2009

Workers Defense Project

In the news in 2009…

Austin Chronicle (Newspaper)
December 25, 2009
The View From 21 Rio
The Workers Defense Project, which organized last week’s vigil, says that Capoera directly owed 18 workers an estimated total of $55,000 on the 21 Rio job.

News 8 Austin (TV)
December 16, 2009
Construction companies cited for violations in 3 deaths
A representative with the Workers Defense Project called the citations significant, saying they send the message that safety is everyone’s responsibility…

Austin American-Statesman (Newspaper)
December 16, 2009
Companies Cited for safety violations related to scaffolding collapse
Emily Timm of the Workers Defense Project said that after the accident, Margate Fla.-based Capoera Construction, the company that officials say employeed the three men, disappeared without paying workers overtime or for their final weeks of work.

Fox 7 News Austin (TV)
December 16, 2009
4 Construction Companies Fined by Osha
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure there’s not accidents like this taking place. We think it’s a very important step to recognize the responsibility of the industry,” Emily Timm, of the Workers Defense Project said.

News 8 Austin (TV)
September 17, 2009
Safety inspectors to increase work in Texas
U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced that more federal safety inspectors will arrive in Texas next month to begin stepped-up enforcement of safety standards.

News 8 Austin (TV)
September 17, 2009
OSHA trainer says construction site violations too common
Following a May report that labeled Texas the nation’s deadliest state when it comes to construction accidents, the state has seen an influx of federal inspectors.

GRITtv with Laura Flanders (Web Video)
September 15, 2009
Wage Theft in America
Underpaying workers. Denying them overtime. And stealing their wages. It all adds up to a business strategy that makes up what some have called the gloves off economy….

News 8 Austin (TV)
September 11, 2009
City of Austin may add safety inspectors
In June, three construction workers died while working on a West Campus high-rise condominium project

Dallas Morning News (Newspaper)
September 10, 2009
Feds up oversight of food and worker safety, pollution in Texas
Federal agencies are sharply increasing their oversight of pollution and other public health threats in Texas, in a particularly focused example of the Obama administration’s promise of stricter regulation of business

USA Today (Newspaper)
August 17, 2009
Bad economy sparks more complaints of wage theft
More workers are getting stiffed just when they need their pay the most.

KVUE (TV)
July 30, 2009
OSHA investigating heat-related construction death
KVUE News has learned that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is now investigating the first heat-related death in Travis County for 2009…

Houston Chronicle (Newspaper)
July 22, 2009
Look out for employees in hot weather
It’s hot out there. But workers shouldn’t look to the state of Texas for protection. Only two states — Texas and Arizona — don’t require employers to provide work breaks, according to Cristina Tzintzún, director of the Workers Defense Project in Austin

Free Speech Radio News (Radio)
July 20, 2009
Latino deaths at work increase
The number of Latinos who die in the workplace is rising, even though the overall amount of workplace related deaths is decreasing. According to a report by USA Today, the latest tally by the US Department of Labor shows more than 900 Latinos died in job-related accidents in 2007. That’s a 72 percent increase since 1992

USA Today (Newspaper)
July 20, 2009
Hispanic worker deaths up 76% since 1992
Hispanic workers have fallen off roofs, been crushed under heavy machinery and run over by trucks, according to workers’ rights advocates, such as the Austin-based Workers Defense Project…

Houston Chronicle (Newspaper)
July 15, 2009
OSHA takes hard look at Texas construction
The spike in on-the-job construction deaths in Texas has caught the attention of federal investigators

KXAN (TV)
July 15, 2009
Perry’s words fuel construction protest
Gov. Rick Perry’ s words regarding construction safety are fueling a demonstration Wednesday outside his office in a call to end the number of deaths in the Texas construction industry. The Workers Defense Project, construction workers and community supporters are protesting Perry’s comments…

News 8 Austin (TV)
July 15, 2009
Protesters want more safety at construction sites
A protest in front of the governor’s office Wednesday got a little rowdy. The Workers Defense Project said Governor Rick Perry doesn’t care about the risks construction workers face. They cited his comments last week and said he downplayed worker safety…

KUT (Radio)
July 14, 2009
Construction Site Safety Under Spotlight
An Austin-based advocacy group will hold a community meeting discussing construction site safety.As KUT’s Mose Buchele reports, the event comes on the heels of some major developments in the enforcement of workplace safety laws and the deaths of three workers near the UT Campus…

Talking Union (Weblog)
July 14, 2009
Report exposes poor working conditions in Austin construction
Austin
is the second-fastest growing urban area in the nation; unfortunately, this growth has come at a cost. Workers Defense Project’s recent report, Building Austin, Building Injustice: Working Conditions in Austin’s Construction Industry exposes the reality that most Austin construction workers face on a day-to-day basis: low-wages, poor working conditions, and violations of the law

News 8 Austin (TV)
July 13, 2009
Search warrant executed in construction site deaths

News 8 Austin (TV)
July 1, 2009
Perry dismisses federal call to improve safety regulations
Gov. Rick Perry addressed industry professionals at the Central Texas Construction Expo Tuesday. Perry told the audience that the industry owes its success to the state’s business-friendly motto: “Let free enterprise reign, and be wary of over-regulation.”

Austin American-Statesman (Newspaper)
June 30, 2009
Construction safety crackdown not enough, Austin group says
An Austin-based workers advocacy group is calling for a permanent increase in the number of federal inspectors who enforce safety standards at construction sites in Texas

The Texas Observer (Magazine)
June 30, 2009
Solis says Dept. of Labor Back in the Enforcement Business
In a recent Observer story we reported that Texas has the highest number of construction deaths in the nation — 142 people died in 2007, according to Dept. of Labor statistics. As our story went to press three workers plunged to their deaths in Austin from a high-rise condo. Apparently, Texas’ appalling safety record finally caught the ear of Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

The Daily Texan (Newspaper)
June 29, 2009
Group fights for construction workers’ rights
Construction worker Fontino Cortes-Cruz was killed early last Wednesday morning in a hit-and-run incident on I-35 near Onion Creek Parkway

Austin American-Statesman (Newspaper)
June 18, 2009
Jobs laced with injustice, hazards and death
One hundred and forty-two worn pairs of work boots were on display at Austin City Hall on Tuesday, one for each of the construction workers who died on the job in Texas in 2007. Three more pairs had been set aside

Austin American-Statesman (Newspaper)
June 17, 2009
Report: Austin construction workers face dangers, low pay
Austin’s commercial and residential construction industry frequently puts workers’ safety, health and financial well-being at risk, according to a study released Tuesday by a worker advocacy group…

Austin American-Statesman (Newspaper)
June 17, 2009
Roofer’s fall highlights gaps in protection
Pedro Hernandez fell 14 feet from the roof he was working on in 2007 in East Austin and lived to tell about it. His back, neck and leg injuries were so severe that he couldn’t work for months, and Hernandez had to depend on social safety nets

The Daily Texan (Newspaper)
June 17, 2009
Fallen workers not forgotten
Upon the release of a report citing construction violations in Austin, city authorities are still trying to determine the cause of a partial scaffold collapse which claimed the lives of three construction workers in West Campus last week

Ahora Si! (Newspaper)
June 16, 2009
Un trabajo peligroso

Más de 50,000 personas trabajan en la industria de la construcción en Austin, quienes en total ganan $3,500 millones en sueldos. Sin embargo, la mayoría de los trabajadores ganan sueldos mínimos que muchas veces no son pagados y carecen de seguro medico, fondo para su retiro o vacaciones pagadas.
Uno de cada cinco trabajadores (en una encuesta de 320) reportó haber sufrido un accidente laboral que requirió atención médica

Engineering News-Record (Magazine)
June 16, 2009
Deadly Austin Scaffold Mishap Puts Spotlight on Safety Problem
The scaffolding accident that killed three workers on an Austin high-rise apartment building has underscored what some local researchers and safety advocates believe are safety problems in the city’s construction sector

Fox News 7 Austin (TV)
June 16, 2009
ATX Among Worst to Work in Construction
Austin is one of the worst places to work in construction, according to a study released Tuesday. The report, “Building Austin, Building Injustice,” comes just days after three construction deaths last week

KUT (Radio)
June 16, 2009
STUDY CLAIMS CONSTRUCTION DANGER IN AUSTIN
For construction workers, Austin is one of the worst places to work. That’s the conclusion of a new study released today by the Workers Defense Project and the Division of Diversity of Community Engagement of the University of Texas

KVUE (TV)
June 16, 2009
WATCH: Study details hazards faced by Austin construction workers
When three workers lost their lives on West Campus in early June, few knew it would be a tragic punctuation to report released Tuesday…

KXAN (TV)
June 16, 2009
Study: Construction safety inadequate
A new report released by the University of Texas shows Austin is one of the worst places to work for construction workers.

News 8 Austin (TV)
June 16, 2009
Study prompts questions of construction safety in Austin
A study of work conditions in the local construction industry shows Austin’s thriving growth may be borne on the backs of abused construction workers.

Philip Poynter Construction Safety (Consultants)
June 16, 2009
US SCAFFOLD COLLPAPSE THREE DEAD
Three construction workers have fallen to their deaths when a scaffold collapsed between the 11th and 13th floors of a development in Austin, Texas USA. A fourth man survived by jumping back to the building as the scaffold failed.

SmartBrief (E-Newsletter)
June 16, 2009
Some Texas construction workers face unsafe conditions
A new study raises concerns about working conditions for construction workers in Austin, Texas.

Texas Cable News (TV)
June 16, 2009
Study details hazards faced by Austin construction workers
(See video post)

The Texas Observer (Magazine)
June 16, 2009
Construction Deaths Remembered in Austin
Construction workers, politicians, priests and worker advocates met in front of city hall this morning to highlight a new study by the Austin nonprofit Workers Defense Project. The study “Building Austin, Building Injustice: Working Conditions in Austin’s Construction Industry” focuses on workers in Austin, one of the more vibrant housing markets still left in the nation…

Daily Kos (Weblog)
June 12, 2009
Dying to Build
A construction worker dies in Texas every 2 1/2 days. No other state in the country has as many construction-related deaths: 142 fatalities were reported in 2007, up from 131 the year Puerto died

News 8 Austin (TV)
June 12, 2009
Construction site accident takes 3 lives
A construction accident Wednesday afternoon on Rio Grande and 22nd Streets has left three people dead.

News 8 Austin (TV)
June 11, 2009
Accident prompts questions of construction safety regulations
An investigation is underway after three people were killed when they fell at a high-rise condo project…

The Daily Texan (Newspaper)
May 4, 2009
May Day protesters rally for workers’ rights
Labor activists demand recognition of the value of immigrants in the US. Hundreds of activists gathered on the south steps of the Capitol on Friday evening and marched to City Hall…

Austin American-Statesman (Newspaper)
May 2, 2009
Austin Voices Rise For Immigration Reform

A man ran away from immigration authorities on the steps of the Texas Capitol on Friday as more than 500 people watched. The man and the authorities were actors, members of Cristo Rey Catholic Church, who were taking part in the March for Just and Humane Immigration Reform in Austin…

KUT (Radio)
May 2, 2009
Immigrant Rights March
Central Texans rallied at the State Capitol on International Workers Day, May 1st. Some of the sponsors of the march were the Austin Immigrants Rights Coalition and the Workers Defense Project…

News 8 Austin (TV)
May 1, 2009
May Day rallies call for immigration policy reform
A few hundred people from several labor and immigrant rights groups gathered on the lawn of the State Capitol Friday to push for comprehensive immigration reform…

KEYE (TV)
April 19, 2009
Candidates Field Questions at Immigration Forum Sponsored by PDL
A half-dozen city council hopefuls and mayoral candidates fielded questions about immigration and workers rights at a voter forum Sunday night. The Workers Defense Project sponsored the forum at a South Austin church…

KOOP (Radio)
April 19, 2009
Proyecto Defensa Laboral – Austin Mayoral & City Council Candidates Forum – April 19, 2009
Unedited recording by Allan Campbell for KOOP Radio (in three parts) captures the April 19th, 2009, Austin Mayoral and City Council Candidates Forum, held by the Workers Defense Project/Proyecto Defensa Laboral (PDL)…

Austin Chronicle (Newspaper)
April 24, 2009
Two Snapshots, One Problem
Hispanics won battles this week that they shouldn’t have had to fight
“…The second photograph on the right provides a study in contrast. It shows a demonstration sponsored by the Workers Defense Project on behalf of 11 construction workers who performed concrete and masonry work last fall on the Cobra Studios development of Cobalt Companies…”

Austin American-Statesman (Newspaper)
March 23, 2009
Group calls for safer working conditions in Latino-dominated construction industry
With the city-led Hispanic Quality of Life Initiative tackling the topic of economic development tomorrow, some Latino construction workers are calling on the city to ensure safer industry working conditions. The laborers are members of the Workers Defense Project/Proyecto Defensa Laboral, an Austin-based group that advocates for the rights of Latino workers…

Ahora Si! (Newspaper)
March 5-11, 2009
Piden impedir leyes contra inmigrantes en Texas

Grupos de inmigrantes de Austin, El Paso, Houston, San Antonio y Dallas se reunieron el jueves 26 en el Capitolio de Texas para hablar con los senadores estatales sobre varias propuestas de ley, entre ellas, la colaboración de las agencias locales para que se vigilen leyes federales de inmigración, las sanciones a empleadores por contratar a indocumentados, conservar las colegiaturas estatales para estudiantes indocumentados y que se revise la norma mediante la cual se otorgan licencias de manejo diferentes a los inmigrantes…

KXAN (TV)
February 26, 2009
Immigrants, activists lobby for rights
Dozens of undocumented workers came together with immigration activists on Thursday in Austin to lobby against legislation they say is unfairly targeting immigrants…

Ahora Si! (Newspaper)
January 29 – February 4, 2009
Exigen que les paguen por su trabajo
Se ha duplicado el número de casos de injusticia laboral en Austin. Desde diciembre, Óscar Limón no ha podido cobrar un cheque de $5,000. En el banco, le dicen que no tiene fondos y esto es lo único que tiene a cambio de su trabajo por la construcción de cuatro casas en Round Rock…