By Sadef Ali Kully

The city comptroller identified last week over a thousand workers, including 200 Queens residents, who are owed a total of $3.7 million in settlements for unclaimed prevailing wages from city-funded projects.

Queens has the highest amount owed to workers at an estimated $800,000. Brooklyn had the second highest amount of wages owed at an estimated $600,000 for 241 workers and in the Bronx, 160 workers are owed more than $300,000, the comptroller said. In Manhattan and Staten Island, a total of $80,000 is owed to 78 workers.

Prevailing wage laws require employers to pay workers the wage and benefit rate set annually by the city comptroller when those employees work on public works projects, such as renovating public schools or building service contracts, which include security guard and custodial work, with city agencies.

“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,” City Comptroller Scott Stringer said. “Thousands of hardworking individuals, many of whom are immigrants, have been cheated out of their rightfully earned wages, but they may not know these funds exist.

Since 2014, Stringer has reached settlements worth more than $8.6 million for prevailing wage violations.

In instances in which funds have been recovered and workers cannot be located, the comptroller maintains the wages in a trust account as search efforts are continued.

“We’re ramping up our efforts to identify these hardworking 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,” he said. “The comptroller’s office has your back. Tell your friends and family: call our hot line or visit our website to see if you are eligible to receive your lost wages.”

Stringer said to help identify those who are owed wages his office is distributing informational fliers in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Creole, Urdu, and Bengali in neighborhoods throughout the city and will have a new mobile-friendly site to search for unclaimed wages.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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