ABC News published an important article today highlighting the sharp rise in immigrant worker deaths on construction sites in the New York City area. This problem, which I addressed in a prior post recently, is reaching epidemic proportions.
As detailed in the article, just the other day a Ukrainian immigrant was decapitated after plunging 42 stories while working on a construction site on a Donald Trump Hotel in lower Manhattan. Under the current New York Workers’ Compensation law, the most his widow and children can collect for his death is $500 per week, plus payment of only $6000 toward his funeral bill.
I told the reporter the story of one of my clients (an undocumented worker) who was severely injured last November when a brick wall fell on him while working on a construction site in Queens. Despite multiple surgeries and being an inpatient at Jamaica Hospital for over a week, he still has not received his first workers’ compensation check. This is not unusual in cases where unscrupulous employers are paying immigrant workers "off-the-books" and not reporting their wages to the workers’ compensation insurance company to save on premiums. Workers’ compensation lawyers like myself see sad cases like these every day.
Thanks to Susan Donaldson James and ABC News for reporting on this growing tragedy. Unfortunately, in the current political climate, it is questionable whether the federal government has any desire to address the safety of undocumented workers on construction sites???