Your turn: City Council seeks to defer construction safety issues to new task force

Group will consider job training requirements

From left: ABC's Brian Sampson, Gary LaBarbera and Bill de Blasio
From left: ABC's Brian Sampson, Gary LaBarbera and Bill de Blasio

The latest version of a construction safety bill creates a task force that will consider some of the most controversial issues surrounding the legislation, including job training.

If the new measure passes, the mayor and City Council speaker will each select seven members for the task force, which will meet quarterly and provide safety recommendations to the Department of Buildings, Politico reported. The nonunion groups and the Real Estate Board of New York have spoken out against mandatory training programs, especially state-run apprenticeships, arguing that requiring participation would disproportionately favor unions.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

If the new legislation passes, the task force will address the issue of training day laborers. Brian Sampson, head of the New York chapter of a nonunion organization, Associated Builders & Contractors, told Politico that the legislation will have a “profoundly negative impact on the minority and immigrant community,” since day laborers are often undocumented immigrants.

The new legislation requires 59 hours of training, upping what is required by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is 10 hours. The task force will determine whether or not previously taken safety courses will count toward the new requirement. The Department of Buildings will take over enforcement under the new legislation.

The City Council is expected to vote on the bill in August. [Politico] — Kathryn Brenzel