The U.S. Department of Labor has taken legal action to recover more than $829,000 in back wages for 32 workers employed as demolition laborers by Enviro & Demo Masters Inc. and Gladiators Contracting Corp., construction demolition companies based in Brooklyn and Queens.
"The department will not hesitate to pursue legal action, including debarment, to ensure employees are properly paid under the law," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
An investigation by the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division District Office in New York City revealed that the companies and their officials had violated wage and benefit requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act on two New York City public housing construction projects that were partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The investigation found that the companies had failed to pay prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits to some employees, failed to pay employees time and one-half their basic rate of pay for hours worked over 40 in a week, and submitted inaccurate certified payroll and time records.
In filing an order of reference with the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, the Labor Department is seeking not only full restitution of all back wages due to the employees but also the debarment of Enviro & Demo Masters Inc.; Gladiators Contracting Corp.; the owner and president of both companies, Jover Naranjo; and Luperio Naranjo from working on future federally-funded contracts for a period of up to three years.
Enviro & Demo Masters and Gladiators Contracting were subcontractors to Lettire Construction Corp., which itself was a subcontractor on two contracts awarded by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development for the following housing projects: The Ciena Project located at 30-324 E. 100 St. in Manhattan and Hobbs Court Project, located at 315 E. 102 St. in Manhattan. The prime contractors on these projects, which are part of the Metro North Rehabilitation Redevelopment Program, were Hobbs Ciena Associates LP and Hobbs Ciena Housing Development Fund Corp.
The Davis-Bacon Act requires all contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal and certain federally-funded projects to pay their laborers and mechanics the proper prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits as determined by the secretary of labor. In addition, the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act requires contractors and subcontractors to pay laborers and mechanics one and one-half times their basic rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a week.
For more information on the Davis-Bacon Act and other federal laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the division's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/.
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