Jobs with Justice Protests Workers’ Rights Abuses on Superstorm Sandy Fire Island Job Site, DOL Investigates

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Fire Island, NY—Long Island Jobs with Justice joined Assemblyman Phil Ramos, Parish Outreach Center at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church in Brentwood, and community members from Make the Road New York, in supporting workers from Superstorm Sandy who have experienced a wide array of workers’ rights abuses on their job site. Workers were tasked with cleaning up 9,000 tons of debris on Fire Island in preparation for warmer weather.

The contractor, Environmental Chemical Corporation was awarded $10.1 million dollars by FEMA, and they hired two subcontractors: DS3 and the Coastal Environmental Group.

The main contractor, the Environmental Chemical Corporation out of California has been doing environmental cleanup for 20 years, but they have had a number of lawsuits against them, culminating in their company being investigated by the F.B.I. and other federal agencies for its billing practices during Hurricane Katrina.[1] Workers on Long Island have had similar problems, being underpaid for hours worked, or being paid with checks that bounced, or being forced to sign an employment agreement without a specified wage amount.

Long Island Jobs with Justice organized a press conference outside of the Coastal Environmental Group in Central Islip (covered by News 12 and Newsday) on Tuesday, and on Wednesday the Department of Labor began a full investigation of the job site. We will continue to monitor the situation on this job site and ensure that workers are being paid for the hours they work, but this points to a much bigger problem: the exploitation of disaster recovery workers.

Sandy-Group Photo

Long Island Jobs with Justice is a member of the Downstate Alliance for a Just Rebuilding, which brings together labor unions, workers centers and community, faith-based, environmental justice and policy organizations to address immediate relief and long-term rebuilding issues in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. View our goals and mission statement online here:

Alliance for a Just Rebuilding-Long Island

[1] Mattera, Phillip. “Profiles of 12 Companies That Have Received Large Contracts… Related to Hurricane Katrina.” N.p., Mar. 2006.

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