Senate Passes Fuschillo Bill Creating Tougher Penalties For Violating Labor Law
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District), a member of the State Senate’s Labor Committee, announced that the New York State Senate unanimously passed legislation he sponsored that would create tougher penalties for violating New York State’s prevailing wage laws. The legislation is being sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Thomas P. DiNapoli (16th Assembly District), and is supported by Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon.
"Prevailing wage laws were created to protect workers from being exploited. Unfortunately, some companies violate these laws in order to reduce their labor costs, enabling them to submit a lower bid on a public works project. When contractors and subcontractors break these laws, they are not only violating the rights of their workers, they are getting an unfair advantage over law abiding companies," said Senator Fuschillo. "This legislation will give law enforcement officers another resource to ensure a level playing field by prosecuting companies that violate the labor law."
Senator Fuschillo’s legislation would require subcontractors to abide by the same prevailing wage regulations as prime contractors. Because of a loophole in the current law, subcontractors are often able to escape criminal punishment for failing to pay their workers prevailing wages. This legislation would close that loophole and subject these subcontractors to criminal prosecution.
"There is no rational basis for prosecuting contractors who underpay their workers while permitting subcontractors to escape punishment for the exact same behavior," stated District Attorney Dillon, who helped draft the legislation. "Whether the crime is committed by a contractor or subcontractor, the effect is the same, it undervalues the services of the workers and gives corrupt firms an unfair advantage on public works projects that are let out to bid. The passage of this law will bring an end to this inequity and is an important first step in overhauling the Labor Law. Through measures like these we will preserve jobs for New York workers."
"When the prevailing wage law was enacted its primary purpose was to protect New York workers," said Assemblyman DiNapoli. "It is still a concern today with contractors who attempt to avoid paying prevailing wages, primarily to immigrants, to underbid responsible contractors. This bill will close loopholes in the present law and restore the level playing field in competitive bidding which will protect the livelihood of New York workers as well as the employers who obey the law."
"It is time to close the legal loopholes and ensure that these unscrupulous contractors will no longer be able to take away local jobs and hurt honest businesses through exploitation," Senator Fuschillo added.
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