Over the last two years, 31 construction workers have died in New York City, an ominous downside to the city’s construction boom. Critics of the lax regulations that have allowed construction sites to become so dangerous point to the decline of unions that once protected workers from hazardous conditions. According to the Department of Buildings, construction injuries increased by 250 percent between 2011 and 2015.
As evidence that the decline of unions has imperiled construction worker’s safety, the New York Times points out that 29 of the 31 deaths in the City over the last year were non-union construction workers. This sad statistic is not particularly surprising, though – according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) non-union contracts make up 90 percent of the “Severe Violator Enforcement Program,” an involuntary program for habitual and serious offenders. Continue reading