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This Week's Buzz: Construction Site Safety in the Balance; Fired Up Nurses And More!

February 8, 2017
By Joe Maniscalco

Bill and Neal with James Mahoney.

New York, New York - On this week’s episode of LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” airing Sunday night at 9 p.m. on AM970, James Mahoney, president, New York State District Council of Ironworkers, pushes back against opponents of the new Construction Safety Act; Ellen Smith, president, Northeast Nurses Association, denounces Donald Trump’s leaked executive order threatening the health of the LGBTQ community; Assemblymember Walter Mosley gives his take on the new 421a tax abatement plan; and Sal Armao, CPA, Armao LLP, talks about the tax pitfalls facing labor unions this year. 

Critics hoping to sink the new Construction Safety Act pending before the New York City Council are attempting to argue that bills introduced in response to the deaths of some 30 workers over the last 24 months, really won’t make worksites safer, and will somehow limit opportunity for minority workers. 

But Mahoney tells “Blue Collar Buzz” that those critics are flat out wrong on both counts. 

“When they say we [labor unions] are not safer, they are wrong,” Mahoney says. “That’s a lie.” 

Of the 30 fatalities recorded on construction sites throughout the city over the last two years — 27 of them have occurred on non-union jobs. 

Mahoney further argues that the Building Trades are “as diverse as any industry in the city,” and that more union jobs will mean “more opportunity for minority workers” to become union members.

“And that should be everybody’s goal,” the Ironworkers leader says. 

When copies of an executive order potentially codifying discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community seeking healthcare under the guise of “religious freedom" were leaked last week, the Northeast Nurses Association [NENA] and the New York Professional Nurses Union [NYPNU], immediately stepped up in opposition. 

“The nurses association will fight back in every way,” Smith tells “Blue Collar Buzz.” “We need to protect every women in America against [Donald] Trump.”

Already, Smith says that patients are “afraid of losing their care" and she fears that "it's going to get even worse." 

After a long tug-o-war between the Building Trades and the powerful Real Estate Board of New York, the New York State Legislature finally has a successor to the old 421a tax incentive program to consider. Assemblymember Walter Mosley [D-57th District], however, sees problems with the deal revolving around issues of true affordability.  

“It’s good for the individuals that were at the table,” the lawmaker says. “But who wasn’t at the table? We understand it’s just a proposal for us. It’s not a done deal.” 

With tax season once again looming on the horizon, labor unions are grappling with perennial issues pertaining to things like reimbursed employee expenses, shop steward dues and lots more. On this week’s episode of LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz,” Armao provides comprehensive tips on how to correctly navigate all the regulations. 

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.

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