NEW YORK – Construction workers, mostly Latino immigrants, remembered this Friday in New York workers who were killed or injured on the job and demanded greater safety, better wages and the respect.

On the occasion of the commemoration of the Day of the dead workers – which the labor movement commemorates today in the United States – the workers gathered in front of the building, in the area of ​​Chelsea, lower Manhattan, where in April 2015, the Ecuadorian worker Carlos Moncayo lost his life.

“Justice” they shouted as they held a gigantic black banner with the names, written in white paint, of those who died, in an act called by the organization New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), which helps immigrant workers .

Studies have shown that Latinos and those who are not union members are at greater risk of dying on the job and many tragedies have occurred from falling from scaffolding or being buried in trenches dug for construction, as is arrived in Moncayo, recalled Nilbia Coyote, executive. director of NICE.

He also recalled that before many accidents, there were warnings from the authorities about violations by companies of the Occupational Safety Law without action being taken in this regard. “These are preventable deaths,” which continue to occur, he said.

Coyote cited a report released this year by the New York City Committee for Workplace Safety (NYCOSH) — made up of workers, unions, community organizations and activists — that said 20 workers died in that city in 2021. , with the death rate returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Moncayo, a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant died from a rockslide that occurred while digging a trench over 13 feet (3.96 meters) that buried him and according to the investigation, the foreman and the project supervisor had ignored repeated warnings of danger, even shortly before the accident.

The company he worked for was convicted of negligent homicide and manslaughter, the first time in the country that a construction company has been convicted of manslaughter and fined. .

His death also prompted legislation, signed last November by Governor Kathy Hochul, that increases fines for businesses, up to $500,000, for the death or serious physical injury of an employee.

Carolina Ardila with the details.

Juan Iza, also Ecuadorian, recalled the death of his brother Eduardo, who lost consciousness while working in construction and the company did not immediately take him to the hospital and when it did, it was too late. “Maybe they had something to hide,” he commented.

Coyote stressed the importance of learning about their rights and taking the workplace safety course required for construction jobs in New York.

Francisco Palacios, who has the certificate to have taken the course, said he was fired when, after finding violations, he demanded that the workers’ conditions be improved.

Categorized in: