Las Vegas: Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades win strike for better safety

“We’ll fix it. We’ll fix it.” But nothing ever happens. They’re pushing to get stuff done. They’re more interested in the money, than keeping the job safe.-Fred Medina, a member of Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 797

I was in the middle of writing this up last night, I got a ton of information from Gangbox: Construction Workers News Service, after 11 construction deaths in 18 months, and failure to negotiate a positive safety plan between the unions and Perini, the General Contractor, the Nevada Building and Construction Trades membership walked off the job late Monday night, a general strike, today I noticed at the AFL-CIO Blog that the workers have ended the strike, details below.

Heres a few links from Gangbox, in reverse order, oldest to newest.

Shortly after midnight Monday, construction workers picket MGM Mirage’s CityCenter to protest safety conditions at the project after talks between leaders from local building trades unions and the site’s general contractor, Perini Building Co., broke off earlier that night.
And todays news from the AFL-CIO Web Blog (6/4/08):
Las Vegas Construction Workers Win Safety Demands

Some 6,000 construction workers are back on the job today at MGM Mirage’s CityCenter in Las Vegas, after the project’s general contractor agreed to the workers’ demands to improve safety on a job site where six workers have been killed in the past 18 months.

The workers, members of the unions of the Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council (SNBCTC), walked off the construction site for a $9.2 billion hotel, casino, condominium, retail and entertainment complex Monday night, when talks with Perini Building Co. to improve safety broke down.

Steve Ross, the building council’s executive secretary-treasurer says the agreement is

…quite significant, not only for union construction workers but for construction workers in general. We want them all to be safe….We want this to resonate up and down Las Vegas Boulevard. The important thing is for these men and women to come to work in the morning and regardless of what shift they’re working, go home and be with their families.

Perini agreed to a three-point job safety outline that includes:

  • An immediate worksite safety assessment by the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department’s (BCTD’s) Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR).

  • Conducting and paying for on-site safety training for all workers administered by the center.

  • Full job site access to union and safety officials.

The latest death occurred Saturday when Dustin Tarter, 39, a crane oiler, was killed when he was crushed between the crane’s counterweight system and the crane track. Five other workers have been killed at the CityCenter. Overall, 11 construction workers have been killed on Las Vegas Strip job sites in the past 18 months.

In March, a Las Vegas Sun investigative series reported a pattern of dangerous safety problems on city construction sites, including inadequate training, faulty equipment, job speed-ups, worker fatigue from excessive overtime and more.

Yesterday, Fred Medina, a member of Plasterers and Cement Masons (OP&CMIA) Local 797 told the paper:

We’re trying to make a statement that life is important. When you make a complaint about safety to safety managers, they keep saying, “We’ll fix it. We’ll fix it.” But nothing ever happens. They’re pushing to get stuff done. They’re more interested in the money, than keeping the job safe.

Ross said the agreement was a good first step in addressing the job safety problems in the estimated $32 billion building boom in the city.

I want to make this very clear, this isn’t the solution to the entire problem.

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