Comptroller Stringer Pens Open Letter To Workers: You Have Labor Rights Regardless Of Immigration Status

September 19, 2019

Dear New Yorker:

As many of you may know, my office enforces state and local prevailing wage laws. That means that if you have done construction work on a New York City public work project or have been employed in a building service job through a city contract or in a building with an affordable housing property tax exemption, then you may be entitled to prevailing wages and benefits, regardless of your immigration status.

Often, workers are unaware that our office has collected money on their behalf. Other times, the workers are afraid to come forward because of fear of retaliation by their employer or because of their immigration status. If you believe you were underpaid on a City-funded job – no matter who you are, or where you’re from – let us know. We work to recoup unpaid wages with interest, and we collect money for workers regardless of their immigration status or whether they still live in New York City or have moved to another state or country.

Because informed workers are their own best advocates, my office has started a new initiative to fine contractors that fail to provide written notice to their employees of their right to receive prevailing wages and benefits.  Workers that know their rights are less likely to be exploited by unscrupulous employers.

Since taking office in 2014, we have assessed more than $28 million against City contractors in unpaid prevailing wages with interest and penalties, returned more than $13.5 million to workers, and barred over 50 contractors who took advantage of workers from State and City public work contracts.

And we’ve done it because people came forward. No New Yorker should be exploited, and no New Yorker should be illegally underpaid, regardless of their immigration status. Together, we can make an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work a reality on City-funded jobs.

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Workers who believe they may have been underpaid on City-funded jobs can call the Comptroller’s Labor Law hotline at (212) 669-4443, send in inquiries via email to or check the Comptroller’s website at by clicking here.
Scott M. Stringer
New York City Comptroller

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