A nonunion construction worker dies and another seriously injured while building a new Wal-Mart in Omaha

According to on of their job advertisements "D&BR is a non-union structural steel erector specializing in single story "big box" structures over 100,000 sq. ft. We travel in about 19 states."

It happened today, Sunday, in Omaha, at a brand spanking new Wal-Mart, where two workers, who were employed by D&Br Building Systems Inc. of Texas., were attaching corrugated panels to the roof when one gave away. They plunged 25' (or 40' depending on which source is accurate) and rushed to the local hospital in critical condition, on of whom has since died. Where was the safety harness? Well we probably won't know the answer to that, and unfortunately the details aren't very useful in either of the articles.

One thing I do know is that while they must have a lot of people working for them, they are only currently advertising for management positions, and one of the stipulations is that you must be Bi-lingual Spanish/English, and in the case of Traveling Ironworker Foreman to get the job you must "Work with Hispanic crews. " and the foreman is required to work 7 days a week, 14 hours a day. Foreman in construction are there to work with the workers. Did I mention this accident happened on a Sunday?

Now I can put 2 and 2 together like the next guy, they employ a lot of people, who don't have the proper safety equipment, they don't need to put advertisements for basic workers, but they need management who speak both English and Spanish. Could this nonunion builder be using misclassified and/or undocumented workers as it's workforce? Is it at all possible that they are actively engaging in *sweatshop construction activities? I don't know much about Omaha, but I think of tight community where everybody knows everyone, wouldn't the local news report that it was "a local man" if that was the case?

Now these are just opinions and conjecture, but I think that D&Br Building Systems Inc. of Texas should be looked at a little more carefully, especially after this tragic accident. At the very least, tax payroll and employment records should be examined and they should be investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
*Sweatshop Construction could be defined as my writings below from Why all the anti-union sentiment?

Currently we have a large percentage of contractors (aprox. 1/4 of all current construction in NY has employees that work off the books or are misclassified as independent contractors) here who pay their undocumented employees below the minimum wage and misclassifying them as independent contractors. Entitling them to let the "employee' bear the burden of making sure his taxes are being payed, workers comp insurance is in place, supply their own safety equipment and working conditions.In fact in the year ending 2006 according to the New York Times a construction worker in NY that was nonunion was 500% more likely to die at work.

Currently our Building and Construction Unions, local politicians from a bipartisan background and a host of other agencies, like the Brennan center for Justice and the Fiscal Policy Institute have been bringing to light the reckless behavior of these unscrupulous contractors, their safety violations, their shotty and dangerous work, their unskilled workers, the slave wages(according to the Brennan report some are forced to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for $6-$12 an hour), the public safety concern, the nonpayment by employer of taxes for said employees(in fact 2 construction companies are facing jail time(NY Newsday reported one for $220,000 and another $394,788 in evading employee taxes), The Governor himself has declared an Executive order to end this misclassification of workers, this doesn't even mention the tax burden these contractors push off onto the general public and those contractors who(according to Fiscal Policy Institute) cost workers lost wages and benefits and local, state and federal governments nearly $500 million in 2005.
When one of these 50,000+ workers gets sick and winds up in the hospital who do you think winds up paying for that? We do.Who winds up paying for their kids schooling, the upkeep of our infrastructure, our public employees wages? the list goes on. What is the cost to us for the lowest bid?

Sources: Omaha.com, Columbustelegram.com, IHireBuildingTrades.com

Heres the ad for foreman, just in case it disappears:

Job Title: Traveling ironworker foreman
Company: D&BR Building Systems
Location: Lewis, IN
Non-union ironworker supervisor for structural steel erector. We cover about 20 states, central, south and midwest so job is all travel. Bar joist and deck 1 story 100,000 sf to 1,000,000 sf. Manage and train specialty crews (raising, bridging, decking, miscellaneous). Work with Hispanic crews. We use highly efficent and safe erection methods.

  • Ironworker experience equal to journeyman ironworker
  • Bi-lingual Spanish/English
  • have own truck and tools
  • read structural drawings
  • safety oriented
  • ability to learn and follow our methods
  • construction leadership skills
  • certifiable arc welding skills
  • valid drivers license CDL preferred
  • work 7 days a week, 10 to 14 hour days
Story Updated at:
Getting killed at a Wal-Mart construction site and using undocumented workers isn't a new thing


Joe638NYC said...

I stand corrected on one point,according to KPTM only one of the workers, the survivor, is a citizen of Mexico, is he legally here to work? I don't see how if there are plenty of good citizens who would like to be IronWorkers. Wonder how many more of their workers are Mexican citizens? as far as I know, Visa's are for highly skilled professionals and seasonal workers, when there is a need for them. When the US employee pool runs dry.
sources: workpermit.com and wikipedia

Joe638NYC said...

It seems getting killed at a Wal-Mart construction site isn't a new item:
Family Sues over Wal-Mart Construction Accident Death

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