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This Week's Blue Collar Buzz: Resisting Profits Over People

July 18, 2017
By Joe Maniscalco

John Samuelsen with Neal and Bill.

New York, NY - This Sunday night’s episode of LaborPress’ Blue Collar Buzz provided further proof that the American worker is, indeed, under siege and the target of a pernicious and sustained campaign to destroy good middle class jobs in the name of private profit. 

Workers at the Clare Rose beer distributor on Long Island recently won a huge victory in that ongoing battle when they forced a greedy company to settle a contract after staging a powerful 82-day strike that benefttted mightily from strong community support. 

Fellow Teamsters working for another business with outlets on Long Island, Westchester and New York City, however, are still struggling to maintain their jobs after Waldner’s Business Environments decided to “shut down” IBT Local 814 and simple hire a whole new set of employees. 

“This is a precedent-setting fight,” IBT LOCAL 814 President Jason Ide told Blue Collar Buzz.  "[Waldner’s] is actually not saying that we’re locked out. The company’s official position is that we’ve been 'shut down.' The company is saying, well, the company is not shut down — we’re just shutting down the Teamsters.”

The overall chutzpah involved in attempting such a brazen move is truly something to behold. But, sadly, par for the course when it comes to the lengths profit-mad businesses will go to bleed employees dry.

“We filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board, saying that this is illegal,” Ide continued. [But] if they get away with this — I don’t know…will there be hospitals that shut down their nursing units and then bring in sub-contractors? Will there be factories that just shut down the production line? This is not outsourcing to China — this is insourcing.”

Last year, voter frustration turned Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ unlikely presidential run into one of the most exciting and hopeful campaigns in decades. It’s also the inspiration behind Rev. Khader El-Yateem’s run for New York City Council in the 43rd District. 

The first Palestinian-American to ever run for a NYC Council City told Blue Collar Buzz that he wants to bring true Progressive, pro-union values to city government. 

“We are going to fight for workers,” the Bay Ridge activist and clergyman said. “Our city grants a lot of contracts to developers and we need to make sure our union workers are given the first priority with these contracts."  

While Local 814 fights big business’ latest attempts to squeeze workers and Rev. El-Yateem campaigns for economic and social justice, NYSUT is fighting hard to maintain New York State’s world-class teaching standards in the face of charter school industry efforts to — presto  —produce classroom instructors with as little as 30-hours of training. 

NYSUT President Andrew Pallotta told Blue Collar Buzz that what charter school advocates are pushing on students is “shameful.” 

““The charter industry — and the strength behind them, the money that they have — is now not just raising how many charter schools there are in the state, but raising their own class of teachers,” Pallotta said. “They’re making a group of educators that would not be as qualified, or standing up to the strong standards, of traditional public schools.”

Sounds like a great win for kids, doesn’t it? 

Somehow, with all the money flowing into MTA coffers, the riding public still finds itself facing ongoing delays underground and subway cars that just can’t seem to stay on the tracks. 

After years of divestment in the system, TWU International President John Samuelsen told Blue Collar Buzz that “the chickens have come home to roost.” 

“Even though [Governor Cuomo] has put another billion dollars into the system and has absolutely made it the biggest capital plan in terms of projects that are scheduled to be done —it’s still not enough,” the TWU leader said. 

LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” airs every Sunday night on AM970 The Answer from 9 to 10 p.m. This week’s episode, as well as every other episode of LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” is also available on demand at www.am970theanswer.com.

 

 

 

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