Monday, January 13, 2014

Teamster horse carriage drivers take their case to the public

Our brothers and sister Teamsters who drive horse carriages through New York City's Central Park are fighting hard to keep their livelihoods. The city's new mayor, Bill deBlasio, wants to ban the horse carriages because -- he says -- they're inhumane.

First of all, the horses are contented and well-cared for.

Second of all, what's humane about depriving 130 people of their livelihoods?

The drivers are taking their case to the public, demonstrating how well they treat the horses. They're also suggesting the real reason for the proposed ban is a key deBlasio supporter is a real estate developer with an eye on the horses' stables.

People are paying attention.

Most recently, the Wall Street Journal, of all newspapers, puts the carriage drivers' plight into perspective, pointing out their transition to new careers would be difficult. Career counselors suggested they could go into sales, or become hotel concierges.
The city has its own plan for the drivers, of course. A proposal kicking around City Hall would have operators trading their carriage medallions for permits to drive antique replica cars around the park. 
The response? Scorn and derision. "It's ridiculous," said driver Ian McKeever, watching a crowd of girls crowding around Molly, his patient Percheron. "These kids can't pet a mechanical car or give it carrots. The horse and carriage are like the gondolas in Venice."