Blue Collar Buzz, Law and Politics

This Week’s Buzz: Justice for Joe Hill; What’s Up With Neoliberal Labor?

September 14, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco

New York, NY – On this week’s episode of LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” airing Sunday night at 9 p.m. on AM970 The Answer, we’re looking back at the life of legendary IWW martyr Joe Hill and the new efforts to exonerate him 100 years after his execution. We’ll also talk about the rise of neoliberalism inside the Labor Movement today, and why it’s the wrong move for workers. Next, it’s stirring voices from the instructor lockout at Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus, as well as this year’s Labor Day Parade. 

Chances are very good that if you’ve ever been to a labor action in this town or anyplace else across the country — you’ve heard the songs of Joe Hill. Some of the most the most popular artists in the recording industry have covered his songs. Hill was executed by firing squad a century ago, in a controversial murder case that shook the nation. 

A Hundred years later, there is a new petition at that is seeking to exonerate Hill in the deaths of John G. Morrison and his teenage son. On this week’s episode of “Blue Collar Buzz” we’re talking with podcaster Matthew Billy, author of that new petition.

“Blue Collar Buzz” is also welcomes back Unite Here organizer Andrew Tillett-Saks who, along with Warren Heyman, international vp, Unite Here, has a new article out called “Labor’s Neoliberal Caucus,” which is critical of a group of labor unions that, despite Hillary Clinton’s long track record of anti-worker corporatism — immediately threw their sizable support behind the former first lady’s presidential run.  

“There has always been this friction in the Labor Movement between a more radical contingent who really pushes workers to fight against corporations and fight the capitalist system — and there’s been a more conservative leadership contingent who says, maybe we can collaborate with corporations,” Tillett-Saks says. “This is not a new problem — but there is a modern wave that is intensifying.”

Conditions at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University are also intensifying this week. And on the next episode of LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz” we’ll hear AFT and NYSUT presidents Randi Weingarten and Karen Magee lambast the head of the university for locking out teachers. We’ll also hear directly from students who are furious about “scab” instructors with zero qualifications being brought in to conduct classes.

“This is not right because the tuition here is very high,” says sophomore Virginia Rodriguez. “It makes me wan to drop out and go to another school,” 

Finally, we’ll bring you a taste of this year’s gala Labor Day Parade with on-the-spot interviews with both labor leaders and members of the rank and file alike, who talk about what being in a union means to them. 

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

September 13, 2016

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