The Advocates with Richard J. Garfunkel on WVOX – AM Radio 1460- “New Day, New Hour.”
Wednesday, December 5, 2007, at 12:00 Noon, I am hosting my show “The Advocates” on WVOX- 1460 AM on your dial, or you can listen to its live streaming at www.wvox.com. One can call the show at 914-636-0110 to reach us on the radio. My special guest this week will be Michael Carriere, who is currently the Vice President of the Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO in Westchester and Putnam Counties. We will also have here today Mr. Glen Hockley, a current member of the White Plains City Council and a strong supporter of trade unionism in White Plains, and Westchester County.
Today’s topic will be the “prevailing wage,” what it is, and how important is it to the health and welfare of members of the trade unions of not only New York, but around the country. Also as part of this discussion I will ask Mr. Carriere his thoughts on the twin issues that affect American labor, cheap imports from undemocratic, non-unionized countries like China, India and the Pacific Rim, who do not have safety or health standards that come anywhere near matching ours, and proliferation of undocumented workers that are flooding our shores and under-cutting the wages of American citizens and workers.
As a background to the discussion of the “prevailing wage,” almost all public works constructions are required by the Davis Bacon Act to pay all workers who work on public works projects the “prevailing wage,” in the local area. By definition established over a long period, this wage approximates the local union scale for the particular trade covered. This rate is usually much higher than the wages paid for private work and the contractor has to adjust their bid accordingly face serious consequences. As part of that agreement there must be a “certified payroll,” which is one means to verify compliance. All contractors working on public work projects are required to provide on a weekly basis a certified copy of the weekly payroll on a specific project naming all workers and showing wages, deductions and benefits paid including a check number. If one doesn’t comply with the “prevailing wage” rules the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) can use their investigative arm and authority, which could result in adverse rulings against the contractor and the penalties can be onerous.
Mr. Carriere, who has been a Union member for 20 years, came from a Union family. He started a glazier for Local Union 1087 and held many elected positions, before and after, the merger with District Council 9 and the consolidation of Local Unions 206 and 1087. He is also a strong advocate of apprentice programs, and has contributed his time, and the efforts his union in many charitable projects that include the YMCA rehabilitation in White Plains, food pantries, toys for tots, The Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, various projects in Yonkers and church rehabilitations in Port Chester and Brewster.
Meanwhile the mission of the “Advocates” is to bring to the public differing views on current “public policy “ issues. “Public policy,” therefore, is what we as a nation legally and traditionally follow. Over the years the “public policy” of the United States has changed or has been modified greatly. As an example, “free public education” is the public policy of the United States. Also, over time great struggles have ensued over the control of the direction of “public policy” For example: free trade vs. protectionism, slavery vs. emancipation, state’s rights vs. Federalism, and an all-volunteer armed forces or the “draft.”
Richard J. Garfunkel