Blue Collar Buzzword: ‘Solidarity’
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Blue Collar Buzzword: ‘Solidarity’

October 2, 2017

By Joe Maniscalco

New York, NY – As this week’s Blue Collar Buzz episode demonstrated, American workers may continue to be under

LaborPress publisher Neal Tepel in the studio with IBEW Local 3’s Erin Sullivan.

siege, but when we fight back, we also win. [Listen Here]

Unscrupulous employers have a myriad of ways of cheating workers, but when the good folks at Navillus Tile attempted to fleece union workers in New York out of tens of millions of dollars through the creation of a sham “alter-ego” company called ACS, a judge said, nope, you’re not going to do it.

“There is no question that the developers were well aware that what was called ACS was really a front for Navillus as the court found,” labor attorney Tom Kennedy told Blue Collar Buzz. “In fact, there were emails from several developers describing ACS as an affiliate of Navallis. At one point, there was an email saying the owner of Navillus is going to attend the next meeting to discuss the contract that was going to be given to ACS.”

The $76 million judgment rendered in the case means that vital benefit funds maintained by union workers including the Carpenters, Local 46 Iron Workers, Cement and Concrete workers and Local 780 Cement Masons, will be safeguarded even in lean times.

“And if we do experience a decline in employment in the construction area in the next year or two which most people are anticipating because of the boom years we’ve gone through, this money will be very important to maintaining the stability of those funds and allowing them to continue to keep in place the benefits that are so important to these union members,” Kennedy added.

The recent deaths of two New York City construction workers had IBEW Local 3 member and mentor Erin Sullivan thinking about the families they left behind — and how union solidarity means all the difference in the world.

“I cant’ help but think about the [non-union construction worker killed recently] — is his family even going to have enough  money to burry him; and how divided we get in society over whether they’re union or not union — it’s life,” Sullivan told Blue Collar Buzz. “Every worker should have the right to work with dignity and die with dignity and be buried with dignity.”

Employees of SS Steiner in Yakima, Washington last week traveled clear across the country to fight for their collective

Neal with labor attorney Tom Kennedy.

bargaining rights after Steiner bosses tried to end worker access to arbitration proceedings.

But union workers aren’t having it — even if they have to go toe-to-toe with the corporate elite.

“Corporate America has got more control with the political shift — so, therefore, they’re going to try to capitalize on that,” IBT Local 760 Business Representative Bob Koerner told LaborPress. “They want to capitalize on that and put more money back in their pocket by attacking the working man and woman out there working for a living.”

When NFL players recently decided to take a page out of former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick’s playbook, and stage workplace protests against institutionalized racism and police violence, some attempted to vilify them.

But as WINS National Correspondent Doug Cunningham accurately pointed out, “You don’t have real freedom unless you can exercise it.”

“The NFL’s Players association is in rock solid solidarity with these players that have been exercising their first amendment rights,” Cunningham said. “I know that’s been controversial among the fans, but one thing that I think Is very imprint here and everybody has to keep focus on — there is no disrespect being shown to the flag or to the National Anthem by these players taking a knee and using the Bill of Rights. That’s what the flag is all about. That’s what being free in America is all about.”

LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” airs every Sunday night from 9 to 10 p.m. on AM970TheAnswer. Listen online at LaborPress.org, or check out the library of past episodes at  www.am970theanswer.com.

October 2, 2017

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