The Real Deal New York

Construction workers rally for tougher safety standards

Officials pushing for mandatory union apprentice training

December 11, 2015 10:02AM

Collapse at 25 West 38th Street (credit: @Hennesseyedit/Twitter) (inset: Gary LaBarbera)

Thousands of union construction workers gathered at City Hall Thursday to demand tougher safety rules in the face of a recent steep increase in construction accidents.

They rallied in support of legislation backed by Council Members Gale Brewer and Corey Johnson, that would require workers at buildings taller than 10 stories to pass mandatory apprentice training, overseen by unions.

Developers and other critics have accused backers of the new rules of using them as a pretext to increase union membership, Politico reported.

Gary LaBarbera, head of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, speaking at the meeting, cited federal data showing that 14 of the 16 construction deaths this calendar year were at non-union projects, though buildings commissioner Rick Chandler said he doesn’t have “reliable data” on the subject.

Deaths and injuries have spiked markedly, outpacing the rate of growth in new construction. [Politico]Ariel Stulberg