Building Bridges Radio: Your Community & Labor Report

Produced and Hosted by Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash over WBAI,99.5FM in the NYC Metro Area


WORKERS OF THE WORLD TUNE IN! Introducing "Building Bridges: Your Community & Labor Report"

Our beat is the labor front, broadly defined, both geographically and conceptually. We examine the world of work and workers on the job as well as where they live. We examine the issues that affect their everyday lives, with a particular sensitivity towards human rights abuses, environmental concerns and the U.S. drive for global domination. We record their global struggles and provide analysis of their efforts to empower themselves and transform society to provide greater democratic, human, social, political and economic rights. Each program consists of feature stories, generally interviews, within a historical context, often accompanied by sound from demonstrations, rallies or conferences, and complemented and enhanced by poetry and instrumental or vocal -- people's culture.

Over the years Building Bridges has produced a weekly one hour program, Mondays from 7-8 PM EST, covering local, national and international labor and community issues over radio WBAI-Pacifica 99.5 FM in New York. We also produce half hour version, Building Bridges National, which is distribtued to over 40 broadcast and internet radio stations.

For more information you can contact us at
In Struggle Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash

War on Unions in Ohio; NYC Union Rally Blasts Bloomberg and Cuomo - 28:28  

The New Class War on Unions Spreads to Ohio
Joseph Rugola, Exec. Dir., Ohio Assn. of Public School Employees, AFSCME

Following Gov. Walker’s union busting lead, Ohio Gov. Kasich proposes to nullify public employee unionization rights by taking away impartial arbitration of disputes, the right to strike of “non-emergency public employees” and protections against privatization of government jobs. Despite the demonstration by over 20,000, it was politics at its worst, Republican leaders rammed this bill through by kicking opposing members of their own party off key committees.
NYC Union Rally Blasts Bloomberg and Cuomo Attacks

District Council 37 Locals 375,154, 768 & 1549 demonstrated at City Hall Park in support of the resistance of workers & their unions under attack in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and other states. On the NYC front, they railed against proposed layoffs by Mayor Bloomberg, despite projections of a multibillion dollar budget surplus and a plethora of costly and often corrupt outside contracts. Both the Bloomberg and Cuomo Administrations oppose continuing the millionaires’ tax to enhance revenue rather than cutting public services and layoffs.

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Building Bridges: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and Its Legacy - 55:04  

A Women's History Month Special

Out of the Flames, From The Ashes: TheTriangle Shirtwaist Fire & Its Legacy

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Triangle Fire - March 25, 1911

Tune into our tapestry of archival sound, re-enactments – a docudrama of the “flowering girls” who lost their lives in the Triangle Fire, on this hundredth anniversary, of one of the most important events in the history of the labor movement. Threaded through the sound tapestry are the haunting voices from the fire intermingled with the poetry and songs that arose in the wake of the tragedy. Another thread of the tapestry are the voices of scholar/activists who deliberate on the legacy of Triangle for today - to organize and unionize, to regulate the workplace and create a safe, decent life for working people, to attend to the problems today sadly echoing the conditions at the time of the Triangle Fire. This is a drama of the dilemmas faced by working women, their pathos, & the importance of the fire, in the annals of workers’ history - “not to mourn, but to organize.”

A fire broke out on the top three stories of a relatively new building just east of
Washington Square Park, which housed the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, a

large manufacturer of women’s clothes (a building which today houses New York University classrooms). Though the building was modern and advertised as fire-proof, the cramped layout of the factory space, large piles of flammable materials, locked doors by the employers, an inadequate fire escape, and the inability of New York City fire truck ladders to reach high enough to rescue the people trapped by the flames led to a staggering loss of life. All told, 146 workers died that day, mostly women workers, many still in their teens, some as young as fourteen, killed by the fire or their desperate leaps to the ground to escape the suffocating smoke, the heat and flames. It is the largest industrial tragedy in the history of New York City.

After the fire, & the outraged voices of community residents, workers, labor activists, New York State passed a series of new laws regulating factory safety which, along with unionization,gradually eliminated the worst conditions workers faced. These efforts would reach fruition in the New Deal, in many respects the creation of the coalition of forces that came togetherin the aftermath of the TriangleFire.

If Triangle is an old story, one about a century ago, it is also a very current story. While the U.S. was successful, at least for a while, in eliminating the worst abuses of the sweatshop era and improving the lives of its working people, there are millions of workers today who face conditions not unlike those faced by the Triangle workers. What people sometimes refer to as the global sweatshop is a vast archipelago of workplaces, in many of which young female workers toil long hours in dangerous conditions, very often without union representation or any rights.

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New Class War in Wisconsin plus Belafonte on Protest - 27:28  

The New Class War in Wisconsin
Frank Emspak, Dir.Emeritus, School For Workers, University Of Wisconsin and Exec. Dir. Workers Independent News

In the face of massive protests, Wisconsin Gov. Scott
Walker’s “budget repair bill” proposes limiting collective
bargaining powers of public employees only to base pay
tearing the guts out of the union.The bill also mandates
increases in workers' pension & health care contributions.
And next come the layoffs. We’ll explore Walker’s capital
supported initiative to break the back of organized labor.
What are the politics behind it and forces pushing this
Republican juggernaut? Is this a blueprint for union
busting in other states? And, oh yes, we’ll discuss what is
to be done?
See You On the Picket Line
Harry Belafonte, the Great Actor, Singer and Social Justice Activist

In his recent speech at City College in NYC, Belafonte
decries what has been the passivity in the U.S. in face of
massive attacks on civil rights and workers rights but
welcomes the recent protests against tyranny in Tunisia
and Egypt and extending to Madison Wisconsin to protect
workers rights.

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Teamster Protest at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx - 27:58  

Woodlawn Cemetery Alive with Union Protests
Chris Silvera, Secretary Treasurer Local 808, Teamsters
Local 808 Woodlawn Members - the Band of Brothers
. Todd Brown
. Alex Coss
. Enrique Coss

Landscapers at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, where
six Mayors & jazz legends like Celia Cruz, Miles Davis & Duke
Ellington are buried, protested at the cemetery with union and
community allies from throughout NYC . Management plans to
contract their jobs out to a private landscaping firm unless they
take a 35% pay cut. Local 808 Secretary-Treasurer Chris Silvera
called the proposed outsourcing “an act of vengeance against
the workers for choosing a fighting union to represent them.
” It's the latest battle for the workers, "The Band of Brothers",
who for several years have lodged complaints about racism by
supervisors. Then in October, the workers voted over-
whelmingly to switch their union affiliation to Local 808.

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