A community leader in Astoria is strongly opposing construction safety legislation that is currently enjoying wide support in the City Council.
Intro 1447 is making its way through the legislative process and is already co-sponsored by 47 of the 51 Council members. Bishop Mitchell Taylor, the co-founder and CEO of Urban Upbound, is warning the measure could have an averse effect on minority hiring, however, particularly at the Hallets Point construction site at 26-01 1st St., right next door to the Astoria Houses.
The bill is part of a larger package of legislation called the Construction Safety Act, which critics say would result in the exclusion of non-union workers from employment opportunities.
Urban Upbound is a non-profit organization that serves public housing residents and other low-income New Yorkers in order to break the cycle of poverty by providing residents with the tools and resources they need to achieve economic mobility and self-sufficiency.
“One way we achieve that is by helping residents gain employment on new construction projects,” Taylor wrote in a letter to City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside). “These jobs are a lifeline that can enable the people we serve to better provide for their families or even avoid becoming homeless.”
Taylor fears Intro 1447, originally called the apprenticeship mandate, would require that all workers on a construction site must complete at least 59 hours of safety training.
Workers currently need just 10 hours of safety training from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.