April 14, 2016
New York, NY – Who will be better for working men and women – Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton? On the second week of LaborPress' "Blue Collar Buzz" airing this Sunday night at 9 p.m. on AM970, we're talking presidential politics with both AFT President Randi Weingarten and Murphy Institute Lecturer Ed Ott.
We're also taking a surprising look at an innovative labor initiative in Port Chester that is quietly helping to rewrite the rules of organizing, as well as wrapping up the show with what the International Brotherhood of Teamsters charging "fear mongering" around the Indian Point nuclear power station.
With only days remaining before Democratic Primary voters go to the polls, New York State has, indeed, become a "battleground" for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. The surging Sanders campaign is confident that they will rack up yet another primary victory if voters turn out in large numbers on April 19. While the Clinton camp is betting that its well-established "getting things done" narrative is still durable enough to carry the day.
So far, Clinton's shifting support for widely despised free trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership have helped undermine the former secretary of state's once perceived "inevitability." But on this episode of "Blue Collar Buzz,” Weingarten argues that Hillary does have a good record of getting things done, and that there is even "a lot of historical evidence that she opposed NAFTA."
Sentiments "on the street” might not bode well for the former secretary of state, however. This week TWU Local 100 – the union representing NYC Transit workers boldly endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. According to Ott, working people in New York are tired of "taking it in the neck" and are now clamoring for the kind of worker-centric agenda that the Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders is championing. Already, Ott says "The Democratic Party will never be the same again."
In Upstate, New York, the partnership between the Communication Workers of America and the Don Bosco Center continues to improve the lives of immigrant workers with the help of organized labor. In the last 10 years, the innovative partnership has made great strides battling wage theft with its popular "No Pay, No Way" campaign. In doing so, the seeds of unionism are also being sown.
And finally, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently took aim at maintenance inside the Indian Point nuclear power station, raising the hackles the union representing workers at the plant in the process. Cuomo's criticism follows the report of a leak at the plant back in February, which Al Liberatore, business agent, IBT Local 456, says was "minimal." On this week's show, Liberatore equates Indian Point criticism to "fear mongering," and argues that the plant remains safe and clean, with more than 1,0000 jobs depending on its continued operation.