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Carpenters Union endorses Eric Gonzalez for Brooklyn District Attorney

Gonzalez Promises to Hold Developers Accountable for Dangerous Conditions

June 29, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez (center) stands next to Steve McInnis (far right) in front of members of the NYC District Council of Carpenters union on Thursday as he pledged to hold real estate developers accountable for safe construction sites. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez held a press conference in Cadman Plaza Park in Downtown Brooklyn on Thursday where members of the NYC District Council of Carpenters officially endorsed his campaign and he promised to keep them safe.

“Too often it is considered the cost of doing business when workers get hurt or lose their lives,” Gonzalez said while standing in front of a group of 15 construction workers and union representatives. “I’m going to hold people accountable and make sure that real estate people knows that they can’t risk people’s lives.”

The NYC District Council of Carpenters represents 25,000 members of the nine local unions with more than 2,500 members living in Brooklyn. On Thursday, union President Steve McInnis and NYC & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters representative Ruben Colon were on hand to show support for Gonzalez.

“We commend [Eric Gonzalez’s] tireless advocacy and commitment to the continued protection of workers in Brooklyn,” McInnis said. “Eric’s dedication to the issues affecting the labor community are laudable and we are ready to work with him to end the exploitation of construction workers in the borough.”

Just last month, Gonzalez indicted Michael Weiss, a 47-year-old developer from Williamsburg, for allegedly maintaining an unsafe construction site that lead to the death of 18-year-old Fernando Vanegaz at a site in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

“One of the things that you might not think the Brooklyn DA’s Office is responsible for is this sort of labor safety and making sure that workers are treated right,” Gonzalez said.

“No one should lose their lives at a worksite because someone wants to make a few extra dollars by taking shortcuts on safety,” Gonzalez continued. “Exploiting workers and not paying wages and stealing overtime are basic fundamental rights that the DA will stand by.”

Gonzalez pointed out that his predecessor, the late DA Ken Thompson, initially started the labor unit at the Brooklyn DA’s Office. He explained that he has advocated for more money from the city in order to expand that unit.

Gonzalez also said that he plans to work closely with the Department of Buildings and the Department of Investigation, as well as union leaders, to try to avoid dangerous construction sites that can lead to accidents, injuries and death.

“It’s important that people know that when a construction accident happens that it won’t be swept under the rug,” Gonzalez said. “My office and other agencies will investigate and people will be held accountable.”

Gonzalez has gotten the most major endorsements of any of the candidates for district attorney in Brooklyn. In addition to NYC District Council of Carpenters’ endorsement, his endorsements include Public Advocate Letitia James, 1199SEIU, the Working Families Party, the Vanguard Independent Democratic Association, the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, 32BJ Service Employees, International Union, the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, the United Federation of Teachers, DC9 IUPAT, The Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union and the Transport Workers Union.

“I’m very proud to stand by this endorsement,” Gonzalez said. “It means a lot to me because my family came from a working-class background and we built ourselves up due to unions.

We have a lot of building yet to be done, but we have to make sure that workers are treated the right way.”


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