Friday, November 1, 2013

NYC union construction workers twice as likely to be African-American

A New York City construction worker who is union is twice as likely to be African-American as a New York City construction worker who is nonunion. 

That's the conclusion of the Economic Policy Institute in a recent study by Larry Mishel. The study shows the pattern is similar for the workforce living in the larger New York City metropolitan area.  

Conversely, New York City Latinos are less likely to belong to unions -- and more likely to be killed on the job. The Center for Popular Democracy studied OSHA statistics for New York City and discovered Latinos accounted for three-fourths of construction site deaths from 2003-11. According to Fox News Latino,
Construction safety advocates and a study by the New York State Trial Lawyers Association cited safety violations on job sites run by smaller, non-union contractors and an unwillingness by some undocumented workers to report violations as main reasons for the high number of deaths among Latino workers.
The two studies paint a picture of unions as beneficial to the safety and prosperity of New Yorkers (something we all knew already, right?).

An alliance of unions --including Teamsters Local 282 -- called Build Up NYC is advocating for a stronger and more vibrant middle-class in New York City. Build Up NYC is promoting development that pays workers good wages and maintains safe work sites. EPI's conclusions are welcome news for the alliance and for New York's middle class.