This week’s episode of LaborPress’ Blue Collar Buzz joins Robert Grey, chair of the Workers Compensation Alliance, in looking at
big business’ latest attempts to chisel injured workers out of vital benefits. We also talk with Mary Fogarty, CEO of Local Link Wellness about the lifelines being offered workers grappling with substance abuse. On hand, as well, is Stockton Steel’s Corporate Safety Manager Tom Davies and IW District Representative Erik Schmidli to talk about the labor-management alliance that has produced over 4 million hours of safety at their plant. Finally, we also talk to All American Clothing’s BJ Nichols about a good place to buy American-made gifts for the holidays.
*Robert Grey, chair, Workers Compensation Alliance
“We see this sort of assault every single year. And every 10 years, it seems, you have sort of the 17-year locusts…where you really get significant push from the business council to really take the a bite out of benefits. We had that battle in 1996, we had that battle in 2007, and right on schedule in 2017, we’re in a huge battle to protect benefits.”
“This time, what the business council is saying is that people that have on-the-job injuries and have permanent damage, permanent loss of their use of their arms or their legs, or their hands or their feet, should get nothing for those injuries.”
*Mary Fogerty, CEO, Local Link Wellness
“In regard to workplace injury, workplace stress, and all the things that come along with being in the heavy construction industry, we realized that every once in awhile, people have struggles with opioid abuse. Their families members, [too] with the opioid crisis. We have many, many family members now suffering from dependency — especially on Long Island.”
“The state has taken steps to limit the amount of the prescriptions days someone can have. They’ve taken steps to make sure people can’t do what is called, ‘doctor shopping.’ What we’ve done with Local Link Wellness is to try to get into the apprentice schools and do training. Local 46 and 197, in particular, have taken steps to train their apprentices in overall wellness.”
*BJ Nichols, AllAmericanClothing
“It takes that little bit of searching to find American made. Most of the big box stores don’t have it, the margins aren’t there for them and most of them are there to please their stockholders. They’re not there to support American Jobs. That’s why 98-percent of the clothing sold in America today is foreign made.”
“We source our product from 20-plus different states here in the United States — from the buttons, zippers, denim and cotton — across the whole supply chain, we’re getting stuff and supporting communities across 20-plus states.
*IW District Representative Erik Schmidli.
“In the end you have to respect each other. “In a the shop atmosphere with a lot of grinding, lots of little things can be flying around, it’s important to keep those safety glasses on.”
*Stockton Steel Corporate Safety Manager Tom Davies
“We were having a lot of injuries that were really about people not paying to each other and helping their brother ironworker in the shop. We had worked hard on getting all the physical hazards corrected…but we were missing the component of a culture of safety.”
LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” airs every Sunday night on AM970 The Answer from 9 to 10 p.m. Listen to the latest episode at laborpress.org or check out the entire Blue Collar Buzz library at www.am970theanswer.com.