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

Labor is Raising the Roof in Nashville; Wayfair Workers Strike for Immigrants - 28:34  

Labor is Raising the Roof in Nashville
Chris Brooks, Staff Writer and Organizer with Labor Notes magazine
Odessa Kelly, Nashville Organized for Action and Hope and Co-Chair of Stand Up Nashville
Anne Barnett, Central Labor Council of Memphis and Co-Chair of Stand Up Nashville

As construction booms in Nashville, workers are finding the power to unionize in the otherwise non-union South. The city is growing, and developers are putting up new corporate headquarters, entertainment venues, and luxury hotels as fast as they possibly can. The Nashville skyline boasts more cranes than New York City.

Construction is intense. But the glitz and glamor of rapid development has produced more than huge profits for real-estate investors. It has also resulted in pain and poverty for construction workers and, correspondingly, an affordable-housing crisis for working-class families. Like many cities across the country, Nashville’s economic growth comes complete with full-throttle inequality.  But something else is happening on the ground as well: Craft labor unions, embracing innovative strategies, are starting to grow, and they’re hoping to turn the tables on corporate power. They’re using their power in a tight labor market and an increasingly progressive city to boost both membership and labor standards—the kinds of leverage not available to manufacturing unions that have tried and failed to unionize Southern factories.  The South, boasts the highest number of construction firms and the lowest density of workers in labor unions. 

And, heavily represented on the lowest rung of the labor ladder are Latino workers, many undocumented, who make up a significant and growing share of the workforce on Nashville construction sites. Their immigration status leaves them particularly vulnerable to employer abuses, since they are less likely to make waves by reporting issues to government officials.

However, while faced with these challenges, there is a new approach to organizing Latino workers in Nashville through worker centers like Alianza Laboral.  Like many worker centers, Alianza Laboral has focused on being a community resource, hosting cultural events and safety trainings and providing a space for workers to meet and discuss issues. Workers are recruited as “affiliate members” to the union, paying about half the normal rate for dues.   And, then there is Stand Up Nashville, a citywide community-labor coalition that is leading the charge for a more equitable city – working with union and non-union workers from numerous industries, along with community members and churches, they are  deploying creative organizing to rein in rising corporate profits that are exacerbating economic inequality and displacement.  They’ve petitioned, lobbied, spoken at council, talked with and mobilized their neighborhoods, and are hitting a point where people are starting to run for office.  There is power shifting in the city and we’ll find out more about how that’s happening and how Nashville’s construction trades workers are raising the roof against corporate greed

Wayfair Workers Protest Furniture Sale to Detention Centers Caging Immigrant Children
April Glaser, reporter for Slate and co-host the podcast If Then

Employees at online home furnishings retailer Wayfair walked off the job to protest the company's decision to sell $200,000 worth of furniture to a government contractor that runs a detention center for migrant children in Texas.  The protest triggered a broader backlash against the company, with some customers calling for a boycott. Several hundred people joined the protest at a plaza near the company's Boston headquarters, a mix of employees and people from outside the company.
More than 500 employees at the company's Boston headquarters signed a protest letter to executives when they found out about the contract. Wayfair refused to back out of the contract.  "Last week, we found out about the sale and that we are profiting from this. And we are not comfortable with that," said Tom Brown, 33, a Wayfair engineer at the protest. "For me personally, there is more to life than profit."
The protest comes amid a new uproar over revelations of terrible conditions at a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, including inadequate food, lack of medical care, no soap, and older children trying to care for toddlers. Emotions were also running high one day after photos published by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada and distributed worldwide by the AP showed the bodies of a migrant father and his young daughter who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico to enter the United State.

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Finally N.Y. State's Farmworkers Prevail Over State's Harvest of Shame - 26:19  

Finally N.Y. State’s Farmworkers Prevail Over State’s Harvest of Shame 

Jessica Ramos, N.Y.S Senator,  Chair of Labor Committee

Jose Chapa,  Justice for Farmworkers Legislative Campaign Coordinator, Rural & Migrant Ministry 

We'll celebrate and the N.Y.S. Legislature’s passage of progressive bills, with gains in such diverse areas as tenants’ rights, drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants and yes finally labor rights for N.Y. farmworkers.  Advocates for farmworkers have been engaged in a decades-long fight for basic labor and human rights for farm workers since they were exempted from a 1938 federal labor reform law – relegating them to a habitual harvest of shame, and deprivation.  

"Today we are correcting a historic injustice, a remnant of Jim Crow era laws, to affirm that those farmworkers must be granted rights just as any other worker in New York,” said Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Queens).  Under the new Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act farmworkers  will now have the right to unionize and overtime pay as well as the guarantee of at least one day off per week.  Under the new legislation,  farmworkers are also eligible for unemployment insurance, paid family leave and workers’ compensation benefits. 

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