Sept 8, 2014
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – Bill de Blasio says he wants to take away their jobs, but that didn’t stop the “Tale of Two Cities” mayor from marching in the same procession with Central park horse carriage drivers in this year’s Labor Day Parade – and that was just fine with the Teamsters from Local 553.
“He’s marching with our people,” said Stephen Malone, spokesperson for the Horse Carriage Association of New York. “This is our house now. And as long as he’s marching with us, he’s not marching against us.”
Fellow horse carriage driver Christina Hansen, originally from Lexington, Kentucky, welcomed the mayor to the parade and reminded him that the horse is the “heart of the Teamsters Union.”
“They said that in a resolution back in 1916,” Hansen said. “We have every right to be here, and if the mayor wants to join us in supporting labor, then we’re all for it.”
The latest poll from Quinnipiac University Poll found that over 60 percent of New Yorkers think that the horse carriage drivers should keep their jobs.
But just a few days prior to this year’s Labor Day Parade along 5th Avenue, the mayor was still insisting that the public will soon change its mind and back a ban.
Malone, however, says that the Central Park horse carriage drivers are only gaining more support the longer the controversy between the mayor and the industry drags on.
“People are beginning to actually see and realize what’s going on here,” Malone said just before joining this year’s Labor Day Parade. “We feel very confident [that we’ll win].”
Although the mayor promised to ban New York City’s lucrative horse carriage industry, the City Council has yet to move ahead with legislation.
Back in March, the New York City Central Labor Council – the union umbrella group that sponsored of the 2014 Labor Day Parade – called on Mayor de Blasio to abandon his push for a horse carriage ban.
The mayor led this year’s procession along with a cadre of other elected officials, and reportedly did not have the opportunity to cross paths with Malone and Hansen who waited to enter the parade route at West 46th Street with Malone’s lead draft horse “Tyson.”