New York City officials are coming under fire after it was discovered that they used non-union workers to perform an asbestos abatement in a new rehabilitated building.
Current union asbestos removal workers are protesting outside of 100 Gold St in Manhattan in an effort to fight against the use of non-unionized workers. They have currently been protesting for over a week over this matter.
The building that was found to have asbestos was an old Tuberculosis hospital. The city wanted to convert this old hospital into an affordable housing block, but after discovering the asbestos, they needed to find a cheaper way to remove the dangerous material. To do this, they hired non-union workers.
In regards to the matter, spokeswoman Juliet Pierre-Antoine stated that, “HPD carefully monitors projects to ensure the health and safety of workers on sites where we finance the construction of affordable housing. Once this particular project is underway, HPD will vigorously monitor the construction activity and contractor’s performance.”
She also claimed that the city Housing Preservation and Development agency would not have hired unqualified workers, stating that the asbestos abatement team hired was approved by the state of New York to remove asbestos.
Union workers are still upset that the city hired these non-unionized asbestos cleaners. Even though the company hired is allowed in the state of New York to remove asbestos, the union claims that they are not required to be properly trained in removing asbestos in confined spaces, using scaffolding or administering CPR.
Although the unionized asbestos removal workers will continue to protest, the best they can hope for at the moment is that they don’t further lose any asbestos removal jobs to non-unionized workers.