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US Labor Department seeks debarment of construction contractor for labor violations at New York City publicly funded housing projects
NEW YORK — The U.S. Department of Labor has taken legal action to seek debarment of Lettire Construction Corp., a New York City general contractor, and Nicholas Lettire, president of the company, from working on future federally funded contracts for a period of three years.
An investigation by the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division revealed that the company and its officials had willfully violated wage, benefit, certified payroll and other requirements while working on the federally funded Ciena Project on East 100th Street, as well as the Hobbs Court Project on 102nd Street, both in Manhattan. Both projects are part of the Metro North Rehabilitation Redevelopment Program and are funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Consequently, both projects are subject to the wage and benefit requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.
"The department will not hesitate to pursue legal action, including debarment, to ensure employees working on federally funded projects are properly paid under the law," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
The investigation found that Lettire Construction had failed to adequately monitor its lower tier subcontractors to ensure their compliance with prevailing wage and overtime requirements. Following an investigation of 23 of the company's subcontractors, the Wage and Hour Division determined that 16 were in violation of either prevailing wage or overtime laws, or both. The investigation also found "under-bidding" by at least one second-tier subcontractor and that Lettire Construction failed to post required wage decisions at the worksite for employees to view. As a result of these violations, approximately 290 employees of these subcontractors were found to be due a total of about $1.4 million in back wages.
In addition, the Wage and Hour Division's New York City District Office determined that Lettire Construction failed to pay required prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits to some of its employees, failed to pay some employees for all hours worked, and submitted certified payrolls that failed to reflect all actual hours worked by employees on the project during some weeks. The company has now agreed to pay $3,071 in back wages to four employees.
In filing an order of reference with the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, the department is seeking the debarment of Lettire Construction and company president Nicholas Lettire to prevent them from bidding or working on future federally funded contracts for a period of three years.
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 Davis-Bacon 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.