Building collapse on 125th St. (112164)
Credit: Bill Moore

Up to 1,000 construction workers dealt with the bitter cold to protest working conditions at JDS Development Group’s project on West 57th Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

Organized by the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, the rally comes off the union’s first protest Oct. 29, which attracted more than 8,000 workers from around the city.

“We are back out in front of JDS’ 57th Street project because this development and its contractors have a history of recklessly ignoring the safety and well-being of their workers across New York City, and they must be held accountable,” said Gary LaBarbera, BCTC president. “We will continue to protest JDS on this street and across this city until they put worker safety above their bottom line.”

Chanting, “We are the union!” and talking about their right to feel “pissed off,” men and women—some of whom had left their work sites at other locations to come and show support—rattled off a litany of violations they’ve endured at other JDS Development locations.

Feb. 21 at a JDS, PMG and Starwood development at 425-435 W. 50th St., a worker fell from a scaffold that allegedly had no railings. The City Department of Buildings issued a partial work stop order Feb. 27 after complaints. That order was rescinded the following week. At a JDS development at 210 W. 18th St., a worker was injured when a partial floor collapsed on the 20th floor. The worker had no safe anchor point for his safety harness. On top of several other worker accidents at the site, the luxury development has racked up more than 14 Department of Building violations and more than $18,000 in DOB fines for unsafe working conditions.

Similar DOB fines, accidents and injuries have happened at JDS, PMB and Starwood developments at 626 First Ave. in Manhattan and 202 Eighth St. in Brooklyn. As for Park Side Construction, the contractor used by these developments, they were fined by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration for three serious safety violations at 81 Fleet Place in Brooklyn, including a failure to have fall protections for workers, with Park Side contesting all the fines and violations. The contractor is to still be investigated after a worker was killed while working on the foundation of a hotel development project at 326 W. 37th St. when a concrete slab fell on him.

A worker attending the rally spoke while wearing a mask out of fear that “if my boss knew where I was today, I’d be out of a job.” The men responsible for creating New York City’s skyline are fighting on two fronts: the dangerous work of their job and the alleged dangers of their bosses.