January 7, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – On this week’s edition of the LaborPress Radio Show/Podcast we look into the pending Elevator Safety Bill which, if passed, could vastly improve training and advert several of the deadly accidents that have taken place in recent months. We also delve deep into the so-called “share economy” and what Uber’s economic model really means for workers actually trying to earn a living here in NYC, and elsewhere.
First up, we have IUEC Local 1’s Mike Halpin and Mark Gregorio, president of TEI, the largest company installing and repairing elevators in the city.
The average elevator in this town makes 500 trips daily. Gotham has some of the oldest and most diverse elevators in existence. Things have to be done right at the outset and carefully maintained throughout the life of the machinery. No less than 35 states around the county require specialized licensing to work on elevators — astoundingly, New York does not.
“It’s a crapshoot whether or not the mechanic that services your elevator was trained,” Halpin tells us this week. “To leave the elevator-riding public's safety to the untrained is ludicrous.”
Local 1 apprentices go through a four-year apprentice program that schools them across the vast spectrum of elevators now in operation across the city — from those that are 75 years-old or more, to others that represent state-of-the-art technology.
As gruesome elevator fatalities continue to shock the public, Gregorio explains why training is absolutely essential.
“Elevators are a critical lifeline for any building,” he says. “We do this through the union, but not everyone does.”
As we see it this week’s episode — you need a license to cut hair in this town, but not to work on elevators.
Equally troublesome to workers is the emergence of the “share economy” that trumpets convenience and more jobs, while it hides a darker reality.
Jim Conigliaro, Jr., District 15 IAM general counsel and assisting business manager, tells LaborPress this week that app-based ride sharing companies like Uber and its ilk are actually trying to redefine the definition of a job in this country.
Conigliaro defines a job as something that allows men and women to earn a decent living with fair wages, health care and a pension.
Uber, however, is rapidly envisioning a world where everyone is considered part-timers and independent contractors not covered by traditional labor protections.
On this week’s show, we specifically talk about Uber’s impact on NYC’s Black Car industry, and labor's efforts to organize in the face of the company’s continued incursion on city streets.
Tune into the LaborPress Radio Show/Podcast this Sunday at Noon on WWRL 1600 A.M. And check out www.lainvasora1600.com for previous episodes with lots more labor-based talk.