As we have written about frequently in recent years, New York City is in the midst of an unprecedented construction boom. An unfortunate, but preventable, side effect of the increased building activity has been an increase in construction worker injuries and deaths.
Enter Intro 1447, also known as the Apprenticeship Safety Bill. This bill would require construction workers to complete an apprenticeship before working on any construction site 10 stories or larger, or any demolition site four stories or larger.
The bill has spurred an intense debate amongst its supports who claim it is about taking steps to protect the safety of construction workers, and opponents who characterize the bill as a gift to unions who seek more control over construction workers.
According to Brooklyn Patch, much of this contentiousness stems from the fact that apprenticeship programs are largely run by building trade unions. There is a perception, denied by the labor unions, that they discriminate against minorities.
Non-union workers – many of whom are minorities and immigrants – worry they will be left out of the job market due to their non-union status if they do not join the union and complete the apprenticeship program outlined in the bill.
At Block O’Toole & Murphy, we applaud any and all efforts to increase worker safety and ensure that construction workers have the opportunity to make a good living without jeopardizing their well-being.
We fight aggressively on behalf of injured workers in New York – both union and non-union – and have obtained over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements.
It is our hope that both sides can find common ground based on a desire to protect workers and that the number of construction site accidents will drop in 2017 and beyond.