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This video talks about the construction of New York's skyscrapers such as the Chrysler Building and Empire State by the 'roughnecks', a specialized set of construction workers who worked high in the clouds for 8-hours at a stretch without bathroom breaks and deftly catching hot rivets.

But according to the Smithsonian video, two out of five of the roughnecks fell to their deaths or ended up disabled. Did such hazardous working conditions cause any instances of strikes or revolts from the workers? Were there any attempts to unionize and lobby for better working conditions?

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    Do you have a source for the 40% figure? – Semaphore Mar 18 '18 at 23:22
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    forconstructionpros.com/blogs/construction-toolbox/blog/… Says the Chrysler Building had zero construction worker deaths and Empire State 5 out of 3,400 workers. Panama canal, though, had 408.12 deaths per 1,000 workers. – Lars Bosteen Mar 19 '18 at 0:07
  • The video itself is the source. Edited to reflect it. – gpavanb Mar 19 '18 at 1:34
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    Most workers on the Panama canal died of disease, so it isn't that analogous. – Gort the Robot Mar 19 '18 at 2:19
  • 408 per 1000 on Panama canal is a bad number, although 30K dead is about right, the actual number of employees that worked on the canal ranged from 15K or so during the French era, to about 50K during the American era, with very high turnover rates. There was likely something like 200K plus people that worked on the canal at one time or the other not something like 70K like this death rate implies. – Jon Mar 22 '18 at 9:40

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