MTA is provoking LIRR Strike – Outsourcing School Lunches

The Long Island Economy is to a significant degree dependent on the LIRR. The MTA’s disingenuous bargaining tactics are driving the unions towards a LIRR strike. Anthony Simon, General Chair of SMART, the largest LIRR union, is a lead negotiator. He explains the MTA’s ploy to demonize the workers as the parties responsible for the strike, to turn public opinion against them. Listen and find out why we are being pushed into such a precarious situation. LI edition: Nick Lamonte, regional director for Long Island CSEA, tells us about the latest attempts to outsource school cafeteria workers. By the way, the district won’t save any money. Worse yet, it’s happening in the school district where Nick lives. To say he is incensed is an understatement.  NYC edition: With all of the noise from the Tea Party it would seem that the Republican party is staunchly anti-immigration Not so, at all. Bob Quasius, the  founder of “Café Con Leche Republicans,” he explains the real stance of most mainstream  Republicans on Immigration reform.

Anthony Simon discusses Labor’s Stance on Possible LIRR strike.

Anthony Simon re Possible LIRR strikeOnce again we see contract negotiations reaching the point of brinkmanship with the needs of working class people being disregarded.  LIRR workers have been without a contract since 2010. Outraged workers unanimously voted a strike authorization in February. A federally imposed cooling off period is starting to wind down, yet there  seems to be little movement agreement being reached between the MTA and LIRR workers. This could mean a LIRR strike as early as July 20th. Anthony Simon, is the General Chair of SMART, the largest of the six LIRR unions. He also is the chief negotiator for the six unions. He describes the average work-day of a LIRR worker to show how physically, mentally and technically challenging the work can be. For example, conductors duties and qualifications go well beyond “ticket punching.” Against this backdrop, Simon relates what negotiating with the MTA has been like. He argues that it’s the MTA that’s pushing for the LIRR strike to happen by waging a public relations war to turn public sympathies against the work-force, primarily by spreading mis-information. In fact, LIRR workers have been ready to accept the “compromise” agreement proposed by two separate federally appointed mediation panels, yet the MTA continues to refuse to compromise.

LI edition: Outsourcing School Lunches

CSEA LI Nick LaMorteOur public schools are increasingly moving towards outsourcing of certain functions, even as more and more privatized schools show serious financial struggles resulting from such arrangements. A public school district in Suffolk could be the latest test subject of corporate America to subtly privatize public schools by outsourcing it’s school lunch providers. Nick Lamorte, the Long Island Regional Director for the CSEA, tells us how the superintendent in his own school district is trying to sneak in a decision to eliminate the jobs of cafeteria works, perhaps auctioning off the nutritional health of children at to the lowest bidder. Yet, it turns out that this move will actually cost more than it saves. What gives?

NYC edition: Republican Stance on Immigration Reform

Cafe Con Leche RepublicansThere is much venom and angst in discussions about immigration reform. Many of these extremely polarized discussions occur within the Republican Party. Outsiders likely believe Republicans are extremely anti-immigrant and anti-reform and that Democrats are the only advocates for immigration reform. This is hardly true. Indeed, the Republican Party is quite divided on immigration reform, but you rarely hear the voices of those Republicans who are advocating for it. And make no mistake, more mainstream Republicans support comprehensive immigration reform, such as the bill passed in the US Senate, but stalled in the House.  Chris Perez speaks with Bob Quasius, founder of “Café Con Leche GOP.” an organization that works within the Republican Party to develop Latino leaders. It also advocates for comprehensive immigration reform. Quasius explains why many Republicans, typified by the American Chamber of Commerce, are strongly in favor of immigration reform. He argues that all the anti-immigrant spin and vitriol is little more than a tactic emanating from anti-immigrant groups who are trying to manipulate both Republicans and Democrats.

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