Building and Construction Trades (154844)

The JDS Development got a rude awakening courtesy of Building and Construction Trades members.

Last week, BCT members found their way to Columbia University’s campus in Morningside Heights to protest the exclusion of union representatives from a symposium presented by JDS. JDS, a developer that BCT said hires contractors with a history of worker safety violations, specifically excluded union representatives from purchasing tickets for the symposium.

Members also said that people who weren’t affiliated with organized labor were allowed to attend.

“This arrogant display of disrespect by JDS for Columbia University’s long-standing tradition of tolerance of different views should be a wake-up call to the campus community,” said Gary LaBarbera, president of the BCT Council of Greater New York, in a statement. “We are calling upon Columbia University and the Center for Urban Real Estate to sever all ties with JDS and cease hosting any additional events with them.”

The last time the AmNews wrote about JDS it was during a 1,000-plus worker protest at one of their projects on West 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. They were also expressing safety concerns about JDS construction sites.

In February 2014, at a JDS, PMG and Starwood development at 425-435 W. 50th St., a worker fell from a scaffold that allegedly had no rails. The City Department of Buildings issued a partial work stop order later that month after complaints. It was rescinded the following week. At another JDS development at 210 W. 18th St., a worker was injured after a partial collapse on the 20th floor. The worker had no safe anchor point for his safety harness. As of December 2014, JDS had over 14 Department of Building violations and more than $18,000 in DOB fines for unsafe working conditions. Similar DOB fines, accidents and injuries happened at JDS, PMB and Starwood developments at 626 First Ave. in Manhattan and 202 Eighth St. in Brooklyn.

LaBarbera did not mince words with his opinion on JDS and their affiliates. “JDS has reached a new low today in targeting union members and barring them from attending an event that is open to the public,” said LaBarbera. “But it’s no surprise since they have a track record of hiring contractors who systematically discriminate, put the safety of their workers at risk and steal from their employees.”