Construction workers are dying in increasing numbers. A recent New York Times opinion piece threw out a shocking number: There were 31 New York City construction fatalities, most of them on nonunion worksites, in the last two years.
Many people wonder why there are so many catastrophic accidents when machines are more sophisticated than ever, proper safety equipment is readily available and safety awareness among workers is high. Sadly, the problem appears to be rooted in greed.
Profit versus safety: Why builders use nonunion labor
Builders use nonunion labor because it’s cheaper, and they can get away with cutting corners. According to the Times, 29 of the 31 reported deaths occurred on nonunion job sites — that’s a staggering 93 percent. Of course union jobs are safer and better-paying, but some workers must take whatever work is available to them — at the risk of their own lives.
All New York workers are entitled to decent treatment, which includes a safe work environment. It is vitally important that we keep our safety laws in effect, yet some business owners are pushing to repeal some of these regulations, including New York Labor Law Section 240, known as “The Scaffold Law.” To some people, profit is literally more important than safety.
What you should do if your loved one was killed or injured
Get the help you deserve. If you or one of your family members was hurt on a construction job or if you lost a loved one in an accident, you should talk to an experienced attorney about your rights.
Regardless of union membership or immigration status, you and your family are entitled to full and fair compensation for your losses. There is no harm or risk in obtaining free legal advice about your situation, so reach out to a qualified construction accident lawyer as soon as possible.