Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced today that on November 29, 2016, he, and members of his staff, attended the monthly meeting of the Orange County Association of Towns, Villages and Cities and presented information concerning the requirement to pay “prevailing wages” to those working on public works projects. District Attorney Hoovler and his staff explained that the New York State Constitution and New York Labor Law Section 220 requires that workers on all public works projects receive at least the “prevailing wage” for the type of work that they perform. The prevailing wage is the minimum an employee can be paid on a public works project.
The New York State Department of Labor establishes prevailing wages. The prevailing wage for each trade is determined by the wage negotiated in a given locality between labor organizations and private sector employers that employ at least 30 percent of workers in the same trade. Usually, contractors on public works projects are selected after a competitive bidding process. In addition to cheating employees, the failure to pay prevailing wages gives unscrupulous contractors the ability to submit lower bids than honest contractors. A contractor who pays less than the prevailing wage will have lower labor costs, and will therefore be more likely to be awarded the contract as the lowest bidder. That is grossly unfair to competing, honest contractors who play by the rules.
“I want to thank the Orange County Association of Towns, Villages and Cities, and the many government officials who attended the meeting for giving us the opportunity to speak about the importance of upholding workers’ rights under the law,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “I am confident that all our local Orange County officials understand the need to ensure that those who work on public projects receive the wages they are legally due, and I grateful that they gave the District Attorney’s Office the opportunity to suggest ways to avoid fraud and some best practices to follow if fraud is suspected.”