Blue Collar Buzz, Municipal Government

LP’s ‘Blue Collar Buzz’ Tackles Worker Safety & More!

May 12, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco

Stu Salles, Bill Hohlfeld and Neal Tepel invite you to tune into AM970 this Sunday at 9 p.m.

Stu Salles, Bill Hohlfeld and Neal Tepel invite you to tune into AM970 this Sunday at 9 p.m.

New York, NY – This week’s episode of LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” airing Sunday evening at 9 p.m. with hosts Neal Tepel and Bill Hohlfeld on AM970 The Answer, has a lot to do with courage in the workplace — courage to stick to one’s convictions, and courage to put worker safety above lesser concerns. 

The Working Families Party has certainly shown its courage this election cycle by backing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to the hilt. Those in organized labor supporting rival Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House have made their displeasure clear. But an undaunted and unapologetic WFP Director Bill Lipton says that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is “The game-changer” in this election and that the role of the Working Families Party is to be with "The “game-changer.”

The WFP began modestly in 1998 as a check against the rightward drift that was creeping over New York politics at the time. And the highly influential political group is not about to back up now. Especially not when their support of Bernie Sanders’ call for universal health care has helped push Hillary Clinton into talking about healthcare reform and the once-jettisoned  public option.

LECET Executive Director Pat Purcell, meanwhile, would like to see more courage out of the New York City Council. On this week’s episode of LaborPress' “Blue Collar Buzz,” Purcell says that the City Council has spent too much time dithering over divisive issues involving horse carriages and plastic bags when members should have been trying to protect an increasing number of workers in different industries who are dying on the job. 

“You can get minimum wage, paid sick leave — but none of that helps you if you don’t go home at the end of the day,” Purcell tells the BCB team. 

The Managerial Employees Association [MEA] hasn’t sued the city in a couple of decades. But the group had the courage to do so  last Friday in an effort to challenge the way the current administration is attempting fund Paid Parental Leave. 

Stu Salles, attorney for the plaintiffs gives high marks to Mayor de Blasio and his team for having the courage to both institute Paid Parental Leave in the first place, and “cleaning up”  the mountain of open contracts left behind by the previous administration. That said, Salles and the MEA is now calling on Mayor de Blasio to explore other funding options that do not involve scrapping a promised pay raise for city managers and trimming two vacation days from senior staffers. 

“The city should say, ‘Let’s take a deep breath,’ rework the numbers, show different ways where nobody gets hurt,” Salles says. “The MEA has always had good a relationship with the city — they are not happy about brining the lawsuit.”

Finally, LaborPress’ BCB team talks about the courage the New York State Nurses Association is presently exhibiting leading the fight to bring the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act to the floor of the New York State Assembly for a vote, as well as the International Association of Machinists And Aerospace Workers District 15 and its bold move in creating the Independent Drivers Guild for Uber drivers. Last but not least, Bill Hohlfeld also continues his Labor History Minute by returning to the Haymarket Riot of 1886. 

Tune into LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” this Sunday evening from 9 to 10 p.m. on AM970 The Answer for all this and more. Or download this and every other episode of LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” on demand at

May 12, 2016

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