December 15, 2014
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – If Mayor Bill de Blasio and other supporters of the horse carriage ban in the city council didn’t already get the message that organized labor stands steadfast against efforts to kill the Central Park horse carriage industry, a new New York State AFL-CIO resolution recently passed by the federation’s executive council should do the trick.
“At a time of wage stagnation and an economy that replaces good jobs with those that confine workers to poverty, it’s shocking that the city would even consider destroying the horse carriage industry,” Mario Cilento, president of the NYS AFL-CIO said in a statement. “These are good, middle-class jobs that have allowed hardworking New Yorkers and their families to thrive. We should be doing more to create family-sustaining jobs – not annihilating an entire industry that provides them.”
The NYS AFL-CIO action announced on December 12, means that the 2.5 million member group, working in conjunction with the New York City Central Labor Council, has now launched an all-out, coordinated effort to counter the horse carriage ban now before the city council.
Last week, at a pro-horse carriage rally on the steps of City Hall, Assemblyman David Weprin [D-24th District] urged the mayor to invite visiting Prince William and Princess Kate of Great Britain on a horse carriage ride – and announced his intention to soon reintroduce a bill aimed at stymying the proposed ban and preserving the Central Park horse carriage industry as it now stands.
“It’s a tremendous industry,” the assemblyman and former councilman from Queens said. “It’s thriving in Paris, Toronto and even London. I Will do everything in my power in Albany to prevent the shutdown of this tremendous industry.”
Fellow Queens Assemblyman Michael DenDekker [D-34th District], has also come out strongly against the proposed horse carriage ban.
The Central Park horse carriage industry supports some 300 middle class jobs, and is an integral part of New York City tourism.
George Miranda, president of Teamsters Joint Council 16, lamented that workers are facing the holiday season with the cold threat of being put out of work soon. If passed, the ban would wipe out the horse carriage industry by 2016.
"There is nothing worse than going into the holiday season with your job on the line,” Miranda said in a statement. “The carriage drivers haven't done anything wrong, but will lose everything if their jobs are banned. Through the New York State AFL-CIO, the labor movement speaks with one voice. We thank New York's unions for standing with these families.”
NYC’s horse carriage fight has also reached the federal level. Both Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney [D-12th District] and Joe Crowley [14th District], have called for compromises that would allow the Central Park horse carriage industry to continue.