We Are Not Disposable!

Brooklyn, NY – On Monday, September 24, 2012 at 6PM, the Workers Justice Project (WJP) along with other worker centers will gather in front of 227 Carlton Ave. Fort Greene, Brooklyn to strongly condemn dreadful working conditions and labor exploitation in residential construction sites in and around New York City, where low-income men and women are employed.

Winston Gillett, 62, was crushed to death after a roof collapsed at one of the townhouses. Gillett was working at the Carlton Mews Townhouse project, which was being built by Professional Grade Construction Corp. However, this year many other workers have also died while being crushed under the weight of thousands of pounds of building materials, being buried alive in a trench, or falling to their death from a scaffold with no harness.

In New York City residential construction, these types of incidents are so common that the contractors, building owners and developers, and the city do not pause for breath before ordering workers to climb back on the scaffolds. They all know that low and sometimes no wages, complete disregard for health and safety protections, and treating workers like they are disposable are part of a regular day’s work in residential construction. Meanwhile, residential construction spending increased to $2.9 billion in 2011 and is expected to climb to $4.8 billion in 2012, benefiting immensely from this exploitation.

Camilo Hernandez, a member of Workers Justice Project (WJP), feels fortunate to have only cut off part of his thumb on his left hand while working on a roof at a home rather than losing his life like Mr. Gillett. “I know how it feels not to have security on the job and being treated as disposable,” he says. “Our safety is a priority and a responsibility of everyone. We must all work together to take action and bring justice.”

Join us on Monday, September 24, 2012, 6 p.m. to raise our voices against exploitation in residential construction and to ensure that the deaths of Winston Gillette, Santos Garcia, Adrien Zamora, and many other workers in the construction industry result in real protections for workers in the future.