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Laborers' Protests Lead to Possible Crackdown on NYC "Body Shops"

Council member Diana Ayala (iStock, City Council)

Ongoing protests by Laborers Local 79 may have helped secure a victory in the battle to put an end to the practice of using "body shops" for cheap construction labor. A bill is expected to be introduced by City Council member Diana Ayala that would expand oversight in the hiring of workers through labor brokers in the New York City area. The Laborers allege that parolees in need of work are unjustly affected by this practice to which, Ayala agreed.

"Construction body shops provide developers with a cheap labor pool, made up of black and brown justice-affected nonunion workers,” Ayala said in a statement. “Body shops take advantage of the scarcity of employment opportunities for re-entry workers, and effectively force these workers into dangerous jobs, with no training, for low pay. They prey on the fears of resentencing.”

Last month, in a hearing in front of the Committee on Consumer Affairs, Union members recounted to Ayala and other council members stories of what working for companies that are considered "body shops" entailed.

They described low pay and shoddy working conditions as well as bosses who used the threat of reincarceration as a means of control.

Read the full story on The Real Deal

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