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Ongoing Fight for Construction Worker Safety

Submitted by Vince DiDonato
Hy-Brand workers went on strike last month.

Local residents are gathering tonight to remember construction workers killed each year because of poor safety procedures. The Quad Cities Coalition for Worker Justice will hold a prayer vigil in Rock Island, to support employees of Hy-Brand Industrial Contracts. 

Spokesman for the coalition, Vince DiDonato, says Hy-Brand is a firm based in Muscatine, and owned by Brandt Construction in Milan. 
And, workers have filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, for multiple violations of federal safety regulations-- including a lack of adequate fall protection. 
He says Hy-Brand workers have done construction jobs on bridges and buildings, that stand at least 40 feet high, without adequate safety harnesses. OSHA requires safety harnesses for any job that's 6 feet above the ground or higher. And, over 300 construction workers were killed from inadequate fall protection in 2013.

 Hy-Brand employees have also issued complaints about unfair wages and health insurance plans, a lack of proper training, and verbal abuse on the job. 

Last month, Hy-Brand workers went on strike, and rallied outside of Brandt Construction Headquarters. Company executives have not yet agreed to any meetings. Brandt did not immediately respond for comment.

The Coalition for Worker Justice and Hy-Brand employees will hold a prayer vigil for fallen workers on 78th Avenue West in Rock Island, at 6 pm.