Blue Collar Buzz, Law and Politics

Blue Collar Buzz Talks Labor’s ‘Stockholm Syndrome’

August 12, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco 

BCB Hosts Neal Tepel and Bill Hohlfeld with Andrew Tillett-Saks.

BCB Hosts Neal Tepel and Bill Hohlfeld with Andrew Tillett-Saks.

New York, NY – “Stockholm Syndrome” is the very disturbing psychological phenomenon where victims come to bond with their abusers over time — and according to Andrew Tillett-Saks, an organizer with Unite Here Local 217, it’s a great way to describe Labor’s dysfunctional relationship with Democratic Party elites who continually come up short for American working men and women. 

On this week’s episode of LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” airing Sunday night at 9 p.m. on AM970, we’re not only talking about that, we’re also talking about the potential of creating tens of thousands of good manufacturing jobs right here in the United States. We’re also checking in with Bronxville hospital workers who have hit the picket line in a hard-pressed fight for parity and pensions. 

This year, organized labor unquestionably had, in Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the most progressive, pro-worker presidential candidate in more than a generation. Unequivocally against the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, resolutely supportive of a nationwide $15 an hour minimum wage, and consistently trouncing Donald J. Trump in all the polls — the tough-talking Brooklyn product spent part of the primary season here in NYC walking with striking Verizon workers and rallying with TWU Local 100 transit employees. 

None of that seemed to matter, however, as a majority of the most powerful labor unions in the country lined up early behind Hillary Clinton way before the first primary votes ever started coming in. In the view of Tillett-Saks, that was, and remains, a huge blunder. 

“The entire mainstream strand of the Democratic Party is generally anti-union, and yet unions continue to support them and they have for years,” he says.

So, why didn’t the labor movement in toto back Bernie Sanders’ historic presidential run this year? 

“That’s the question the article strives to answer,” Tillett-Saks says. “It’s why didn’t they support Bernie Sanders, and why do they never stray from these roughly anti-union Democrats? And what I argue is that there are two main reasons — and they’re both nonsense. They’re both misguided.”

According to Tillett-Saks, too many labor leaders are just convinced that nothing better is even possible. 

“The second thing that unions do, is that they cut deals with these generally anti-union politicians who go to the table with them and have a tete-e-tete. They say, ‘If you give us this for our union, we’ll ignore your general anti-worker record and politics,’” Tillett-Saks adds. “That’s also misguided.” 

Jobs to Move America's Alaa Milbes and Malika Conner with Neal and Bill.

Jobs to Move America’s Alaa Milbes and Malika Conner with Neal and Bill.

What is definitely not misguided, is the effort to create in excess of 30,000 family supporting jobs right here in the U.S. using the $5.4 billion we spends each year buying trains and buses.

A group called Jobs to Move America is now leading a campaign to push companies receiving American tax dollars to create new manufacturing jobs within the U.S. 

“We’re talking about longterm jobs and a longterm commitment,” says Alaa Milbes, senior communications specialist, Jobs to Move America. 

Staffers at New York Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, meanwhile, are finding that their own jobs are becoming increasingly unsustainable. The medical center recently joined the sprawling New York Presbyterian Hospital system — but Bronxville staffers have not gotten the 3.5 percent raise and pension benefits that others in the same network presently enjoy. 

NY Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital employees Andra Prince and Diana Marsh-Foster tell LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” that co-workers are laboring in a state of fear. 

“How can the hospital be comfortable with people who are suffering and afraid to retire,” “Marsh-Foster says. 

NY Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital workers says they will return to the picket line outside the Bronxville facility located at 55 Palmer Avenue on August 31. 

LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” airs every Sunday night on AM970 The Answer from 9 to 10 p.m. This week’s episode, as well as every other episode of LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” is also available on demand at www.am970theanswer.com.

 

August 11, 2016