January 28, 2015
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – Councilman Daniel Dromm [D-25th District] has a demonstrated record of standing up for workers facing the axe – so, why is the Queens legislator pushing so hard to throw 300 people in the horse carriage industry out of work?
“It’s always been my hope, in terms of the legislation itself, that we would be able to offer the workers alternatives,” Councilman Dromm told LaborPress this week. “I know that was initially rejected by the carriage drivers, but I’m still hopeful that we can work something out for them.”
Councilman Dromm introduced the highly-charged proposal to ban New York City’s horse carriage industry back in December, along with fellow Democratic Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez [D-10th District].
At the time, Councilman Dromm indicated that the bill banning the horse carriage industry would be passed this spring. Hundreds will be put out of work if the ban ultimately carries the day.
However, it was a seemingly very different Councilman Dromm who aggressively confronted threatening Trade Fair managers bent on terminating about 100 meat department workers in March, 2013.
Back then, Councilman Dromm said that he would not tolerate “the further abuse of these workers by the owner [Frank Jaber].”
“I will use every legal resource that I have available to make sure these workers’ rights and benefits are protected,” Councilman Dromm declared.
New York City horse carriage drivers have roundly rejected a scheme to trade in their animals for antique electric cars, or hack licenses.
Councilman Dromm, however, said that antique electric cars were never part of the original bill to ban the horse carriage industry.
“Electric cars are not part of the original law,” Councilman Dromm said. “We talked about other means of employment, but nothing specific to the antique cars.”
According to the Queens councilman, his plan is still “going to work out,” and horse carriage drivers who now adamantly refuse to swap their animals, will, in fact, accept alternative forms of employment.
“I’ve spoken to the drivers on a one-on-one basis, and making sure that they are able to make a life for themselves and support their families is an important issue to me as well,” Councilman Dromm said. “I hope that they will be open to other options – and some of the guys I’ve talked to have told me differently.”
The union representing New York City’s horse carriage drivers isn’t buying any of it.
"Central Park's carriage drivers love working with horses,” Alex Moore, communications director, Teamsters Joint Council 16, said in an e-mail. “They have no interest in taking a job from a taxi driver. We were not consulted on this idea and neither was the taxi drivers union.”