Construction Workers, Elected Officials, And Community Activists Urge City Council To Act Now And Protect New York City Construction Workers

03/31/2017

NEW YORK, March 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following last week's construction accident that left a hoist dangerously dangling hundreds of feet in the air above thousands of passersby, today construction workers, elected officials, and community activists gathered at 200 E59th Street to call attention to this unsafe Gilbane job site and their subcontractor, Tradeoff, firing of a worker who requested a safety harness on the job.

"Thousands of lives were put at risk last week because Gilbane was more concerned about their bottom line than the safety of their workers and the community," said Mike Hellstrom, Director of Organizing of the Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York. "Their work with Tradeoff on this job shows their lack of commitment to the workers they employ. Firing someone for requesting personal protective equipment on the job is not just wrong, it should be criminal."

Without stringent safety and training standards for construction workers in New York City, accidents of this kind and retaliatory firings will continue to happen and worker's lives will remain at risk. Activists today are urging the New York City Council to pass lifesaving legislation, Intro 1447, that would set safety and training standards for all construction workers in New York City.

"Construction doesn't have to put neighbors, pedestrians or anyone passing by at risk. No one should have a hoist dangling overhead as they did last week. The fact that Gilbane put both workers, residents and passersby in danger with a hoist dangling overhead show's Gilbane's complete lack of care for both construction workers and the people who live, work and visit this City," said Council Member Ben Kallos, a union-side labor lawyer. "Residents and workers must both be safe during construction and far too many deaths could have been prevented with education, training, supervision, and a right to say no to dangerous situations. "Gilbane and Tradeoff should be doing everything in their power to promote and support safe job sites, not firing workers that demand such things. I urge my colleagues at the Council to join me in supporting safety standards and Introductions 1443 and 1447 to ensure accidents like these are no longer common."

"The real estate industry of New York City needs to know that we are not going to tolerate developers promoting an underground economy that exploits workers and puts all our lives at risk," said Terry Moore, business manager, Local 46 Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers. "Gilbane is just one of many who seems to have forgotten that everyone deserves to make it home safely after a hard day of work, and to be paid area standard wages so they can keep that home. We applaud Councilman Kallos for being out here with us today making sure that safe work sites remain a priority for all workers," Moore added.