The Future of New York City Labor

Monday, February 02, 2009

Mike Fishman, president of 32BJ Service Employees International Union, representing more than 100,000 property service workers, and Stanley Aronowitz, distinguished professor of sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and the author of Against Schooling: For an Education That Matters (Paradigm Publishers, 2008), talk about organized labor and New York City's economy -- past and future.


Stanley Aronowitz and Mike Fishman

Comments [24]

andy from New York

Ironic that Stan Aronowitz, once again, legitimately defends workers and their interests, while he plays dirty in his own backyard. The former director of Left Forum has claimed unpaid back-pay going back close to a year. Aronowitz, a board member, is now behaving like the worst of corporate management by stalling, throwing slander, and refusing to pay. Amazing how easy it is to espouse the correct line, how difficult it is to live it.

Feb. 03 2009 04:30 PM
Mimi from Atlanta, Listening Online

19] mc from Brooklyn I am going to use your point in any ant-uniom bashing discussion. If it wasn't for the union, there will not be any protection for the users from workplace abuses. I think it's a win-win for the employees and employers because it reduces an employer's liability risk.

Feb. 03 2009 10:55 AM
M. from NYC

Apparently Anarchism might be the way to go. We do need to remember that Fear was the great Motivator for the 1930s, the New Deal. Fear of an angry mass coming at them. Apparently they started to think that there would be no consequences. Better to see a Wall Street CEO twisting slowly, slowly in the winds that blow of the Battery than another press conference.

Old thought: If I can't have Respect, I'll take Fear. Let them fear us, because they certainly don't respect us.

Feb. 02 2009 03:02 PM
hjs from 11211

Jay F. 14
we can't protest?
what kind of america would u like to live in?

Feb. 02 2009 12:53 PM
B. from Manhattan

"... His ideas are anarchistic... " Did you consult a dictionary first, or just lead with a lack of comprehension.

If the corporate jet was to be manufactured in the US, which it was apparently not, well, that might be a point. "Might" being the word to stress. But then that would be the one item. And the contractual nature of the bonuses is part of the point, since arguably that leaves a corporation somehow contractually obligated to conduct transfers of equity to management, leaving ownership diminished. There being no contractual obligations to actually perform the job to the benefit of ownership after all.

Feb. 02 2009 12:48 PM
mc from Brooklyn

Tony #11 and Jay F #14,
That is too broad a brush. If unions are run the right way they protect workers from unsafe and unfair work requirements and they afford the workers a collective bargaining voice to take to the employers who have a lot more money and clout. The only problem is when union leadership decides that it is the political voice of its members and shuts out dissent in its own ranks. That is union bullying.

Feb. 02 2009 12:20 PM
Leo from Queens

Robert Bondy #7 - The Citi corporate jet was manufactured in France. Not in the US. I'm sure that there are parts manufactured in the US. - But the point and question is: Should $50M of taxpayer dollars go to incompetent executives so they can travel with their families in luxury and privacy or should the $50M of taxpayer dollars be spent on other items that benefit as many taxpayers as possible?

Feb. 02 2009 11:53 AM
Leo from Queens

Doesn't it help the economy more to use $50M of taxpayer money to upgrade commuter rail or build schools or hire more teachers than to use the $50M of taxpayer dollars to buy a plane for CITI executives to go on vacation at their convenience without having to deal with the riff raff in commercial first class

Feb. 02 2009 11:47 AM
hjs from 11211

europeans have a better standard of living, and they live longer than we do.
as for unions being evil they are the only thing holding up the middle class. it's profit/greed model that is the true evil of our time.

Feb. 02 2009 11:47 AM
Essie from New York City

The topic is The Future of New York City Labor! This was a lame interview. The public sector unions are the future of New York City labor and they are sadly lacking in effective leadership. You should do a show about that.

Feb. 02 2009 11:46 AM
Jay F. from manhattan

# 11 - Agreed.
And Mr. Aronowitz's ideas are dangerous - taking it to the streets? His ideas are anarchistic... I would hate the professor teaching my kids.

Feb. 02 2009 11:42 AM from toms river nj

During the late 70's when unemployment in Niagara Falls area was about 12%, I worked in CETA, a Dept of Labor program. There were several titles of money- Youth after school and Summer jobs, Work Experience and Public Service employment. We in Niagara County were proud of the numbers put to work during that high unemployment time.
I would like to hear discussion of how that could be adopted now.

Feb. 02 2009 11:34 AM
Leo from Queens

Smokey #2 - Most corporate jets are made outside of the US - I'm sure that there are parts manufactured in the US - but the biggest, most popular manufactures of small jets are international companies in Europe or Embraer in Brazil.

The US only has Boeing.

Feb. 02 2009 11:31 AM
Tony from San Jose, CA

Unions are evil, they create inequalities between insiders and outsiders. They are the reason education is so lousy in the US, cars are crappy. Unions have destroyed Europe and now are planning to do the same thing to the United States?

Feb. 02 2009 11:29 AM
Mary Ruiz

Obama's criticism "shamefull" has no come the accounts of the people in wall st. that received the 18. billion bonuses, how come their bank accounts are not frozen? - freeze them and get our tax money back. 18.billion to keep teachers and hire more health workers.

Feb. 02 2009 11:27 AM
hjs from 11211

doesn't citibank buying a jet help the economy?

Feb. 02 2009 11:26 AM
Alex from Brooklyn

Let's not balance the budget and continue to live in debt because that has not been the catalyst for out current woes. Keep borrowing and continuing government ponzi schemes. Yes, there should be more oversight, better insurance programs, and wall street should be punished. But what we need is more efficient local government, not federal. We need an overhaul of the Hmo system, and corporate transparency.

Feb. 02 2009 11:26 AM
Robert Bondy from NYC

These arguments against bonuses and corporate jets are knee jerk reactions!

Many of these bonuses are contractually obligated and the institutions are committed to paying them. Discretionary bonuses ARE being cut or reduced. Many cannot be.

The jet was purchased years ago. There is a long lead time from signing of contract and delivery. It is not a matter of Citibank going out to "JetMart" and buying a jet! Additionally, the aircraft is built here, painted here, the avionics are all American products, the internal outfitting is all local, as is the manufacter of the jet engines.

These people avoid these facts to push their own political agenda without being truthful to the certain realities.

Feb. 02 2009 11:25 AM
Tony from San Jose, CA

Please, don't quote France as a model. The country is in a much more parlous state than the US, precisely because of the unions who messed up the entire country. A 7% unemployment there would be a cause for partying.

Feb. 02 2009 11:23 AM
Leo from Queens


you need to STOP towing the fat-cat talking points about the Wall Street bonuses. Bonuses are issued based on individual and company performance. A bankrupt company cannot morally or fiscally issue bonuses. There is a concept that is part of every company's mission that is called STEWARDSHIP - It is the responsibility of the executives of a corporation to leave a legacy and promote the stewardship of a company so that its legacy is continued into the future. Being a business leader is not about the here and now and leaving the companies dry and letting the future leaders of the company to figure out how to keep the company afloat.

Your Crane's Business talking point that bonuses provide tax revenues is misleading: If these bonuses were not paid, then that money would becom corporate profits that are taxed or it becomes dividends to investors which is either taxed or provide a source of income for retirees which would not have to depend on government services.

What passes for leaderhip in this city and in Albany needs to find a way to tax corporations in a fair way that moves us away from the irresponsible culture of depeding on bonuses that have become basically entitlements.

Feb. 02 2009 11:22 AM
ken from east of asbury

Boycott businesses that hire illegal workers

Fine businesses that hire illegal workers.

Feb. 02 2009 11:21 AM

What is the ratio of public to private employees in New York? I have read that it is much higher than elsewhere.

Feb. 02 2009 11:18 AM
Smokey Forester from LES

We keep bashing corporate jets. Aren't most of those made in the US? Are these workers going to get thrown out of work, too?

Feb. 02 2009 11:18 AM
Alex from Brooklyn

this guy is a hack

Feb. 02 2009 11:17 AM

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