Laborers Rally to End Body Shop Exploitation
On Wednesday, members of Laborers Local 79 gathered with supporters and elected officials for a rally at 28th Street and 11th Avenue to fight back against body shops, which prey on people returning home from incarceration and leverage workers' parole mandates of maintaining employment as a condition of their release. These body shops take advantage of the scarcity of job opportunities available to formerly incarcerated New Yorkers, who are told that in order to survive life after prison, they must accept dangerous, low-wage construction jobs.
“Body shops are slave labor, and cheap labor. When I was in prison I was getting cents for working hours. Body shops are no different,” said Raymond Watts, Local 79 member and former body shop worker at the rally.
New York City must regulate and license body shops to stop the exploitation of formerly incarcerated workers. Laborers Local 79 and the Mason Tenders’ District Council have launched Laborers Fight Back to address the rampant exploitation of justice affected laborers in the New York City construction industry. Click here to learn more, and check out more photos from this week's rally here.