NEW YORK, Oct. 31, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Before a New York City Council hearing today, the Mason Tenders District Council, Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), called for reforming the procurement and reporting requirements of the Department of Housing Preservation & Development. After years of mismanagement, flawed procurement processes and corruption, Greater New York Laborers-Employers' Cooperation & Education Trust (GNYLECET), submitted a series of recommendations at today's Committee on Housing and Buildings hearing on Intro 967, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's and Councilmember Helen Rosenthal's legislation to reform HPD in relation to construction conditions in housing development projects.
"Intro 967 is a great first step towards reforming HPD and leveling the playing field in their procurement process," said Pat Purcell, Executive Director of Greater New York Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust. "For too long the same unscrupulous contractors have been receiving a steady stream of work from HPD, while their indiscretions in regards to wage theft and safety violations have been largely overlooked. If amended to include recommendations like the ones we are advocating for at the Council today, Intro 967 has the potential to rectify a long-term problem at one of the City's most critical agencies and ensure the gold-standard of construction is being upheld when HPD looks to award projects," Purcell said.
Wage theft remains a systemic problem with HPD contractors. To date the Mason Tenders District Council, and its affiliated entities, working with federal, state, and local law enforcement has recovered over $20 million in lost and stolen wages from HPD contractors.
Recommendations submitted by GNYLECET, on behalf of the Laborers', for the reform of HPD include:
- creating an independent and empowered ombudsperson with the authority to proactively investigate labor and housing quality issues;
- eliminating the de facto system of awarding preferred contractor status and replace it with a process that ensures serious due diligence by HPD;
- protecting the integrity of the preferred contractor system by requiring contractors certify the accuracy of data provided to HPD and regulating civil and criminal penalties for providing false, inaccurate or incomplete information;
- broadening the criteria of consideration for preferred contractor status to include indicators of labor violations on all types of jobsites, not just prevailing wage projects, and;
- making all materials considered when awarding preferred contractor status available to the public on HPD's website.
The Mason Tenders District Council is part of the Laborers' International Union of North America. The 17,000 members of the MTDC include construction workers, asbestos and hazardous materials handlers, recycling and waste handlers and Catholic High School teachers.
Greater New York LECET is a jointly trusteed labor-management fund representing the 17,000 members of the affiliated unions of the Mason Tenders District Council, LiUNA and its more than 1400 signatory contractors. GNYLECET's mission is to promote and increase market-share for the organized sector of the construction industry, resulting in the creation of business opportunities for its signatory contractors and good jobs for its union members.
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SOURCE Greater New York LECET