Friday, January 10, 2014

Teamster horse carriage drivers carry on the fight for their jobs

Teamsters -- and horses -- have been doing this for a loooong time. 
New York City's new mayor Bill deBlasio may have stepped in it with his crusade to eliminate the good Teamster jobs of horse-carriage drivers.

Irish actor Liam Neeson, a friend of some of the carriage drivers, called right-wing New York Daily News columnist Andrea Peyser to make a case for keeping their jobs:
The 61-year-old heartthrob interrupted his hectic A-list acting schedule to call me Thursday night, alarmed by de Blasio’s treachery. 
“It’s criminal!’’ cried Liam. “This is an iconic, historic part of New York. 
“The horses are incredibly well-treated. They’re regulated up the wazoo. They get five weeks’ holiday every year.’’ (How many people get that much down time?) “Tourists love them.” 
He speculated that efforts to ban the carriage trade resulted from a land grab by greedy developers eager to get hold of horse stables on Manhattan’s West Side: 
“I think it’s about real estate. I’m not the kind of person to use my celebrity’’ to promote causes, he said. But, ‘‘the horses are happy.
Our Teamster brothers and sisters -- members of Local 553 -- are not happy with deBlasio's proposal. Brother Steve Malone explained to msnbc how the mayor's proposal to replace the hoses with replica antique cars won't fly:
...each carriage driver with a medallion would have the option to operate one of the cars–but with a catch: the 68 drivers who own a medallion to operate a carriage have already purchased them, but they would have to buy a new medallion to run an electric car. 
According to Stephen Malone, spokesman for the Horse Carriage, that could cost up to $175,000. The medallion he uses for his horse and carriage has been in his family since his father began driving in 1964.   
“They are going to saddle me with an unfounded, untested business and stick me with the debt for it,” Malone told msnbc.  
You can help our equestrian brothers and sisters in New York by clicking here.