A City Of Immigrant Workers: Building A Culture Of Workplace Safety In Construction

LogoWJP2017Brooklyn, New York – Today, New York City Council has the opportunity to take the first step into addressing the construction safety crisis that our city faces by considering passing the bill, Intro. 1447-C, that would mandate increased safety training standards.

It is the right step towards building a city that protects and ensures all workers have the right to a safe workplace. Last week, two more lives were stolen from us by unethical employers who put profit before safety.

No more deaths need to be associated with NYC’s growth and expansion. The number of fatal and serious construction accidents continues to increase at an alarming rate, especially among Latino construction workers. According to a recent report 57 percent of the construction workers who died due to falls were Latino, even though Latinos comprise 30 percent of the construction workforce.

It is time to build a culture of safety in the construction industry, where powerful developers have been accumulating wealth while the most vulnerable members of our communities have been offered unsafe, poverty wage jobs.  We need New York City’s commitment to protect the lives and rights of all workers who build and live in our city.

However, passing Intro. 1447-C is just the first step to protect NYC’s construction workers. New York City has so much more to do, from developing enforcement mechanisms to building an infrastructure that will allow to connect with immigrant construction workers, train them and ultimately, build worker power.

However, for strategic enforcement of Intro 1447-C and to fulfill it’s promise, workers and worker organizations like Worker’s Justice Project (WJP) must take part. We must participate because without the tacit knowledge that workers have about workplace practices and conditions and the relationships of trust that we have with workers, NYC government will never have the information and trust required for workers to decide to come forward with problems.

Worker’s Justice Project (WJP) along with the New York City Day Labor Coalition looks forward to working with the City Council to ensure the effective implementation of this bill and to ensure the Task Force being formed to fully implement this bill reflects workers most impacted by construction accidents. Additionally, resources must be made readily available and in a timely manner to organizations that train non-union and immigrant workers.