By: Tafadar Sourov
Last Thursday hundreds of workers gathered at 34th st and 10th Avenue, at what turned out to be the biggest #CountMeIn rally so far. Journey workers and apprentices showed high levels of enthusiasm, chanting until their voices were hoarse even though many were heading to work right after.
The rank and file led rally began on the corner of the construction site itself, before police moved them to their regular rally spot across the street. Their energy was unaffected though, as the chants grew louder.
The #CountMeIn movement has been protesting Related, a large developer that is spearheading the Hudson Yards redevelopment with mostly non union labor. The building trades unions concerns are not only about winning union contracts for the project, but the detriments of non union jobs.
Most construction deaths happen on non union jobs, where safety measures and training are not as stringent. Non union jobs are proving to be dangerous for the general public as well. Last week six buildings had to be evacuated in Chelsea after a gas leak occurred because a pipe was ruptured at a Related jobsite on 19th st and 10th ave, not too far from the Hudson Yards.
These outrageous occurrences drive union workers to fight not only for their own livelihoods, but the safety of NYC. Leaders of rally such as Bernard Callegari assured the excited crowd that their fight would grow and continue to victory. These organizers are at Hudson Yards every day while it is still dark, tirelessly working to advance the cause of the #CountMeIn movement.
Although the crowd consisted of workers from across the building trades- electricians, operating engineers, sheet metal workers, carpenters, laborers, and many more, they began chanting “one union!”. The spirit of solidarity was strong in the crowd, where they address each other as “brother” or “sister”.
The crowd plans on returning in greater numbers this Thursday, December 7th, 6AM at 34st and 10th ave.
Tafadar Sourov a long time community organizer from The Bronx, and a rank and file activist of Laborers Local 79.
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