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The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) Celebrates
$1.6 Million Grant Award from Manhattan DA Cy Vance
The award disbursed over 3.5 years will support NYCOSH and partners with programs to combat wage theft and workplace safety and health violations
New York, NY (April 26, 2017) – The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) celebrated the award of a $1.6 MM grant announced by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance at a breakfast reception today. The grant is funded through the DA’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (CJII), part of the Access to Services for Survivors of Crime Initiative announced last summer. The grant supports a new project, the Manhattan Justice for Workers Collaborative (MJWC), and covers planning and three years of program implementation impacting tens of thousands of low wage Latino workers. The program will:
- Seek to end the disproportionate number of Latino immigrant workers who are victims of workplace crimes committed by their employers in the form of wage theft and negligent safety and health practices.
- Increase reporting of criminal activities by employers of low wage workers in all industries but particularly in New York City’s construction industry.
- Offer low wage immigrant Latino crime victims outreach and training on workplace regulations, crime reporting, leadership training, and referral to victim services and case management support.
The Manhattan Justice for Workers Collaborative, coordinated by NYCOSH, brings together non-profit organizations known locally and nationally for their high impact work with New York City’s low wage workers and their families: La Colmena, Workers Justice Project, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, Labor Institute. And the Queens College Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment is a member of the Collaborative as an evaluator and supporter. Members of the Collaborative partnered during the campaign to press for criminal charges over the workplace death of Carlos Moncayo. The Collaborative’s work is grounded in the belief of promoting a fair and efficient justice system where workers lives are not expendable and criminal contractors who profit from exploitation are held accountable.
Latinos make up 25% of the construction workers in New York State, but represented 57% of construction fall fatalities in 2015. Latino immigrants are less likely to receive training and more likely to work off the books. Latinos are also most likely to have their wages stolen. According to the National Employment Law Project, Latinos are nearly six times more likely to be victims of minimum wage violations than white workers. Foreign born Latinos have twice the rate of wage violations as US-born Latinos.
“I am a member leader of the Worker’s Justice Project and I am part of a workers’ committee that is organizing to change the culture of exploitation in construction industry and to end wage theft in our communities,” said Gregorio Palestina. “We have been using our collective power and voices to confront the ongoing abuse we face in our workplaces and reclaim our dignity as workers and human beings. We welcome with enthusiasm the support of the Manhattan District office and the opportunity to work together to improve the working conditions of all workers who build and clean this city.”
Nadia Marín-Molina, NYCOSH’s Associate Director remarked, “NYCOSH and our partners with the Manhattan Justice for Workers Collaborative would like to express our deepest thanks to the Manhattan District Attorney for making such a strong commitment to protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of all Manhattan workers, in particular Latino immigrant workers in construction.”
Cal Soto, Workers’ Rights Program Coordinator at NDLON said, “There couldn’t be a more important time to defend immigrants and hold scofflaw employers accountable. As fear of retaliation for reporting violations increases, it has become progressively harder to enforce the law and ensure a safe workplace for all. Our network has seen that the most effective way for government officials to cut through the fear is by partnering with trusted community organizations to outreach and serve their neighborhoods. This program is designed to do exactly that.”
About NYCOSH: The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) is a membership organization of workers, unions, community-based organizations, workers’ rights activists, and health and safety professionals. NYCOSH uses training, education, and advocacy to improve health and safety conditions in our workplaces, our communities, and our environment. Founded in 1979 on the principle that workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths are preventable, NYCOSH works to extend and defend every person’s right to a safe and healthy workplace. For more information, visit nycosh.org, follow the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NYCOSH on Twitter.
About the Manhattan Justice for Workers Collaborative (MJWC): The mission of the Manhattan Justice for Workers Collaborative is to combat criminal activities on worksites by increasing crime reporting from low wage workers and creating more efficient case management and support systems that improve workers lives. Coordinated by NYCOSH, the Collaborative is composed of La Colmena, Workers Justice Project, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, the Labor Institute, and Queens College Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment.