City Council Pitches Crackdown on Construction “Body Shops”

2021-07-13T16:38:19+00:00May 26th, 2021|

Construction unions may be nearing a victory in their war on “body shops.” A new City Council bill would impose licensing and disclosure mandates on companies competing with union labor at construction sites. The bill, expected to be introduced by Council member Diana Ayala on Thursday, would require labor brokers to obtain a license from the [...]

Local 79 Fights the Criminalization of Laborers

2021-07-13T16:17:39+00:00May 26th, 2021|

On April 19, 2021, NELP testified in strong support of New York Laborers Local 79’s campaign to challenge labor broker practices that target New Yorkers under parole supervision (and other forms of court-related surveillance) for underpaid and dangerous work. These labor brokers are known in New York City as “body shops.” Local 79 is organizing to demand that New York City regulate and license body shops to stop [...]

How to Help 2.3 Million New Yorkers Build Back Better

2021-07-13T16:02:12+00:00April 29th, 2021|

President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure plan is rightly garnering headlines. Biden wants to rebuild America through big public investments that will create many thousands of good-paying union jobs and help drive an economic boom after Covid-19. From decaying roads to creaky bridges, much of our country needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. Biden’s plan [...]

“Body Shops” Criminalize Workers, Deepen Structural Racism of the Criminal Legal System, and Degrade Workers’ Wages, Safety, and Voice

2021-07-13T15:52:49+00:00April 19th, 2021|

The New York City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing New York City Hall, Remote Hearing – Virtual Room 2 City Hall Park New York, NY 10007 RE: Hearing Testimony – “Body Shops” Criminalize Workers, Deepen Structural Racism of the Criminal Legal System, and Degrade Workers’ Wages, Safety, and Voice Dear New York City [...]

Unfree Labor in NYC Construction: An Appeal to End Body Shops

2021-07-13T12:53:52+00:00February 25th, 2021|

This is the first African American History month since the murder of George Floyd and the uprisings that followed. Looking through the official calendar of figures to be honored each day, I did not see David Walker’s name listed. In case you haven’t heard of him, Walker was a free black man known for his dramatic [...]

How NYC’s Leaders Can Empower Black Re-Entry Workers Like Me

2021-07-13T12:49:19+00:00February 12th, 2021|

The work done by Black people like me has long been treated as unworthy of a fair wage. Racial income disparities mean we are paid less, including when we do the same jobs as white people. That’s well-known. What deserves more attention, though, is how these disparities are taking on new and alarming forms in the [...]

Construction Union Sizes Up Mayoral Hopefuls

2021-07-13T12:43:27+00:00February 5th, 2021|

The city’s laborers union is gearing up to endorse one of the city’s many mayoral hopefuls. The Mason Tenders’ District Council, which is poised to announce its pick for mayor this month, has asked candidates to commit to something Mayor Bill de Blasio has not: hiring more union laborers on affordable housing projects. Built into this [...]

Employing Former Inmates Shouldn’t be an Opportunity for Exploitation

2021-07-13T12:38:06+00:00January 27th, 2021|

As we emerge from this pandemic, we must reimagine New York City’s workforce. We need to hire local residents and increase opportunities for communities of color across Queens and the rest of the boroughs. But the local hiring must involve more than dead-end, low-wage jobs. That is why I was shocked to learn that some prominent [...]

How NY Can Stop the Exploitation of Construction Workers Like Me

2021-07-13T12:13:41+00:00July 31st, 2020|

Recently, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a landmark $1.5 million sexual harassment settlement with Trade Off, my former employer. In the real-estate industry, Trade Off is known as a body shop – a provider of cheap, nonunion Black and Brown construction laborers to big developers like the Related Companies. I was one of the [...]

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