Public Employee Press
Laborers await court ruling on wage dispute
Laborers Local 924 and the New York City Comptroller are in a court battle with the city, which has appealed the Comptroller's decision that the Laborers are due a substantial wage increase.
Laborers Eugene Boasi, left, and Walter E. Alverez work at a shop in Manhattan. Local 924 members look forward to the resolution of a long wage dispute.
The city is contesting the Comptroller's "final determination," which calls for the pay increase and consolidation of the workers' three pay rates.
The city appealed the case to the state courts' Appellate Division Jan. 3. The court should make a decision this spring.
"This has been a long, painful fight," Local 924 President Kyle Simmons said. "Hopefully, we will have a decision in a reasonable time."
Several years ago, Local 924 members voted to have their pay determined through the complicated process in which the Comptroller compares them with private-sector workers doing similar jobs, in this case Mason Tenders.
Local 924 members have gone without a raise since 2001. Their case covers the period from July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2010. The members are hoping justice will prevail, but many are bitter about the drawn-out survey process and the long battle with the city. Without a raise for so many years, members have been forced to run up credit-card debt, borrow from their pensions and take on extra jobs.
"What's tragic is that the local was willing to settle years ago, but the city wouldn't budge," Simmons said.
He praised the Laborers and the negotiating team - including DC 37 Sr. Assistant General Counsel Steven Sykes, Associate Director David Paskin of the Research and Negotiations Dept. and Local 924 attorney Dan Bright - for sticking together and working tirelessly to raise the pay.