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#61620 - 01/29/06 08:26 PM Prevailing wages.  
DSpanoudakis  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 89
Astoria, Queens, N.Y.C.
I wanted to know a little bit about prevailing wages.

I'm currently working at a state institution, Queens Children's Psychiatric in New York City. I've been with my contractor for about 4 months now, and for about the past 10 weeks, I've been at this job.

I am a helper, but by no means, a regular "gofer" or "hand me my tools" helper. I can keep up with the 7+year mechanics with conduit runs, circuit layouts, and the like at the job we are doing now.

But, my co-workers are getting $75/hr, which I hear is the prevailing wage for mechanics here in NY. By no means am I asking for $75/hr, but they do tell me that prevailing wages for a helper should be in the $35-$45/hr range.

I'm currently at $20/hr. I do love my job, I am thankful for my job, but if I deserve to get a higher wage for the fact that it's the law to get a certain amount since this is for the state, then I really need to get that.

Is it right for my contractor to be paying the other 4 mechanics prevailing wage but to continue to pay me my normal pay? Everyone I talked to said that he's keeping the extra money for himself, and is probably writing fake amounts for how much he's paying me. Can this happen?

I'm thinking on talking to my boss tomorrow morning, but what happens if he rejects my question, what can I do from there?


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#61621 - 01/29/06 08:54 PM Re: Prevailing wages.  
hbiss  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
Hawthorne, NY USA
Here's what you do. Forget about talking to your boss. Call the Dormitory Authority State of NY. They are on Main street in Albany and they are the ones who run that job.

Ask to talk to the girl in charge of prevailing wage. Tell her where you work and what job. She will be more than happy to help you, especially if you are not being paid what your employer agreed with them to pay you.

-Hal

[This message has been edited by hbiss (edited 01-29-2006).]


#61622 - 01/29/06 08:55 PM Re: Prevailing wages.  
Radar  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 349
Los Angeles, CA
DS - I work for a public agency in the Los Angeles area. On most of our projects, we require all contractors to pay prevailing wage rates to all their workers. In order to minimize the instances of 'cheating', we require the contractors to submit certified payroll records monthly, which are audited, and we have people occasionally visit with the workers on the jobsite to ensure everything is OK wage wise.

There are actually 2 different prevailing wafe rate determinations for our area, the federal and the state each have their own. Contractors have to comply with which ever one is higher. I don't know about NY, but checking with your state website might be an idea.

On our projects, the only workers who do not get the basic (journey level) prevailing wage rate are those who are enrolled in a state approved apprenticeship program. Contractors aren't allowed to have 'helpers' outside the apprenticeship programs available for that purpose. That sounds like it might apply in your case.

All that said, I don't know that the state or the feds ever come check on the wage rates paid on our projects (they could, I guess), it's pretty much up to us to enforce the issue with the contractors we award contracts to.

Good luck,

Radar


There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary, and those who don't.

#61623 - 01/29/06 09:14 PM Re: Prevailing wages.  
togol  Offline
Member
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
NW In. USA
pretty much what has already been mentioned.
under Davis-Bacon.... the DOE requires outside contractor employees to periodically fill out a standard form explaining our experience, classification, and pay scale..

.. additionally, boilerplate contract language does not allow anyone .....who has NOT FINISHED an apprenticeship..... to work onsite, so any charges to the contract reflect work done by j-men.........!

I know this doesn't help you directly, but if your boss is charging the state for you at a j-man rate........he could be committing a Fraud......

make sure you have your stubs, and check your hours carefully......


Tom

#61624 - 01/29/06 09:21 PM Re: Prevailing wages.  
Radar  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 349
Los Angeles, CA
Quote
I know this doesn't help you directly, but if your boss is charging the state for you at a j-man rate........he could be committing a Fraud......


Just remembered something I shouldda mentioned above. We also have an office of the Inspector General (IG) who can and will investigate cases of 'waste, fraud & abuse'. These are federal agents, and they generally are not ammused in the least by anyone 'cheating' on their prevailing wage rate obligation.

Radar


[This message has been edited by Radar (edited 01-29-2006).]


There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary, and those who don't.

#61625 - 01/29/06 10:01 PM Re: Prevailing wages.  
togol  Offline
Member
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
NW In. USA
Radar,,..No......they are not the least bit amused,....

...Procurement had suspended $24,000 on a job I was working on....for hours and people charged to jobs I worked on alone..

.My "interview" was not a pleasant experience.... because, even though I didn't fill out the extras tickets, I was on them, and I needed to verify my hours and material.....and since it was a Federal facility, the FBI was there , observing......


Tom

#61626 - 01/29/06 10:57 PM Re: Prevailing wages.  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
DS, you just got fiddled by the fickle finger of fate.
Prevailing wage schedules apply only to those who are either journeymen, or actually enrolled apprenticed in a DOL recognised apprenticeship program.
Everyone else gets whatever their usual wage would be.

In short, your employer is a skunk. Get into a program, and find a reputable employer.

And for all you employers out there- this is one of those situations where "the law" is seen as unfair by the employee, and influences his opinion come election time....


#61627 - 01/30/06 12:04 PM Re: Prevailing wages.  
Radar  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 349
Los Angeles, CA
Reno - This sort of thing that you're describing is not allowed here, so apparently different areas have different rules on the application of prevailing wages, and DS should check further.

Most of our contracts require the trades basic prevailing wage rate to be paid to all contractors workers except those enrolled in apprenticeships. A contractor cannot (read that 'is not supposed to') do as you describe, that's why we have certified payroll records submitted monthly.

Note: An attempt by a contractor to overstate his (labor) costs in order to reap additional revenue is committing fraud, which is actionable by the IG. So besides whatever contract action we may take (say, termination for default), this can also become a criminal issue.

Radar


There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary, and those who don't.

#61628 - 01/30/06 06:29 PM Re: Prevailing wages.  
hbiss  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
Hawthorne, NY USA
Yup. There is a roofing contractor here who I believe was just indicted because he wasn't paying prevailing wage to some of his workers on a school job. Claims he "didn't know".

-Hal


#61629 - 01/30/06 08:57 PM Re: Prevailing wages.  
tkb  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 94
Massachusetts
Quote
quoted by renosteinke:
Prevailing wage schedules apply only to those who are either journeymen, or actually enrolled apprenticed in a DOL recognised apprenticeship program.
Everyone else gets whatever their usual wage would be.


If you are not licensed or a registered apprentice the you will be entitled to the full rate.


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