Education

LP Radio Week 2: Looming Strikes And Workers Paying The Price

October 29, 2015
By Joe Maniscalco 

Neal Tepel and Barbara Bowen take a break from this week's serious talk.

Neal Tepel and Barbara Bowen take a break from this week’s serious talk.

New York, NY – Week two of LaborPress’ all-new Radio Show/Podcast finds PSC-CUNY President Barbara Bowen in the studio for a very frank discussion about the union’s upcoming strike authorization vote and the reasons why hard-pressed educators are seriously contemplating walking off the job.

In an accompanying segment, Neal talks to JFK security officer Michael Carey direct from the field about what it’s really like being an airport worker attempting to eke out a living on little more than $10 an hour. Hard Ball Press Publisher Tim Sheard then wraps up the show’s action-packed second episode discussing his efforts helping working class writers find their voice and become published authors. 

Over the last 25 years, state funding to CUNY has dropped by 35 percent. Tuition hikes enacted during the Great Recession of 2008 were supposed to help make improvements and enhance higher education, have only ended up hurting cash-strapped students — the great majority of them young people of color working hard for their slice of the American Dream. Faculty, meanwhile, haven’t had a raise in six years and part-time adjuncts sometimes have to turn to food stamps in order to survive. Bowen says opposing a system of austerity that seeks to pay for higher education “on the cheap” is a “moral question” legislators can no longer ignore. 

“Governor Cuomo will soon have the opportunity to do the right thing,” Bowen tells Neal.

As a hopeful Caribbean emigre, Michael Carey says he never imagined that he’d one day be involved in a “minimum wage war” with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. But that’s the situation he and his fellow underpaid airport workers find themselves. For the last several years, 32BJ SEIU has been waging an all-out campaign on behalf of security officers, baggage handlers, sky caps and others, but the Port Authority is still a year past it’s own deadline for implementing a better wages and benefits package. 

In a sincere interview with Neal, the six-year airport security veteran explains just how much that struggle has already cost him and his family. 

As difficult as it is to hear stories like that, Hard Ball Press Publisher Tim Sheard is convinced that the true stories of working men and women around the country have the power to upend the system that keeps wages stagnant in the face of ever soaring productivity.  

Professionally trained as a nurse, Sheard tells Neal that writing about difficult topics gives working men and women in all sectors greater confidence in themselves to affect change, while also building greater solidarity within the organized labor movement. 

Tune into the LaborPress Radio Show/Podcast on WWRL 1600 AM this Sunday morning from 9 to 10 a.m. to hear each of these stirring and provocative interviews. 

October 29, 2015

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