South Philadelphia Construction Workers Removed From Casino Site Due To Health Concerns

Construction in Philadelphia was deemed non-essential to work during the coronavirus pandemic unless a waiver was obtained.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has some very stringent rules and regulations when it comes to safety issues concerning employees. Now more than ever, CDC watchdogs are out in full force around the country, looking for violations of all kinds.

The New Live Hotel & Casino is currently under construction in South Philadelphia. A work crew showed up on Monday morning as scheduled. As Pennsylvania is facing new coronavirus cases, and health care workers are inflicted with the virus and succumbing to it, a full crew was on the job site.

The casino is being built at 900 Packer Ave. in South Philadelphia. The construction crew returned to the site after being off for two full weeks after a co-worker tested positive for the virus. The construction crew is with a union that has its own set of concerns for the welfare and safety of its workers.

The union believes that working conditions are not safe enough now, and there are grave concerns. The workers themselves said they were very happy to return to the site and be working.

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Union Has Its Concerns

The President of the Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, Gary Masino, wrote a letter outlining his concern for the workers who are building the new casino. According to Masino, union members are on 19 different job sites in Philadelphia, including the casino site at 900 Packer Ave.

Masino says that the work crew are not adhering to the rules set forward by the CDC, put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Masino understands the employees want to be able to work and be able to earn an income.

But Masino, in no uncertain terms, pointed out that “a check won’t help you if you die of the virus.” Masino said after inspections at the 19 sites in Pennsylvania, several were in compliance with CDC regulations, but the casino site isn’t.

Philadelphia casino construction
The CDC has found multiple construction sites in violation of safety regulations.

It is for that reason that the work crew was pulled from the site. Masino pointed out two other prominent worksites that are in violation of the CDC rules, including a police administration building on North Broad Street.

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The Philadelphia Art Museum expansion is also in violation of the CDC rules. The casino is being built by Cordish Company and promises to have state-of-the-art features. No statements were issued by Cordish regarding the health safety violations.

Member Of Crew Had Virus In March

A foreman at the casino construction site, who wanted to remain anonymous, verified that one of the workers tested positive for the virus in March. All the workers that showed up at the job site this week took a coronavirus test, and all tested negative.

The foreman said that the workers were all practicing social distancing as much as possible on a construction site. One man came down with the virus in early March, and the job site closed down for 15 days. Workers were told to put themselves in self-isolation for two weeks.

The construction industry in the state was dealt two significant blows by the mayor and the governor. The sites were told they had a week to make them safe and in compliance with the CDC mandates.

Then, Governor Tom Wolf said all non-essential construction had to stop immediately. Some businesses can receive a waiver from the order from the Community & Economic Development Office in Philadelphia.

The department has been authorized to grant waivers, and it was revealed on Wednesday that the casino site did receive a waiver. That was great news for the construction crew until they were told that there are CDC concerns of safety violations at the site.

A few of the construction workers expressed frustration on Wednesday, saying, “This whole thing has been a nightmare; at least if we can work every day, it’s not as bad, it gives us a routine and something to feel hopeful about.”

There is no word on whether the crew will be allowed to return to the site again.

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