New York Building and Construction Trades Council President Gary LaBarbera has been pushing the New York City Council to pass legislation that would require apprenticeship training for construction workers on projects more than 10 stories high. After the falling death of 59-year-old Wilfredo Enrique earlier this month – the latest in a string of fatal NYC construction accidents – City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has indicated her support for the legislation:
Meeting union leaders ahead of a vigil for a construction worker who plunged to his death at Two Trees Development’s Domino Sugar project, she called the accident a failure by the city.
“This is about the training that is offered to workers, which is something the unions have pointed to — that many of the workers are not prepared,” she told Politico Thursday. “So we are looking at how we can improve those working conditions in the area of construction.”
Though the specifics of the bill have not yet been hammered out, the show of support from Mark-Viverito is encouraging:
Mark-Viverito was seen shaking hands and conferring with trade labor union leaders on the steps of City Hall Thursday afternoon as the group prepared to hold a candlelight vigil to commemorate the 29 workers who have been killed on construction sites in the city in the last two years.
The speaker said she expects the Council to hold hearings on legislation in the coming weeks.
The vast majority of recent on-the-job construction deaths in NYC have been at non-union work sites, LaBarbera explains, further highlighting the importance of the legislation. Via POLITICO:
In the last two years, 26 of the 29 construction workers who have died while on the job were working at non-union sites, according to LaBarbera.
[…] “The real estate industry frankly should be doing more than opposing safety legislation,” LaBarbera said. “They’re putting profits before people and that is completely unacceptable.”