On Wednesday, May 6th, members of the Bronx Brigade, Local 79, and New Immigrant Community Empowerment joined together to distribute food to out of work construction workers and their families in Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Corona.
Queens immigrant workers, much like the Bronx’s working class, are affected by not just Covid-19, but a system that undervalues the very workers who keep our hospitals, grocery stores, and critical infrastructure running.\
The Covid-19 crisis has made solidarity between union and nonunion workers more important than ever. Across industries, we see workers who are afraid to go to work but do so anyways because they need to provide for themselves and their families.
As a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen so many low income families struggling to make ends meet, and unable to access food. While the pandemic triggered this visibility and vulnerability, the plight of immigrant families is not new. These workers, especially in the construction industry, are often subjected to dangerous working conditions at the hands of low road contractors. Now, while many construction workers are out of work, we see a stark disparity between the everyday conditions of union and nonunion workers.
We cannot expect change to happen for these workers without a push for citywide reforms in the construction industry. This means higher wages, stronger benefits, and safer working conditions for the immigrant workers of Queens and the struggling low income communities of color in the South Bronx. We need citywide reforms that lift up the working class, and put strong, safe careers, with good benefits, into the hands of those who keep New York City afloat.