Three More Philly Labor Groups Commit to Stronger Building Codes –

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Cement Masons’ Local 592, Iron Workers Local 405, and the Philadelphia Metal Trades Council join growing coalition of civic and labor organizations committed to stronger communities.

Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of civic organizations, fire service professionals, architects, engineers and industry experts committed to enacting safer and more sustainable building standards, is pleased to welcome three of Philadelphia’s top labor unions –– Local 592 (Cement Masons), Local 405 (Iron Workers), and the Philadelphia Metal Trades Council – as new members of the coalition.  The community labor organizations join a growing list of advocates that are working to ensure that the most vulnerable residents in cities such as Philadelphia have access to safe and secure housing.

In addition to the newest members, the coalition includes: Local 1 (Bricklayers & Allied Crafts); Local 14 (Heat & Frost Insulators & Allied Workers); Local 19 (Sheet Metal Workers); Teamsters Local 830; The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; Philadelphia Fire Department Foundation, Citizens for Fire Prevention Committee; Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; Derek Sawyer, former Philadelphia Fire Commissioner; and James Connell, a board member of the Philadelphia Fire Department Foundation.

“Build with Strength’s commitment to establishing a secure Philadelphia aligns with our goals,” says Ed Penna, President of Iron Workers Local 405. “Strong, durable housing built on the backs and with the sweat of our workers, who call Philadelphia home, will go a long way in making our city’s streets stand tall for generations.”

At a time where mid-rise housing developments have been increasingly the site of large, spectacular fires, Build with Strength has stepped up efforts to mitigate the dangers of fire for communities across the country. In reviewing current building and fire safety codes, the coalition is working to identify areas in need of improvement, particularly in updating building codes by including the use of non-combustible materials to minimize the risk of fires.

As the nation’s urban population centers become more crowded, the demand for housing is continuing to grow.  In order to safeguard these communities, Build with Strength is working to ensure the safety of new buildings, particularly those intended for communities at risk such as low- and moderate-income residents.

“There’s a growing consensus amongst Philadelphia’s labor community that constructing more resilient housing is not only good for their fellow Philadelphians, but it’s good for business,” says Kevin Lawlor, spokesperson for Build with Strength. “Making building and fire safety a core tenet of the construction process would go a long way in ensuring Philadelphia’s long-term prosperity. We look forward to working with developers, lawmakers and stakeholders to make this a reality.”

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