Climbing the Ladder: Roadblocks Faced by Immigrants in the New York City Construction Industry

Climbing the Ladder: Roadblocks Faced by Immigrants in the New York City Construction Industry

Event Date and Time May 23, 2022 2:00 pm
Event Ends May 23, 2022 3:15 pm
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On Monday, May 23rd  the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) hosted a webinar and discussion of the CMS report, Climbing the Ladder: Roadblocks Faced by Immigrants in the New York City Construction Industry by Jacquelyn Pavilon and Vicky Virgin. 

The report is based on CMS research that examined immigrants’ essential role in the construction industry in New York City, their vulnerability to exploitation and dangerous conditions, and the discrimination and disadvantages they face due to their immigration status. For this report, the CMS research team interviewed immigrant construction workers from several different countries and other experts in this industry, including business representatives, union organizers, and representatives of community-based organizations. With research assistance from the New York-based consulting firm Locker Associates, Inc., CMS analyzed these interviews, together with several other data sources, to examine how construction workers in New York City find employment, their work arrangements, and barriers and conditions that endanger their health, safety, and economic well-being.

The report found that between 2015 and 2019, 41 percent of foreign-born construction workers in New York City were undocumented; unionized foreign-born construction workers in New York State earn 64 percent more than their nonunionized foreign-born counterparts; and undocumented and foreign workers with limited English proficiency are more likely to work in construction occupations with higher fatality rates.

CMS Executive Director, Donald Kerwin moderated the discussion. The report’s co-authors, Jacquelyn Pavilon and Vicky Virgin, shared key findings and policy recommendations.

The webinar also included guest remarks from the following construction industry experts:

  • Claudia Henriquez, Director of Litigation in Office of Labor Policy and Standards at the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (NYC DCWP)
  • Yesenia Mata, Executive Director of La Colmena
  • Jeff Hermanson, Director of Organizing at Solidarity Center