Times Union: LETTERS: ‘Critical protection from Scaffold Law’

The results of a Freedom of Information Law request on a much-criticized study on the Scaffold Law authored by SUNY’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government directly contradict the institute’s public statement to Gannett defending its work in April. The biggest lie was when they said: “The funder did not attempt to influence the development of the research design, collection or analysis of data at any time during the study.”

As Casey Seiler reported (“Did editing taint report?” July 23), the Lawsuit Reform Alliance held biweekly conference calls to discuss
direct the research and sent numerous comments and edits — some large and some small — to the researchers throughout the process.

Rockefeller’s lie and the failure to disclose everything required by the FOIL request — particularly, drafts of the report that were sent back and forth between researchers and Tom Stebbins, the Alliance’s leader — suggest that there’s even more bias and undue influence that’s yet to be revealed.

If the Alliance’s case were really so strong, would its director really need to be that involved with the researchers? Probably not.

The truth is the Scaffold Law remains a critical worker safety protection for people doing dangerous construction work, particularly Latino and immigrant workers without union protection. And it’s made New York construction sites among the nation’s safest by providing a powerful incentive for property owners and general contractors to follow the law and keep workers safe.

Those funding and directing this bogus research are misleading the public, looking to put industry profits ahead of worker safety.

Charlene
 Obernauer
Executive director, New York Committee for 
Occupational Safety and Health
New York City

Click here to read the letter in the Albany Times-Union.