Texas construction accident attorney-S. Greco-educates workers endangered in Austin’s construction industry.
Austin, TX (JusticeNewsFlash.com)—A recent startling report conducted by a Texas workers rights watch group, Workers Defense Project http://www.workersdefense.org/, is cracking the foundation under Austin’s building contractors and lawmakers. The workers rights group claims the Texas construction industry frequently puts workers safety, health, and financial well being at risk.
According to Wikipedia http://www.wikipedia.org, Austin, Texas, is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the United States, and hailed as the “Live Music Capital of the World”, “Greenest City in America”; and, with the recent revelations made by the workers rights group, Austin may soon add the title of “Most Dangerous Construction Industry in the U.S.” to their list.
The Workers Defense Project, in collaboration with the Division of Diversity, and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin http://www.utexas.edu/diversity/ is fighting together to bring better working conditions to Austin’s construction industry. The eye-opening study titled, “Building Austin, Building Injustice: Working Conditions in Austin’s Construction Industry” http://www.buildaustin.org/index.html, surveyed over 312 construction workers, conducted in-depth interviews with Austin’s construction workers and industry leaders, and utilized existing government data.
Building Austin, Building Injustice, exposed how construction contractors attempted to cut costs by not paying workers for over time. Sometimes workers were not receiving any payment at all for their labor. Contractors are also misclassifying employees as independent contractors, and are violating federal and state regulations for failing to provide proper safety equipment, such as harnesses and helmets.
The Building Austin, Building Injustice reported some starting statistics about Austin’s construction industry:
• 45 percent of surveyed Austin construction workers have reported earning poverty level wages, and nearly half of construction workers stated not having adequate financial help to support their families.
• 1 in 5 workers were denied payment for their work on construction sites in Austin, and 50 percent of workers were not able to pay for food and housing because employers failed to pay the construction workers overtime.
• A vast majority of Austin construction workers do not have employee benefits, such as health insurance (76%), pensions (81%), vacation days (77%), or sick days (87%).
• 64 percent of the surveyed construction workers reported they lacked basic health and safety training, and had to supply their own safety equipment.
• In 2007, Texas construction industry was the most fatal construction industry in the U.S. with 142 deaths.
The Workers Defense Project has recommended some new policies to improve working conditions and to help ensure economic growth within the Austin construction industry:
• Texas policymakers should mandate contractors to provide regular safety training, and safety equipment to prevent accidental deaths on the job. Also, lawmakers need to ensure health and safety regulations are enforced on construction sites. In addition, government regulators, workers’ rights organizations, and unions should come together to investigate construction sites.
• Policymakers need to provide strict enforcement against wage theft by contractors.
• Texas lawmakers should push for investment in green building to aid in the generating of good jobs in Austin. The availability of these good, green jobs need to be secured for minorities, women, and immigrants who are more unlikely to receive them.
Texas lawmakers, employers, and developers now have the unique opportunity to change the construction industry in Austin. This allows them to make new standards and protocols for safety and working conditions on Texas jobsites. This will help make the Austin construction industry more appealing to builders and workers.
Texas Construction Accident Lawyer Shelly T. Greco
Practice areas: Worker Injury Claims
Shelly Greco. Eberstein & Witherite, LLP. 3100 Monticello Avenue, Suite 500. Dallas, TX 75205 – Toll Free: (888) 407-6669