Mayor de Blasio vs the Teamsters

At the Clinton Park Stables

Knowingly or unknowingly, Mayor De Blasio, by declaring war on the Central Park carriage horses is about to give anti – union forces in this country a victory that they could have only dreamt of.

I first wondered about the Union when I toured the Stables back on March 16th  (see my blog here).  There was a banner showing Teamster local 553.

The Teamster logo is recognized the world over.  Besides signifying the Union as an organization,  it is a bond different from any other.  It is a brotherhood that can always be counted on.  That is why the Union is known as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The Teamster began in 1903 as an organization representing the drivers and others who worked with horse drawn wagons and in the stables.  Its emblem, the emblem known world over reflects that history.  Two horse heads, Thunder and Lightning, looking to the right and left over a six spoke wheel with the union name on it.So here we are today, where the Mayor from New York City – a Democrat, as his first act in office states that he is going to ban the Central Park Carriage trade.  In one quick action, the Mayor has struck both a real and symbolic blow to the union movement and in particular to the Teamsters both here in New York City and the rest of the nation.

The Mayor has vowed to end 300 Teamster jobs.  Why? Not because of economics, not because they cost the City money, not because of illicit activity, not because of safety, but because he has made up his mind. Laughing off the Union and all the while calling them “friends”.

The Unions certainly were Mayor de Blasio’s friends in helping to get him elected.  But as the old saying goes, “With friends like these who needs enemies?”

Now is the time, the Teamsters need to not only stand together, but come together.  It is not enough for leadership to send a letter.  Individual members need to act.  For a brotherhood is only as strong as its members. 

While 300 carriage drivers who are part of local 553 may not have a voice loud enough to be heard, the 1.3 million Teamster members do!  Politicians often call upon unions, Mayor de Blasio could not have been elected without their support.  Now  is the time for other 1,299,700 Teamster members to let Mayor de Blasio and the NYC Council Members know that to put 300  of their members out of work for no good reason is unacceptable.  The Teamster voices must be heard.

The alternative will be a weakening of the Union.  When one group sees that the whole will not support it, then why support the whole?

More importantly, by attacking the carriage horse drivers, Mayor de Blasio has struck at the very soul of the Teamsters themselves.

The Teamsters are a union originally formed by and for drivers of carriages horses.

The symbolism of the Mayor’s move will not be lost.  He has effectively slaughtered Thunder and Lightning both figuratively and literally.As he ends the Central Park Horse Drawn Carriage Trade, he not only will have put 300 hardworking Teamster members out of work but will have also sent their 200 horses to slaughter.   

The Teamster logo which so proudly hangs at the stables, where I first saw it, will instead hang in shame, becoming tattered with time.

One can only ask what is the Mayor’s motivation and who benefits from his actions?  The very questions the carriage drivers have been asking for weeks.

I ask all the individual members of the Teamsters to sign our Petition to save the Central Park Carriage Horses and the 300 local Teamster jobs.