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Build with Strength, a coalition of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association consisting of community organizations, fire service professionals, architects, engineers and industry experts committed to enacting safer and more sustainable building standards, is pleased to welcome a number of Philadelphia’s top labor unions – Local 1 (Bricklayers & Allied Crafts), Local 14 (Heat & Frost Insulators & Allied Workers), Local 19 (Sheet Metal Workers), and Teamsters Local 830 – 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: 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.

“Encouraging resiliency during the construction phase benefits Philadelphia’s communities and people,” said Dennis Pagliotti, president of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local 1. “Secure housing manifests itself in stronger families and safer neighborhoods, and we look forward to working with Build with Strength and the city to making this vision a reality.”At a time where low- to 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.

“The additions of union locals 1,13, 19, and Teamsters 830 to the coalition, demonstrate the growing agreement within Philadelphia’s labor community of the need for more secure housing,” said Kevin Lawlor, a spokesperson for Build with Strength. “We will continue to raise awareness of this important issue until local lawmakers take appropriate action.”