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August 12, 2020|

LiUNA-NY Endorses Longtime Labor Advocate Rebecca Lamorte


Construction Union Representing 40,000 Workers Statewide Makes Early Endorsement in 2021 Council Race

As Millions Of New Yorkers Face Economic Uncertainty And A Divisive Political Discourse, LIUNA-NY Hails Rebecca Lamorte As The Candidate To Fight For Their Future

New York, NY- LIUNA-NY offered their enthusiastic endorsement of Laborers Local 79 member Rebecca Lamorte today for New York City Council in Manhattan’s 5th District, covering the Upper East Side, East Harlem, Midtown East, Roosevelt Island and Murray Hill. The influential labor union says Rebecca fiercely and passionately fights for New York City’s working men and women, including the members of the Laborers throughout New York State, which wholly demonstrates her deep commitment to the individuals she represents. The union also cites that Rebecca’s tireless advocacy for the Construction Safety Act, as well critical prevailing wage legislation at both the City and State levels makes Rebecca the clear and only choice for Council District 5.

“I’m deeply honored and humbled to have the support of LIUNA-NY,” said Rebecca Lamorte, candidate for New York City Council, 5th District. “This endorsement is extremely personal for me because these are not just the hardworking people I fight for every day – as a proud member of Laborers Local 79, this is my union family, my brothers and sisters that I stand shoulder to shoulder with in the fight to protect New York City’s workers. Be it wages and safe working conditions or predatory development and flawed procurement that hurts workers and our community, we have countless opportunities to protect and uplift local workers. I’m ready to be their voice and look forward to representing my union family and neighbors at City Hall.”

“Since joining our team, Rebecca Lamorte has proven herself to be a tireless advocate for our members and their families,” said Robert Bonanza, business manager of the 17,000 member Mason Tenders District Council. “I am confident that as a City Councilmember, Rebecca will continue to bring the same enthusiasm, commitment and honest, hard work ethic to New York City government, as she confronts the many challenges our City faces. All New Yorkers will be well served with Rebecca Lamorte as their representative and advocate.”

“From the moment Rebecca announced she was running, she had our full and unwavering support,” said John Hutchings, New York State Laborers Director of Political Action and Organizing. “As a staffer at GNY LECET (Greater New York Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust), Rebecca has been a tireless fighter for our membership, taking on the forces of unchecked greed and unscrupulous employers with tenacity and skill. I know she will bring that same passion to serve the people of the 5th Council District.”

“I’ve known Rebecca Lamorte as a friend, ally and colleague for the better part of a decade,” said Mike McGuire, Director of the Mason Tenders District Council Political Action Committee. “Throughout her experience as a member of her Community Board to her advocacy on political and issue oriented campaigns, she has proven to be a hard worker and is dedicated to bettering the lives of all working New Yorkers. For those reasons, the Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York & Long Island Political Action Committee is happy to endorse her in her run for New York City’s 5th Council District.”

Representing over 40,000 union construction workers throughout New York State and 25,000 in New York City proper, LIUNA-NY includes the powerful Mason Tenders’ District Council of Greater New York and workers on some of the City’s most important and prominent construction projects.

Rebecca Lamorte launched her campaign last year, focusing on supporting accessibility, affordability and economic equality for New York City workers.

Richard Weiss, 917-560-0046,


July 30, 2020|

Attorney General James Delivers $1.5 Million to Survivors of Sexual Harassment and Retaliation in Construction Industry

18 Former Employees, Mostly Women of Color, Experienced Sexual Harassment by Trade Off Employees and Managers

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that 18 former employees who experienced sexual harassment and workplace retaliation at a Long Island-based construction company were awarded $1.5 million. The agreement also establishes a fund for other workers who also experienced sexual harassment at the company. An investigation into Trade Off, LLC and Trade Off Plus, LLC (collectively “Trade Off”) revealed a pattern of severe sexual harassment against female employees over the course of at least four years and retaliation against many of these workers when they complained about the harassment.

This marks the Office of Attorney General’s (OAG) first agreement regarding sexual harassment in the construction industry, which has a purported history of sexual misconduct and gender discrimination in its workforce.

“All employees deserve to work in an environment where they are valued and respected, and not subjected to harassment,” said Attorney General James. “Today’s agreement will end Trade Off’s deplorable and unlawful treatment of its female employees and provide affirmative relief to the brave women who came forward. My office remains committed to seeking justice on behalf of workers and mandating accountability on the part of employers. Sexual harassment will never be tolerated, not in construction and not in any other industry.”

The OAG’s investigation found that Trade Off, a company that provides non-union, general labor at construction sites, engaged in severe sexual harassment and retaliation against workers who were primarily women of color. Interviews conducted with witnesses and reviews of substantial documentary evidence revealed that at least sixteen women were harassed because of Trade Off’s failure to prevent or adequately respond to sexual harassment at its worksites. Additionally, at least twelve workers were fired after they complained of harassment against themselves or their coworkers.

Female employees reported quid-pro-quo harassment by managers demanding sex for pay and overtime opportunities, physical, and verbal harassment by male employees, and sexually explicit photos and videos sent by managers and other workers. Additionally, Trade Off managers failed to take adequate action in response to complaints, and in fact repeatedly protected harassers from punishment.

In addition to the monetary compensation, as part of the agreement, Trade Off agreed to employ an outside monitor for three years, and will create a new, more complete sexual harassment policy subject to review by OAG, and report regularly to the OAG regarding its implementation of policies and investigation of any future sexual harassment complaints.

“It’s important for me to be able to speak out and shine a light on the harassment that women in the construction industry encounter on a daily basis,” said Jaleesa McCrimmon, a former employee of Trade Off. “No one should be harassed and mistreated for trying to do their jobs. I thank Attorney General Letitia James and her team for understanding that, and for fighting hard to make a difference.”

“What I and other former employees of Trade Off went through speaks to the often sexist and abusive nature of the construction business,” said Tierra Williams, a former employee of Trade Off. “No industry should promote behavior that serves to demean  women. I’m hopeful that this settlement puts every company like Trade Off on notice, and inspires women in the workplace to stand up against injustice. Thank you to Attorney General Letitia James for taking on this issue.”

This matter was initially referred to OAG by the Mason Tenders District Council/Laborers Local 79.

“We commend the Attorney General’s leadership in fighting back against harassment and retaliation in construction,” said Robert Bonanza, Business Manager for Mason Tenders’ District Council of Greater New York and Long Island. “Most importantly, we thank the former employees of Trade Off for their courage in coming forward to expose the horrific treatment they experienced while on the job. Attorney General James and these brave former employees have sent their message loud and clear: Sexual harassment in the construction industry is pervasive, but the state of New York will always be on the side of the workers.”

This case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Michael O’Keefe Cowles and Jessica Agarwal under the supervision of Labor Bureau Civil Enforcement Section Chief Ming-Qi Chu, Deputy Bureau Chief Julie Ulmet, and Chief Karen Cacace. The Labor Bureau is part of the Division of Social Justice, led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux, under the oversight of First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.

July 13, 2020|

Severe Sexual Harassment Found on NYC Jobsites

A construction firm in New York City will pay a USD $1.5 million settlement and undergo three years of outside monitoring following the State Attorney General’s investigation of sexual harassment complaints. Trade Off Construction Services agreed to the conditions related to Attorney General Letitia James’ findings that 18 women had been subjected to a toxic and discriminatory work environment created by both coworkers and company management.

The determined “pattern of severe sexual harassment” over a four-year period included verbal and sexual harassment, failure to discipline perpetrators of belittling behaviour and demand for sexual acts in return for overtime and increased pay opportunities. At least 12 of the women were fired after they reported and condemned the abusive treatment.

“The agreement will end Trade Off’s deplorable and unlawful treatment of its female employees and provide affirmative relief to the brave women who came forward,” James says.

The company will also be required to report to James regularly on the progress it is making in fortifying and implementing policies and procedures to combat sexual harassment, including documented proof of its investigations into future sexual harassment complaints. Along with the USD $1.5 million compensation for the 18 women specifically involved in the agreement, the company will establish a fund for other workers who have experienced sexual harassment while in Trade Off’s employ.

“We thank the former employees of Trade Off for their courage in coming forward to expose the horrific treatment they experienced while on the job,” says Robert Bonanza, business manager for the labour local, Mason Tenders’ District Council of Greater New York and Long Island, which referred the issue to the Attorney General. “Attorney General James and these brave former employees have sent their message loud and clear: Sexual harassment in the construction industry is pervasive, but the state of New York will always be on the side of the workers.”

Article originally posted on the REMI Network.

July 12, 2020|

The 2019 Labor Power 100

City & State recognizes the most noteworthy figures on the front lines in New York.
Robert Bonanza, Michael Hellstrom & Michael McGuire
Business Manager; Assistant Business Manager; PAC director
Mason Tenders’ District Council of Greater New York and Long Island

Robert Bonanza has served as the Mason Tenders’ business manager since 2004, protecting the interests of construction workers, hazardous waste handlers and high school teachers. He’s relied on his invaluable aide Michael McGuire in building the union into a powerhouse. And last year, Michael Hellstrom took on an expanded role, and has been an advocate for expanding the definition of public works to ensure projects like Hudson Yards pay workers higher wages.

See the full list on City & State.

September 1, 2019|
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