FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mónica Novoa, NYCOSH
COMMUNITY AND LABOR ORGANIZATIONS STAND FOR JUSTICE FOR CARLOS MONCAYO,
ON FIRST DAY OF HARCO CONSTRUCTION TRIAL
NYC Advocates for Worker Safety and Health Say It’s Time to
Hold Deadly Employers Criminally Accountable
New York, NY (May 14, 2016) — On Monday, May 16, leading advocates, unions, community groups, and worker centers fighting for worker safety and health came together in support of the family of Carlos Moncayo, a 23 year old worker who was killed in an excavation collapse. The contractor, Harco Construction LLC, was charged by New York County District Attorney Vance with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. Construction workers along with advocates from the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, La Colmena, Make the Road New York, National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON), New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), New Labor, The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), Wind of the Spirit, Workers’ Justice Project and Workplace Project, gathered outside of the courthouse at 111 Centre Street at 8:30am to show support for Moncayo’s family members.
Workers and advocates are calling for justice for Carlos Moncayo and his family and are pointing to the significance of this trial to show that law enforcement agencies across the country can hold criminal contractors accountable to make the construction industry safer for all workers. While Harco Construction was repeatedly warned of the imminent hazard of collapse by an on-site safety engineer, nationwide, it is very rare for any company to be held criminally liable for a workers death.
In 2015, 17 workers died on unsafe construction sites in New York City – workers and advocates stated that worker fatalities will continue to occur as long as employers get away with violating safety and health regulations.
Statement from Gary LaBarbera, president of the 100,000 member Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York: “The Building Trades applauds Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance for boldly taking Harco Construction to trial for the death of Carlos Moncayo. Far too many criminally negligent contractors have quite simply gotten away with murder and that stops today. Negligent contractors should be put on notice that they can no longer put profits ahead of the safety of workers and that they will be held liable for their actions.”
Statement from Gonzalo Mercado, executive director of La Colmena (formerly Staten Island Community Jobs Center): “We are joining in solidarity to denounce unscrupulous employers who don’t value the lives of their workers. In this historic trial we remember Carlos Moncayo and all the other workers who we have lost due to unsafe working conditions and we say enough is enough, prosecute criminal contractors”
Statement from Diego Palaguachi, Health and Safety Facilitator of Make the Road New York: “We are deeply saddened and outraged by the tragic, and preventable, death of Carlos Moncayo. A young man working to earn a living and build our city lost his life due to greed and willful negligence. It’s time that contractors who decide cutting costs are more important than their workers’ lives are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Statement from Omar Henriquez from NDLON: “There should never be an instance where a worker has to die for a day’s work. Mr. Moncayo was killed by the employers’ negligence for not providing as the law states, a safe work environment. This trial is sending for the first time a strong and clear message: if a worker dies on your watch, you will be charged with homicide.”
Statement from Charlene Obernauer, NYCOSH’s executive director: “Carlos Moncayo was a young man with his whole life ahead of him. He had a family and community that loved him, and they have been made to suffer his loss which we know was a preventable tragedy. We fight for increased and strengthened enforcement and ongoing protection of regulations but we hope justice will also be served with this trial and many others so that criminal contractors are held accountable, and contractors will think twice before endangering any more lives.”
Statement from Diana Mejia from Wind of the Spirit: “Millions of workers are exposed to dangerous conditions every day by their employers, without any regard for workers lives, as the death of Carlos Moncayo demonstrates. For that reason, it cannot be called just another death. Carlos Moncayo was killed by his employers and this murder of workers, which is happening daily, cannot continue to happen with impunity. Justice for Carlos Moncayo.”
Statement from Ligia Guallpa, executive director at Worker’s Justice Project (WJP): “The life of Carlos Moncayo was stolen from us by Harco Construction, an unethical employer that puts profit over workers’ lives. At today’s historic trial, the members of the Worker’s Justice Project (WJP) are standing up along with community allies to demand justice for the death of Carlos Moncayo, who died building our city. Justice for Carlos Moncayo is justice for all.”
Statement from Lou Kimmel, executive director at New Labor: “Our health and Safety is not a game and we’re tired of finger-pointing when it comes to workplace safety and health. In the supply chain from multinationals and general contractors on down, there needs to be responsibility and accountability for conditions and not one more death. Like Carlos Moncayo, who had the right to live, we have the right to work and live.”