ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Mónica Novoa, NYCOSH
Sky Materials Corp Foreman Wilmer Cueva is Sentenced to 1-3 Years for Conviction of Criminally Negligent Homicide and Reckless Endangerment in Relation to Worksite Death of Carlos Moncayo
December 15th, 2016 – New York, New York – Wilmer Cueva was sentenced to 1-3 years in prison today after a New York State Supreme Court jury convicted him of Criminally Negligent Homicide and Reckless Endangerment in the worksite death of Carlos Moncayo, a 22 year-old construction worker.
The sentencing today brings a measure of justice to the Moncayo family who lost a son and brother in a case where it is clear his death could have been prevented. Cueva’s punishment of 1-3 years serves as a warning to other foremen and supervisors that there are real consequences to placing the lives of workers after company profits. Worksite foremen and supervisors in New York must let it sink in that worksite deaths resulting from their negligence is punishable. There is no excuse—foremen and supervisors must follow the laws that protect the safety of workers and all New Yorkers.
Nadia Marin-Molina, NYCOSH’s Associate Director said, “Justice for workers means that they go home to their families after work. When there is a preventable tragedy, we want justice for the families of workers and we are glad the Moncayo family got a measure of justice today. Corporations, bosses and supervisors must be prosecuted and punished for preventable deaths on the job.”
In a press release today, District Attorney Vance said, “Wilmer Cueva knowingly and repeatedly risked his workers’ lives in service of an ambitious construction schedule. In the face of multiple warnings about the perilous conditions he created at 9-19 Ninth Avenue, Cueva personally directed—and then declined to stop—his illegal excavation work, and Carlos Moncayo, a young man working to support his family, perished needlessly as a result. I hope that the justice obtained for his preventable death will galvanize other construction supervisors to prioritize their workers’ safety ahead of expediency and profit. I encourage construction workers to report unsafe working conditions anonymously and directly to our Office using WhatsApp at 646-712-0298. The endangerment of workers is a crime, and this Office won’t let it stand.”
The cases against two of the other defendants indicted in connection with the incident, Sky Materials Corp. and Alfonso Prestia, are pending. There have been 12 construction worksite deaths in the past year and 28 in the past two years, signaling a construction boom crisis with no end in sight.
According to prior NYCOSH reports on construction fatalities, Moncayo’s death was part of another sad and unjust pattern along lines of race, national origin, and union status: immigrant and/or Latino workers and non-union workers are at the greatest risk of death. In 2012, 79% of fatal fall construction accidents occurred at nonunion construction sites and 60% of fatal fall victims were immigrant and/or Latino.