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For Immediate Release
Contact : (212) 306-3322
Date: April 16, 2003

NYCHA Prevailing Wage Initiative: A Wake-up Call to Contractors

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced a tough initiative to ensure that contractors and subcontractors who carry out modernization and capital improvement work, pay prevailing wages to workers on jobs at public housing developments.

"The Prevailing Wage Enforcement Initiative is designed to strengthen the agency's ability to monitor and enforce the rightful payments of wages to workers employed by a contractor or subcontractor," said NYCHA Chairman Tino Hernandez.

The initiative is a major enhancement of NYCHA's existing enforcement program. It offers stronger tools to identify violators of prevailing wage requirements.

In addition to current penalties such as suspension of construction work, termination of contract, finding of non-responsibility and prevention from bidding on future contracts, NYCHA will now require contractors to pay for the cost of investigations where it is found that they failed to pay prevailing wages.

In effect, this is a wake up call to contractors conducting business with us not to defraud their workers. Prevailing wage enforcement is a major priority," Hernandez said. "Contractors who do business with NYCHA know this, those who seek to do business with NYCHA know this, and whoever considers bidding for a contract with us should be aware of our rules.

NYCHA Prevailing Wage Initiative add 1/1/1

Every contractor awarded a construction or building services contract with NYCHA is required to pay its workers wages and supplemental benefits equal to or greater than the applicable prevailing wage, Hernandez explained.

NYCHA has always taken enforcement of prevailing wage seriously. Since 2000, NYCHA investigated 143 contractors and uncovered 26 who failed to pay their workers prevailing wages amounting to $954,282. The money was recovered and the workers were paid. NYCHA is currently withholding over $1.6 million in payments to contractors pending the outcome of ongoing investigations.

Additionally, NYCHA's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is in the process of recovering over $6 million for workers who were underpaid by contractors as part of ongoing investigations.

"The Housing Authority must be vigilant to ensure workers get the pay and benefits to which they are entitled," Hernandez said. "Anything short of that is not acceptable," he emphasized, adding, "even though we've done a lot, we want to do more."

Under the new initiative:
  • NYCHA will allocate additional staff resources to conduct prevailing wage investigations and enforcement activities.
  • Contractors will be required to place an advisory poster at the work site informing workers of the prevailing wage. In addition, the poster lists a new toll-free number, 1-888-NYCHA-PW (1-888-692-4279), where workers can call to get help or more information. The poster also provides information to non-English-fluent workers in Urdu, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi and Polish. Workers with questions can also call 311, the Citywide number for all non-emergency information and services.
  • A uniform procedure for monitoring and enforcing prevailing wage requirements, specifically outlining the responsibilities of contractors, inspectors, development staff and administering departments has been established.
  • All NYCHA staff with a role in the oversight of the performance of contracts will be held accountable for monitoring compliance with prevailing wage requirements. Over 620 NYCHA staff has been trained to date on the new requirements. NYCHA has also established provisions for training contractors so that all understand the new enforcement requirements.
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