May 27, 2016
On April 11, 2016, a construction worker from Port Chester, working on a job in Darien, fell off a scaffold and died. On April 21, 2016, another construction worker, also from Port Chester, working on a job in NYC, was killed when something fell from above him and struck him on the head. In NYC alone, during the calendar year 2015, there were 17 fatal accidents on construction sites. The workers’ ages ranged from 19-16. All but one were non-union jobs. It is exactly tragedies like these the Sustainable Port Chester Alliance is hoping to avoid by asking Starwood Capital Group to sign a Community Benefits Agreement regarding the development at the United Hospital site. Union workers are given job safety training, and the job sites are required to pass safety inspections and have a safety foreman on site.
A Community Benefits Agreement (commonly called simply a “CBA”) can include requirements such as this, committing the developer to use union labor contracts and stringent safety regulations throughout the building process. It can require that the company, which will reap benefits from this development, as it should, promise certain benefits to Port Chester. It can even require that any new company which may buy the property from the developer adhere to the agreement which was made by the last owner.
The two tragic deaths referenced above are only one reason for the Sustainable Port Chester Alliance efforts to secure a Community Benefits Agreement with Starwood Capital Group prior to the development of the United Hospital site. We have always said that, among other agreements to assure benefits to the Port Chester community, there should be prior written agreement to employ union workers on the demolition and construction. Worker safety is too important to be considered as an afterthought following a tragedy.
Starwood is now talking about selling the property. Without some kind of agreement, in writing, Port Chester could be stuck starting over, yet again. We need to mobilize as a community to protect our village. We need to ask for what we want, demand what we deserve. We need to stand together to form a stronger home for us all.
340 South Regent St.