Labor leaders, construction workers and some Metro Nashville council members called for better labor conditions in the city’s booming construction industry Tuesday.

They presented the results of a survey conducted by a coalition of unions and related organizations throughout the Southern United States.

Construction workers in major cities complained of dangerous job sites, wage theft and other adverse working conditions in the survey of 1,435 workers. As construction across all major sectors climbed in recent years, builders and contractors have struggled to fill positions with skilled workers, leading to a distressed labor market, researchers found.

Nashville workers reported high rates of injuries

Nashville stood out for its high rate of reported injuries and widespread use of temporary staffing agencies, two issues that researchers say are intertwined.

“It’s not right. The very people building the luxury condos have to work dangerous conditions and struggle to get by,” said Jackie Cornejo from the Partnership for Working Families, a California-based group. She spoke at a news conference in downtown Nashville, near a high-rise construction site.

The rate of injuries reported by Nashville workers in the previous year was the highest among the six cities surveyed. Nearly 1 in 4 Nashville workers had experienced a workplace injury at some point in their career, compared with 1 in 7 for the entire population of surveyed workers.

One Nashville rebar worker was struck on the head by a metal jack that fell more than two stories, according to his account in the report.

How are temp agencies related to workplace injuries?

Temporary construction workers in particular are more likely to be injured, the study’s authors said, because of…