To the Editor:
This responds to the letter to the editor entitled “Maintenance Workers’ Plight” dated May 20, 2019. New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer takes his responsibility to set and enforce prevailing wages and benefits for city-funded public work very seriously, and that includes determining wage and benefit rates for city employees who are classified within the Skilled Craftsmen and Operative Service of the civil service.
The author of that letter correctly pointed out that, under the prevailing wage law, only the union certified to represent city employees in a civil-service title can file a complaint with the Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law for a prevailing-wage and benefit investigation and determination for that title. However, the law also requires the city and the civil-service union to “in good faith negotiate and enter in a written agreement” and only allows the union to file a prevailing-wage complaint with my office if “the parties fail to achieve an agreement.”
Unfortunately, the letter may create the impression that the Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law gives advisory opinions about prevailing-wage rates for civil-service titles without performing a full investigation first. That has never been the case.
The Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law is always available to assist the city and civil-service unions to fulfill their obligation to negotiate in good faith over prevailing wage and benefits. In the absence of performing a full investigation for any particular civil-service title, the best advice we can give to guide negotiations would be to first consult the prevailing-wage schedules that we publish annually. There is one schedule for construction work and another for building-service work. Both schedules set forth the wage and benefit rates that the Comptroller’s Bureau of Labor Law has determined to be prevailing each year for the trades and occupations set forth.
Your readers can find the prevailing-wage schedules at www.comptroller.nyc.gov/wages.
Assistant Comptroller for Labor Law
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