Monday, March 3, 2014

NYC Council Member Ben Kallos Demands Safer Construction Practices By Hudson Related Developer Of Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 7 - Kallos Asks You To Sign Petition

Image Of Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 7 Construction Site Today

Below is a Guest Post by Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side New York City Council Member Ben Kallos

regarding construction safety concerns at Hudson Related's Roosevelt Island Riverwalk Building 7 site. From Mr. Kallos:
Demand Safer Construction on Roosevelt Island

By New York City Council Member Ben Kallos

District 5: Roosevelt Island and the East Side

Many of you may have noticed ongoing demonstrations on Roosevelt Island and might have wondered the reasons behind them. Here’s some context: six of Riverwalk’s nine buildings have already been built, with three more still to go. However, protesters are raising concerns that construction on Riverwalk 7 is being completed by workers who are not being paid a living wage, health benefits, disability benefits, or retirement benefits and who may not have the apprenticeship training and years of on-the-job experience that they need for construction to be safer for both themselves and the residents of Roosevelt Island.

Hudson Related built the first six buildings using responsible contractors who pay a living wage and benefits while respecting the safety of workers and residents. Unfortunately, for the latest project, Hudson Related has hired RNC Industries, LLC. For this construction, RNC is paying its employees much less than New York City recognizes as the prevailing wage for construction workers. RNC also isn’t paying for health or disability benefits in case workers are injured on the job. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the main Federal agency charged with enforcement of safety and health, RNC has a bad safety record:
Construction by a contractor with a poor safety record on a project like Riverwalk 7 is dangerous for both workers and Roosevelt Islanders. Whether it is RNC or the next contractor, these tragedies are often preventable – if developers like Hudson Related avoid companies with poor safety records.

At the most recent Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) meeting, Roosevelt Islanders joined me in speaking out to protect our neighborhood. I started my career as a union-side labor attorney and am proud as your Council Member to continue the fight for quality jobs in this city. Please join us in our quest to ensure workers receive a living wage, benefits and the apprenticeship training necessary for safety on construction sites for both workers and Roosevelt Islanders.

If you agree, please consider signing this petition urging Hudson Related to only hire construction companies that pay a living wage with benefits and provide years of on the job training through apprenticeships and therefore have strong safety records. With your voice, our community can ensure the construction of Riverwalk continues to be safe for both workers and Roosevelt Islanders.
Petition is here.

A Hudson Related Spokesperson responds to this issue.

More On Roosevelt Island Riverwalk building 7 here and here.