May 22, 2013
N.Y. Laborers Local Takes a Stand at Liberty Plaza
Posted on Oct 12, 2011
Mike Hellstrom, a construction and private sanitation worker for more than two decades, has been involved in union work for 27 years, and he’s tired of watching his friends and colleagues lose their benefits and earnings after laboring for their entire lives.
Hellstrom and four of his colleagues braved blustering winds to stand with Wall Street protesters Wednesday against the loss of workers’ compensation. His union, Laborers Local 108, is a progressive labor organization in the Greater New York area that represents “average blue collar, working class people that go to work every single day and try to earn a living and feed their families and be part of the so-called middle class, which is evaporating before our eyes,” as he put it.
“We’re fighting corporate greed at the bargaining table. Not just for the last three years but for the last 100 years,” he said.
When asked about the cuts that sanitation workers are suffering, he began by acknowledging the need for all members of a company to share the burden of sacrifice during a genuine financial crisis. But workers are giving up much more than executives, he said.
And what percentage of the men and women working in his field are facing these hardships? “Every single one,” he said. “100 percent.” —ARK
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