New York, NY – The New York State Organizing Fund, part of LiUNA, along with Operating Engineers Local 137 and Teamsters Local 456, as part of the Committee for Responsible Site Work and Excavation, held a demonstration earlier this month to educate the public about site work, excavation and general contractor AMEC.
In the wake of the recent hiring of the company by Wegmans Food Markets in White Plains, NY, the group rallied to draw attention to the reportedly egregious practices of the company, distributing information about the company’s poor track record to Wegmans’ customers at a Wegmans in Montvale, NJ. Following that, on April 10th, an additional rally against AMEC construction was also held at the Wegmans construction site in Harrison, NY. The New York State Laborers Organizing Fund, along with Laborers Local 60, Operating Engineers Local 137 and Teamsters Local 456 were present to hand out leaflets.
The Committee is working to alert the public to AMEC’s lengthy record of reportedly irresponsible, unsafe and unlawful contracting practices. In addition to the demonstrations, it has set up a website, featuring a full report on the contractor, http://amecuncovered.org, revealing disturbing findings about its operating procedures. One of the most troubling is its record with regards to worker safety.
As detailed in the report, “From 2009 to 2016, OSHA cited AMEC for 25 violations of federal safety standards, including 14 violations the agency classified as ‘serious.’(OSHA deems a violation ‘serious’ when it involves a hazard ‘that would most likely cause death or serious physical injury.’)” Such hazards included the collapse of a scaffold that seriously injured two workers and workers who were exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. In 2012, AMEC Carting was fined over $33K for failing to meet federal drug and alcohol testing requirements for its drivers. And in 2016, a former AMEC employee sued the company for disability discrimination, wrongful termination, and wage theft. The case was settled in 2017.
Other troubling concerns for not only workers, but the local communities at large where the contractor (and its carting company) operate, include numerous citations for failing to observe gas line safety measures, leading to the damaging of public gas lines during its work, the conducting of unpermitted work and the ignoring of stop work orders and notices of violations, and the falsifying of permits. In Norwalk, Connecticut, in 2016, highly publicized protests by a concerned citizens group, South Norwalk Citizens for Justice, and Connecticut State Rep. Bruce Morris, led to the city’s planning and zoning department filing for an injunction against AMEC after it ignored numerous cease-and-desist orders in “flagrant violation” of the city’s building code, and engaged in activities negatively impacting residential areas.
The Committee expects the protests to be ongoing and hopes the knowledge of AMEC’s track record will deter companies from hiring AMEC and exposing workers and the public to unnecessary risks.