On this 4th of July show we focus on two forces that strengthen the U.S.- new Americans and unions. Our show is always about what makes the the U.S. strong but while we’re all having a great summer weekend, it’s important to remember what it is really about. Victor Salazar and Asim Akhtar, members of the outreach team at the New York Taxi Workers Alliance discuss some recent battles the organization is fighting: the dismantling of their disability fund and the increasing threat transportation apps like Uber and Lyft have on yellow cab taxi drivers. David Dyssegard Kallick, a senior fellow at the Fiscal Policy Institute and director of its Immigrant Research Initiative discusses his new report, New Americans on Long Island- A Vital Fifth of the Economy.
New York Taxi Drivers’ Uphill Battle
The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a trailblazing organization which was the first union of non traditional workers since Caesar Chavez organized California farmworkers and the first ever organization of independent contractors, have had a difficult past month. First their historic health care and disability fund which they won in 2012 was struck down1 and now they are fighting efforts in Albany that favor TNC’s like Uber and Lyft. You might like the convenience and price points of their rides but you should keep in mind that they not only pose a threat to full time union workers but are also exploiting their own drivers.
New Americans in the Long Island Economy
We all know that new Americans are a major constituency of Long Island but this new report from the Fiscal Policy Institute emphasizes what a vital part of the workforce and economy they are. In doing so, it also dispels harmful and inaccurate stereotypes and fears around immigrants in Long Island and brings more nuance to the conversation. Kallick lays out in great detail the different ethnicities that make up the immigrant population and looks at the different ways in which they contribute to the economy.