannot be located, the Comptroller’s Office maintains the wages in a trust account as search efforts are continued.
Today’s announcement marks a renewed effort by the Comptroller’s office, culminating in Labor Rights Week (August 25th-29th), to help identify those who are owed wages through social media, media partnerships, distribution of informational flyers in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Creole, Urdu, and Bengali in neighborhoods throughout the City and a new mobile-friendly site to search for unclaimed wages.
“We’re ramping up our efforts to identify these hard-working men and women who are owed the money they earned. In the coming weeks, we’ll be on the streets, on social media and on the airwaves with a single message: if you’ve been cheated out of your wages, the Comptroller’s Office has your back. Tell your friends and family: call our hotline or visit our website to see if you are eligible to receive your lost wages,” Stringer said.
“Rampant wage theft remains a reality for all too many immigrant and working-class New Yorkers. We applaud Comptroller Stringer for working to identify workers who are owed compensation through these settlements, and we are eager to continue working with his office to combat wage theft across our City,” said Amy Taylor, Legal Director of Make the Road New York.
“The Asian American Federation commends Comptroller Stringer’s leadership in supporting our City’s workers. Contractors wishing to work with the City must be ethical employers and ensure that their staff are treated fairly, especially when tax dollars are funding their work. We look forward to working with our member agencies and informational outlets to find those workers who are entitled to the lost wages,” said the Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation.
“We applaud the Comptroller’s effort to ensure that all workers – immigrants and native-born alike – are able to get the compensation they deserve for their hard work. It is important that we do get the word out in different languages and to different communities to make sure that these workers are able to get the information and receive their hard-earned wages,” said Steven Choi, executive director, New York Immigration Coalition
“AAFE roundly applauds Comptroller Stringer’s efforts in collaboration with immigrant-serving organizations to reach out and identify workers who are entitled to the $3.7 million of lost wages owed to them. We know that many of these, who are among New York’s most precarious workers, may be unaware of the settlement and we strongly encourage them to come forward if they have worked for these named contractors to claim these lost wages which are rightfully theirs and to which they are fully entitled,” Chris Kui, ED of Asian Americans for Equality.
“I’m proud to be standing here on behalf of the NYC Community Alliance for Worker Justice. Scott Stringer’s findings on wage theft are no surprise to those of us in the construction industry. I stand here with the workers who have been the victim of wage theft and discrimination by the Auringer Companies, Auringer Companies are just one example of a problem which is pervasive in our industry, the exploitation of low-wage workers of color. The only solution for this problem is widespread procurement reform which would guarantee a level playing field for highroad contractors and developers and assure a life with dignity for the hard working men and women in our City. I applaud Comptroller Stringer’s effort to make our City a just one,” Eddie Jorge, Organizer, N Y S Iron Workers District Council, International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Iron Workers.”
Comptroller’s Hotline for Unclaimed Wages: (212) 669-4443