Fifty union workers arrested after thousands of hardhats to call on NFL to ask Miami Dolphins owner to step down from the league’s Social and Racial Justice Committee
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New York, NY – Fifty union workers committing civil disobedience were arrested outside the NFL Headquarters in Manhattan after thousands of unionized construction workers held a rally on August 22, 2018 to call on the NFL to ask Steve Ross, Related Companies Chairman/Founder and owner of the Miami Dolphins, to step down from the NFL’s Social & Racial Justice Committee.
The NFL announced the Committee earlier this year as a joint player and ownership commitment focused on social justice and a part of a campaign to highlight work on social and racial equality.
Related Companies has been accused of condoning racism, sexism and union-busting at the massive Hudson Yard project, as well as other Related construction projects.
From allegations of sexual exploitation to the surveillance and outing of a formerly incarcerated African-American worker on its job site, Related has failed to address social and racial justice on its own jobsites. It is offensive that the NFL has given Related Companies’ Chairman and Founder a seat on a committee that supposedly works to address social and racial justice.
“We’re out here today because we won’t stand for the hypocrisy of having Steve Ross on the NFL’s Social and Racial Justice Committee,” said Mike Hellstrom, Assistant Business Manager of the Mason Tenders District Council and #CountMeIn Campaign Director. “Hardworking New Yorkers have seen firsthand the deplorable actions Related has allowed against minorities, women and unionized construction workers. That’s why we’re calling on the NFL to insist Ross step down from the Committee.”
“It is the responsibility of the civil rights movement and the labor community to support workers of all walks of life,” said Anthony Harmon, President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) New York Chapter. “Eric Smokes should be held as an example of how, when we work together, a successful path to the middle class can be achieved.”
“As a young woman who was subjected to constant harassment on the job, it’s insulting that the leader of the organization that has employed contractors that continue to tolerate such a toxic environment is a member of this Committee,” said Tierra Williams, a former worker on a Related site. “The NFL should call on Ross to step down immediately if it’s actually serious about making any progress on social justice issues.”
“I was fired from a Related job for circulating a petition among workers that was simply asking for more information about the benefits we were promised and entitled to,” said Darnell Thomas, a former worker on a Related site. “While the National Labor Review Board has issued a complaint and is investigating the case, this is only one of many instances when contractors hired by Related have shortchanged workers while Related looks the other way. Ross’ position on this committee spits in the face of thousands of sports fans and reflects poorly on the NFL.”
#CountMeIn is a movement of rank and file workers fighting for good wages and benefits in the face of Related’s continuous attacks on the middle class and hardworking New Yorkers. The movement has grown in direct response to the developer’s blatant disregard for workers’ rights.
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