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Union & Non-Union Workers In New York City Stand United Against ‘Open Shop’ Abuses

Published Friday, February 7, 2020
by Naeisha Rose/
Union & Non-Union Workers In New York City Stand United Against ‘Open Shop’ Abuses

(NEW YORK CITY) - A diverse group of Union and Non-Union Workers protesting more than $70,000 in alleged wage theft rallied outside the New York Construction Alliance’s [NYCA] HQ in Manhattan on Wednesday (February 5th) in an ongoing protest against New Line Structures’ business practices, as well as the recent deaths of two subcontractors on Long Island.

Joe Scopo, the Head Organizer of District Council 16 of the Cement and Concrete Workers Union, led the group of 400 protestors on Lexington Avenue as they held up pictures of the subcontractors while Workers chanted: “Stand Up, Fight Back!” 

NYCA is a so-called “Open Shop” Construction Organization that includes New Lines Structures.  On its website, NYCA boasts of “workplace diversity” and strict safety standards.  

“Construction Workers ‘are human beings whether they are Non-Union or not,’” Scopo said. “Nearly ninety-percent of construction deaths ‘are in the Open Shop Sector - that should tell you that the open shop model does not work.’”

Scopo later held a moment of silence for two Long Island subcontractors who died in a trench collapse last week.  After the silent reflection, he and the crowd chanted: “How Many More Must Die!” 

“The movements in New York City ‘are what keeps the fight going,’” Scopo said. “Your ‘future is at stake.’  ‘We are in a good place right now, but don’t let anybody tell you that the Unions aren’t in a good place.’  We ‘just want to secure a good future, so what they are doing in the Non-Union Sector doesn’t come to us.’  ‘We can’t allow them to hurt Workers.’”

NYCA consists of eight members, according to the group’s website: New Line Structures; Leeding Builders Group; L&M Builders Group, Lettire Construction Corporation; Ryder Construction; Triton Construction Company; Noble Construction Group; and Hudson Meridian Construction. 

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams chided NYCA’s anti-Worker safety record.

“It’s ‘hard enough to find some damn work in this city,’” Williams said. “If you ‘work a full day, you should get paid for it.’  ‘Nothing in this city goes up, nothing in the city moves, nothing in this city happens without Workers.’  I’m ‘not surprised’ the New York Construction Alliance would have a company like New Line on their board because they opposed (Intro) 1447, which was about construction site safety.  ‘They opposed safety for Workers and now they oppose paying Workers.’”

Intro 1447 was the Bill sponsored by then City Council Member Williams in 2017 that required enhanced training and qualifications for Workers to engage in construction and building demolitions. 

Since 2010, New Line Structures has had 359 violations issued against them by the Department of Buildings, the Department of Transportation, the New York Police Department Transportation Intelligence Division, the Bureau of Environmental Compliance and Parks-Capital. 

“What I want to see happen is that they ‘get kicked off these boards, they get no more work from the city and the state and that somebody goes to jail for some time,’” Williams said.

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