Justice James Catterson

Under contracts with New York City agencies—including the fire, transportation and sanitation departments—Caddell Dry Dock & Repair performed dry-docking and repairs to publicly owned vessels such as fire boats, garbage barges and ferries. Relevant contractual provisions called for payment of prevailing wage rates and supplemental benefits for work performed on “public works” projects pursuant to Labor Law §220(3). Plaintiffs’ putative class suit alleged Caddell’s failure to pay the required prevailing wage and supplemental benefits. Affirming Supreme Court’s summary dismissal of plaintiffs’ lawsuit, the First Department, constrained by the Court of Appeals’ decision in Brukhman v. Giuliani, found that repair of city vessels is not a “public work” within the meaning of Labor Law §220(3). Precedential rulings—including the Court of Appeals’ 1950 decision in Matter of Pinkwater v. Joseph and its 1979 and 1983 rulings in Varsity Tr. v. Saporita and Matter of Erie Co. Indus. Dev. Agency v. Roberts—mandate that the prevailing wage law was limited to workers employed in the construction, repair and maintenance of fixed structures, and does not apply to workers servicing a commodity owned by New York City.