The New York State AFL-CIO is a federation of 3,000 affiliated public sector, private sector, and building trades unions throughout the state, representing 2.5 million members, retirees and their families. Our members live and work in every community in our state, and reflect the diversity that makes New York great. Our State Federation, which is the largest in the country, is committed to the fight for social and economic justice. The foundation of our movement is the belief that we are stronger together. Working with our affiliates, area labor federations, central labor councils, and community allies, we fight to improve the lives and working conditions of all hard working New Yorkers. Through grassroots advocacy, political and legislative action, policy analysis, and coordinated communications, the New York State AFL-CIO is force for progressive change.
2.5 Million Member New York State AFL-CIO Affirms Labor’s Opposition to City Horse Carriage Ban
New York should be creating good, union jobs, not destroying them
December 12, 2014, New York, NY – At a meeting of the federation’s Executive Council, the New York State AFL-CIO unanimously adopted a resolution supporting members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 553 and their fight against senseless legislation to ban horse carriages in New York City. The resolution’s passage establishes formal opposition to the bill by the New York State Labor Movement.
The horse carriage industry, which has existed since the beginning of Central Park, has long provided good jobs to New Yorkers, immigrants in particular. The industry currently supports 300 middle-class jobs, not including those from related and feeder industries, and is part of the fabric of New York.
Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO, said, “At a time of wage stagnation and an economy that replaces good jobs with those that confine workers to poverty, it’s shocking that the City would even consider destroying the horse carriage industry. These are good, middle-class jobs that have allowed hardworking New Yorkers and their families to thrive. We should be doing more to create family-sustaining jobs, not annihilating an entire industry that provides them.”
George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16, said, “There is nothing worse than going into the holiday season with your job on the line. The carriage drivers haven’t done anything wrong, but will lose everything if their jobs are banned. Through the New York State AFL-CIO, the labor movement speaks with one voice. We thank New York’s unions for standing with these families.”
With the resolution in place, the New York State AFL-CIO, working in conjunction with the New York City Central Labor Council, will coordinate grassroots and political opposition to the legislation among its affiliated unions.
WHEREAS, legislation was introduced December 8th in the New York City Council that would eliminate 300 middle‐class jobs in Central Park’s horse and carriage industry; and WHEREAS, Central Park has hosted carriage rides since the park opened in 1858; and
WHEREAS, the carriage industry has long provided jobs for immigrant families, allowing them to build small businesses and lives in New York; and
WHEREAS, workers in this industry are members of International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 553; and
WHEREAS, the New York City Central Labor Council opposes the legislation, as do its member unions; and
WHEREAS, every New York City editorial board opposes the legislation; and
WHEREAS, public opinion polls show more than 60% of New York City voters oppose the legislation; and
WHEREAS, the carriage horses are safe and healthy, as observed by veterinarians, horse welfare organizations, and City regulators; and
WHEREAS, the Teamsters were not consulted on the content of the legislation; and
WHEREAS, New York Taxi Workers Alliance opposes the legislation, which would also push carriage drivers into the taxicab industry; therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the New York State AFL‐CIO oppose the proposed horse carriage ban and give its full support to the horse carriage drivers and the Teamsters in their campaign to save these union jobs.