NYC Firefighter Safety First – Labor Unrest in Tennessee

Few possess the resolve to go into a burning building. NY City Firefighters regularly make that exact decision. UFA President Steve Cassidy explains the trials and tribulations trainees must endure before they can call themselves firefighters. Next we turn to red state Tennessee, where workers have long struggled for their basic rights. Two labor conflicts highlight that the battles in Tennessee are crucial for workers everywhere.

Firefighters Prove their Mettle

Cassidy FirefighterLast year was one of the 10 worst years for the number of fires in NYC. That number does not show signs of improving. Steve Cassidy, the President of the Uniformed Firefighter Association, tells us what the UFA is doing to ensure that all firefighters are physically capable of responding to fires wherever they may arise. Cassidy assures us that the union is not standing in the way of NYC Fire Departments efforts to diversify, so long as new recruits maintain training standards. He’s been suggesting better ways of recruiting for the last ten years. His innovative ideas have fallen on deaf ears, and that explains some of the legal conundrums facing the department today.

 Labor Movements in Tennessee Challenge Anti-Labor Policies

Tennessee factoryWith a hostile legislature producing policies that are pushing Tennessee to remain a “low-wage state,” unions are facing attacks on all fronts. First, we hear from Local BCTGM Union President, Kevin Bradshaw about  the three month long lock out at Kellogg’s Memphis factory. These brave workers  holding the line to make sure that local unions cannot be targeted in contract disputes when a company decides it wants to renege on a national agreement. Then, Ed Hunter, an assembly line workers and UAW member from the Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen factory, describes, notwithstanding an employer neutral to a UAW organizing drive,  local and state Tennessee politicians have threatened to pull back economic incentives and tax abatements if Volkswagen permits the establishment of the union. Really!  Hunter describes the climate around the elections and how the workers are responding to overt threats from politicians. Hint: the workers aren’t knuckling under the bullying.

Related Content:

1) UAW Mobilizes for future of American Car Manufacturing: President Bob King describes how the UAW is reaching out to factories in the South

2) Labor In the Movies Brothers on the Line Reveals how the UAW developed against union busting tactics and the role it played in the Civil Rights movement

3) Statement from UAW on election results

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