BCB This Week: Democratic Dilemma; Opioids; and Construction Safety
Blue Collar Buzz, Features, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, New York

BCB This Week: Democratic Dilemma; Opioids; and Construction Safety

November 6, 2017

By Joe Maniscalco

The latest episode of LaborPress’ Blue Collar Buzz is a must listen for anyone observing the disintegration of the Democratic Party

Council Member Carlos Menchaca.

and yearning to understand what the heck is happening to the DNC.

As “Listen Liberal” Thomas Franks tells LaborPress, “[In 1992, Bill Clinton] becomes president; he gets NAFTA done; he gets a lot of other things done that, frankly, shafts working-class people — and then gets reelected. And because he gets elected, everybody in Democrat-land said, ‘Ah-ha, he’s got the right answer. This is the way to go — and they’ve never looked back since that day.”

The Democratic Party’s abandonment of the working class has left organized labor feeling “trapped,” while fed up rank and file members look for change.

Says Frank, “It sometimes looks like the only option for [working people] is to support Republicans as well — but that’s really not much of an option because Republicans want Labor to die. It doesn’t do any good to help those guys.”

While worker safety advocates laud the passage of Intro. 1447 — also known as the Construction Safety bill — Blue Collar Buzz asks Council Member and co-sponsor Carlos Menchaca what really went into the crafting of the bill, and whether or not it will be effective.

“REBNY kicked and screamed — but that was not going to deter us [in pushing the Construction Safety bill],” the council member says this week. “We invited them to the conversation. We never pushed them out, they were part of the table. They can advocate for what they want — and that’s greed, many times. They can do that — but they will not deter us from doing the right thing at the end of the day. And here’s a law now, that they’re going to have to follow.”

Will Intro. 1447 really put a stop to the march of construction worker deaths — 40-some construction worker deaths since 2015?

*We have not regulated this industry in this kind of way in the history of this industry,” Council Member Menchaca says. “We have set a kind of standard that’s beyond OSHA 10 for buildings above 10-stories.”

In addition to [or as a result of] our many other ills — the nation finds itself in the grips of a profound opioid epidemic, and the working class, again, is under siege.

“What people don’t realize is that the opioid epidemic, this year, is in its tenth anniversary, Teamster Center Services’ Andy Johnson tells Blue Collar Buzz. “It’s been going on that long. It is not going away. it is not getting easier. More and more people are getting their hands on opioids or other drugs, and those other drugs are leading them to heroin.”

Johnson further explains the risks to working men and women this way, “A lot of time, in any trade, you will have someone who gets injured on the job, they go and see a doctor and they go out on Workers’ Comp. So, they’re home with lots of time and a bunch of meds that the doctor prescribed…You see overdoses skyrocketing by 200-percent in three years. You see deaths skyrocketing by 300-percent in five years.”

Listen to the full episode here.

LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” airs every Sunday night from 9 to 10 p.m. on AM970 The Answer. Listen online at LaborPress.org, or check out the library of past episodes at www.am970theanswer.com.

November 6, 2017

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