March 5, 2015
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—The men and women of New York City’s Building and Construction Trades rallied during their lunch hour at 111 West 57th Street to protest what they say is JDS Developer’s deplorable safety record.
The rally is the latest in a series held by the Building Trades because the developer has refused to date to commit to employing New York City’s building tradesmen and tradeswomen to do the work. The developer, led by Michael Stern, wants to build the city’s tallest residential building that would soar to 1,400 feet!
While no floors have yet to be erected at the site, a 5000 lb. pound Caterpillar excavator was busy excavating dirt and rock for the tower’s foundation.
Reinaldo Torres, an organizer with the Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local 28, gave a stirring speech to the tradesmen and tradeswomen who gathered around to hear him speak. In the accompanying video, he told them that a cancer has taken hold of the real estate industry in New York City and it needs a remedy in order to protect their livelihoods.
“This developer wants to come here to our city, the city that we built safely, and he wants to destroy that. The safety record of JDS and his affiliates is terrible. He shouldn’t be allowed to build in this city, let alone on 57th Street, in our faces. But it could happen. We’re here today to let him know that he can’t get away with these conditions,” said Torres. “This is a cancer that is ravaging our business, our livelihoods, and we have to take care of that. We have to come up with a remedy, a cure, for this cancer so builders like JDS can’t come here and destroy what we’ve built—and that’s skill, productivity and safety.”
Torres reminded those who gathered around him to hear him speak the building trades’ proud history.
“Today, we stand united in a common cause to preserve our livelihoods, the ones that our tradesmen before us fought, died and went to jail for [and] we have to preserve that. We have to make sure that anybody that wants to come here in our city, whether it’s JDS or any of these other contractors that want to come here and destroy what we’ve built, let them know that we as tradesmen and tradeswomen will not allow that,” Torres said.