by Ryan Eick, Staff Writer
Cries of “justice plus dignity equals equality” rang down Fifth Avenue today, as a union staged a sit-in with local community leaders.
A coalition that calls itself Stand Up for Worker Justice blocked the sidewalk in front of the Empire State Building, blaring biblical messages on megaphones and singing songs of civil disobedience. The cause: security worker compensation and benefits.
Security workers at the Empire State building are currently paid $9 per hour without health benefits or state-of-the-art training, according to Daniel Massey, a communications coordinator for the Service Employees’ International Union. These employees are charged with the safety of the 350,000 people who access the skyscraper daily.
During the transit strike, defenders of the TWU when asked why the union was striking while other municipal unions did not strike even as negotiations dragged on for years, fell back on one defense - that the TWU had a policy of no contract - no work. Now even at the time, this was a pretty weak argument for so called progressives to make - "tradition requires a strike". But now, as we are in the 5th month of no contact, I'm wondering what happened to no work? Even the anti-Toussaint militants aren't demanding an immediate strike . Has this important policy gone the way of the token?
It is surprising to me that this story has not really taken on more life. State Senator Ada Smith was censured by the Senate and has lost those coveted "perks" that she had as a person in the Senate leadership.
The interesting part involves the Queens County Organization and its minions. For so long, they have supported Smith and her antics, and have turned a deaf ear to those who were crying for change. It begs the question - where is Denny Farrell, Thomas Manton, Gregory Meeks, Floyd Flake, the labor community and others?
Could it be that those involved enjoy having her around, or simply, they could care less about the community and progressive, sane leadership?