A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

When Will Occupy Wall Street Protesters Show Up at Your Job Site?

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters have set up their makeshift camp in Zuccotti  Park in New York in the shadows of the construction of the new World Trade Center Towers.  We find it interesting that while there is a growing shortage of skilled craftspeople in the USA who could work on building projects like the World Trade Center Towers, there is a growing number of people who are protesting their “lack of jobs and the greed of the capitalists” in the streets with the “Occupy” movement.  Is there a connection between what's happening in Zuccotti Park and the construction industry?  Yes.

Many of the protesters in Zuccotti Park appear to be able-bodied.  Are they interested in learning the trade so they can work in construction or other trades, or are they more compelled to join the mob on the street and hold signs like “people before profits”, “stop corporate greed”, “this is real” and many other themes and grievances?  Their words seem authentic and real to them, though how the OWS movement is organized behind the scenes may be something different.

We assume the construction at the World Trade Center is union, since this is New York!  We have been told and have seen in other locations around the country that the unions are big supporters of the “Occupy” movement.  That connection might vaccinate some union projects against the protestors, but I wonder when we will see signs declaring that those who build new buildings for the Wall Streeters are part of the greed?  What about those contractors who do not pay overtime or provide benefits for their workforce?  What about those contractors who hire hourly or 1099 subcontractors or those who use labor brokers?  What about those sites where contractors hire undocumented workers?  How long will it be before the “Occupy” movement shows up to protest your site with signs decrying your greed and unethical labor practices?

No matter how “Occupy” is characterized politically by the right or by the left, many protesters in the movement are getting their points heard.  They have a long list of grievances including no available jobs, payroll fraud, wage theft, no benefits, and greed.  Would addressing these issues help the construction industry find qualified workers and solve the critical shortages we are projecting for the near future?  Construction Citizen and those socially responsible contractors and subcontractors around the country are working to address those grievances.

However, those contractors who are not acting in a sustainable and socially responsible manner toward their workers and subcontractors can expect the “Occupy Your Site” protestors to pay them a visit, maybe tomorrow.

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