NYC establishes safety training requirements for construction workers

October 4, 2017

New York – The New York City Council, after eight months of bill editing, on Sept. 27 unanimously approved legislation establishing construction safety training requirements and programming.

The bill was introduced in January in response to the high number of construction site deaths in the city – at press time, 40 since 2014, according to a New York Times report. The legislation was changed twice to satisfy stakeholders – including the city’s real estate board, independent contractors and immigration officials – who were worried that day laborers would not be able to afford the training. The bill was revised to include $5 million to help fund their training.

Fines of up to $25,000 will be levied on sites using untrained workers, and workers can keep working until December 2018 if they have at least 10 hours of training completed by March. Permits for work can be withheld or denied renewal if the employer cannot prove all workers on a project have the required training.

Also included in the legislation, which went into effect immediately:
  • Workers must complete between 40 to 55 hours of safety training. The Department of Buildings will control the administration of the hours.
  • Workers can satisfy their training requirement with completion of an alternative training program, but only if DOB allows it after comparing it to the bill’s established training program

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Diversity in the New York City union and nonunion construction sectors

Press Releases • March 2, 2017

A new report by EPI President Lawrence Mishel finds that New York City’s union construction sector has become significantly more racially diverse in the past two decades and that union construction workers earn substantially more than nonunion construction workers, leading to an increased economic benefit for black and Hispanic communities.

Using newly developed data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics to analyze the racial composition of blue-collar union and nonunion construction employment, Mishel finds in Diversity in the NYC construction union and nonunion sectors that New York City’s union construction sector employs a greater share of black workers than the nonunion construction sector. In 2014, black workers accounted for 21.2 percent of employment in union construction, versus 15.8 percent in nonunion construction.

Unions have also drawn more black and Hispanic workers into construction through apprenticeship programs funded jointly by unions and construction contractors, which provide wages and benefits to workers while they learn job-related skills. The share of union apprentices that are people of color was over 60 percent in 2014, more than double the share in 1994.

Hispanic and black workers in construction unions earn 34.5 percent and 36.1 percent more than nonunion Hispanic and black construction workers, respectively. Because black workers have a greater presence in the union construction sector and are paid far more, collective bargaining in New York City greatly boosts overall annual wages to the black community from construction by $152 million each year.

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(Press Release)

Building Trades, Community Orgs Make Final Push for a Just Sentence in 23-Year-Old’s Workplace Death

June 15, 2016
By Chaz Bolte

A coalition of community groups, labor unions, and worker centers are calling for a conviction during the final days of arguments in a case against Harco Construction, LLC. The case centers around the death of 23-year-old Carlos Moncayo, who was killed in an excavation collapse in New York City’s Meatpacking District in April of 2015.

The Ecuadorian immigrant was crushed when the walls of the site collapsed around him. Prosecutors brought charges against two construction managers – Wilmer Cueva of Sky Materials and Alfonso Prestia of Harco Construction – noting that they had ignored repeated warnings from private inspectors that treacherous conditions existed at the site.

As the duo faces the reality of doing time for their neglect, worker advocates are ramping up efforts to ensure justice is served for Moncayo while seizing an opportunity to call for stronger regulations and enforcement henceforth. More frequent jail time for hazardous behavior is one way the groups say this type of end result can be avoided.

NYC quadruples penalties, ramps up scrutiny of construction site safety violations

By Emily Peiffer
February 12, 2016

Dive Brief:

  • New York City Maybor Bill de Blasio announced Friday the city will quadruple penalties for serious construction site safety violations, mandate new supervision at construction sites, and start a safety sweep of more than 1,500 work sites throughout New York.
  • The heightened focus on construction safety issues comes one week after a crane collapsed in New York City, killing one pedestrian and injuring three others. The incident, which is still under investigation, also resulted in de Blasio implementing a new, four-point construction crane safety plan.
  • The new safety provisions are included in a $120 million Department of Buildings effort to increase oversight at high-risk sites. Under the new measure, safety violation penalties will go from $2,400 to $10,000, and penalties for sites without a required construction superintendent will go from $5,000 to $25,000.


US Labor Department recovers nearly $3M in back wages for workers on federally funded construction projects in New York City

Larino Masonry Inc. and owners debarred from bidding on federal contracts 

U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 14-2057-NEW, Date: Nov. 25, 2014

NEW YORK — The U.S. Department of Labor has secured $2,904,000 in back wages for laborers and mechanics who worked on federally funded construction projects in four New York City boroughs.

A federal administrative law judge approved a settlement requiring Larino Masonry Inc., based in Newark, New Jersey, to pay $1,945,000 in back wages to workers at projects in Manhattan and the Bronx for violating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. In a separate, but related case, Larino also agreed to an order to pay $959,000 to workers at projects in Brooklyn and Queens.

Larino admitted that it failed to pay its workers the legally required prevailing wage, fringe benefits and overtime, and submitted falsified certified payrolls to a contracting agency. In addition to paying back wages, Larino and its company president Juan Luis Larino and vice president Maria Larino have been barred from bidding on federal contracts for the next three years.

“Taxpayers should expect that federal contractors understand their obligations and comply with the law,” said Maria Rosado, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s New York City District Office, which investigated the federally funded projects. “When Larino Masonry or any other employer violates labor laws, they cheat their employees and gain an unfair advantage over employers who obey the law. We will hold them accountable.”

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