WORK SITE ACCOUNTABILITY AND WORKER PROTECTIONS
Melinda will hold employers accountable for their actions.
In a Borough as diverse as Queens, many employers unfortunately try to take advantage of workers’ immigration status, language barriers, inexperience and/or financial situation to violate their rights when it comes to wages and workplace safety.
This can have deeply tragic consequences, and our next District Attorney must hold employers accountable for their actions.
With Queens developing at a rapid pace, the opportunity for construction injuries is rising, and the incentive for developers to try to cut corners grows larger every day. That puts workers at risk, and our DA needs to proactively fight back. Melinda will assign an investigator to every single workplace accident that results in a serious injury. Developers and construction companies will be held accountable if they fail to follow the law and keep their workers safe, as they are now being held accountable in Brooklyn. This will not only provide justice for victims of workplace safety violations, but will also send a clear message to developers that any effort to cut corners will have severe consequences. Melinda’s plan for workplace safety includes:
Construction Codes: Use Construction Codes to enforce construction safety and crack down on illegal conversions. While these are classified as misdemeanors, the DA would have a wider range of charges to bring that could result in jail time for those who violate the Construction Codes – something that is not currently happening in most criminal prosecutions involving construction accidents.
License Surrenders: Include surrender of any DOB license or privilege (or other agency privileges) as part of plea negotiations. A criminal conviction does not automatically lead to license revocation and such surrenders would send strong messages to the industry.
Workplace Safety Training: Utilize asset forfeiture funds to help with the city’s mandatory construction safety training programs, required under Local Law 196.
Construction Safety Task Force: Work with DOB and/or DOI on investigating construction worksite safety violations, including a multi-agency Construction Safety Task Force.
More and more workers are being victimized by wage theft, being paid less than the minimum wage, less than the proper wage or unfairly cheated out of overtime benefits. As District Attorney, Melinda will work with labor unions and other organizations to create a multilingual outreach program informing workers of their rights. She will establish free and anonymous means for workers to report wage theft and overtime violations, and aggressively prosecute those employers who refuse to follow the law.