Union Snow Sabotage in New York City?


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The whistleblowers, who wish to remain unidentified because they fear retaliation, went on to describe the methods used by the Sanitation Department to make a bad situation worse.  These included such things as raising the level of the plows higher than the roadway, deliberately skipping streets along their assigned routes, and being told to wait for orders before plowing accumulating piles of snow. In addition, “multiple Sanitation Department sources” told The NY Post that “angry plow drivers have only been clearing streets assigned to them, even if that means they have to drive through snowed-in roads with their plows raised.” They added that  ”some drivers are purposely smashing plows and salt spreaders to further stall the cleanup effort.”

(Adding insult to injury?  A photograph of a plow driver taking a reported one-and-a-half hour nap while on duty at 9:30 AM Monday morning.  This is the second time in recent months that NY Post photographers have snapped city workers sleeping on the job.)

Much of the union’s alleged strategy centered around the idea that dragging out snow removal would allow them to pad overtime checks, for which the hourly rate is substantially higher than regular pay.  The cost of overtime pay was apparently a factor in the city’s initially inadequate response to the storm as well, since preparation for the upcoming blizzard would have required a full compliment of workers showing up on Saturday the 24th, and collecting overtime for continuing work on Christmas Day. Thus, an adequate number of workers was not called in when it might have made a critical difference.

(The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which has responsibility for keeping New York’s public transportation systems running, apparently dropped the ball as well.  An unnamed source told the NY Post that the agency opted for a its lowest level “Plan 1″ for coping with the storm, instead of “Plan 4,” its highest emergency response.  As a result, subway, bus and train service was equally devastated.  In one reported incident, over a hundred passengers were stuck on two trains near Aqueduct Race Track for over six hours “without food, water or bathroom facilities.”)

USA president Harry Nespoli confirmed that his employees are indeed working “lucrative 14 hours shifts,” (note the two hour discrepancy from his quote above), but both he and Joseph Mannion, president of the union that represents agency supervisors, denied any such job action was taking place, as did Sanitation Department spokesman Matthew Lipani.  ”There are no organized or wildcat actions being taken by the sanitation workers or the supervisors,” said Lipani.

It behooves the city to get to the truth.  But not merely because the alleged work slowdown was annoying or inconvenient, forcing thousands of New Yorkers to fend for themselves in term of clearing streets or getting to work.  For some New Yorkers it was tragic. In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a newborn baby died during the ten hours it took emergency workers to respond to the frantic mother’s 911 call.  In Queens, 75-year-old Yvonne Freeman passed away between the time her daughter called to report her mother’s difficulty in breathing, and the three hours it took first responders to reach her.

“My heart goes out to those who experienced trauma and tragedy,” Bloomberg said Wednesday.

Not good enough.  Not  by a long shot.  If there’s a scintilla of truth to this story, the all too typical response of wrist-slap suspensions for guilty workers, or even the firing some some higher-ups, is woefully insufficient. If the two confirmed deaths directly related to the inability of emergency workers to reach the victims can be attributed to a deliberate job action by the Sanitation union, criminal prosecutions must be initiated.  It is one thing for disgruntled unionists to hold an entire city hostage due to, as the aforementioned agency supervisor head Joseph Mannion characterized it, ”resentment out there”  towards a budget-cutting Mayor.  It is quite another when such nonsense becomes deadly.

As for the rest of the nation, one can only wonder how other public sector unions across the country will respond to the inevitable cutbacks that must occur in states faced with fiscal insolvency.  If the alleged reaction of  New York Sanitation workers and their bosses is a prevailing attitude, the American public may been in for some additionally ugly, and perhaps deadly, times ahead.

Perhaps we are more “Greece-like”  than we care to imagine.

Arnold Ahlert is a contributing columnist to the conservative website, JewishWorldReview.com.

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  • kafir4life

    Unions, like the rest of the left and at it's head the obama admin, care only about agendas, not people. If people die, unions (and obama) are to blame. I was in a union years ago, and tried to not work on Saturday (the Sabbath). I was told by the union that only seniority, not faith, would decide the days I had to work. Had I been a follower of the madman pedophile, mad mo, they would have made accomodations out of fear of normal muslim behavior.

    • Paul

      What do muslims have to do with it?

    • Jim

      It looks like most here are ready to let Mayor Bloomberg off the hook in favor of blaming the workers and unions. It looks like Bloomberg is in usual form deflecting the blame.

      If in fact the workers have been on 12 to 14 hours shifts making up for shortfalls in staffing, those same workers would be pretty tired. How many of you have worked long shifts like that for an extended period? It takes a physical toll.

      I think if the mayor made an effort to treat the entire city of New York with the same efforts he uses to accomodate its muslim population and the ground zero mosque we wouldn't still be reading about this…..

      • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

        I have for years now making 30 percent of what the workers make in that city.

        and come on that ass Bloomberg has so many back door deals its a joke he must b making 30 million a years without any tax, if you know what i mean? he must be a made guy?

    • richard

      you are right about the muslims, & or other groups. they would make a stink and the powers that be would accommodate them. just like the airport security. it's in place because of fanatical muslims, yet they are going to let muslims inspect them at airports, which means they won't have to go thru scanners, or get patted down. only the head gear will get patted down. that's what he means about muslims. i don't have a problem w/muslims in general however he has an absolute point and it is relevant.

    • scum

      This is not a Muslim issue. It's not a Left/Right issue. It's hardly even a union issue. It's simply a bureacracy that is providing payback for cuts in jobs. It's hardly worth an article. Can you see me yawning already?

  • Cuban Refugee

    The NY Blizzard of 2010 disaster is but a relatively mild portend of things to come under our new socialist model for which Bloomberg is one of the puppets. Perhaps if he had cared less about salt in our food, and more about spreading it on the streets outside the theater district and the boroughs, two innocent victims of the rapacious unions' work slowdown might still be alive. Those responsible for instigating the criminal behavior that paralyzed a city and caused two deaths should be immediately arrested. Greece is coming to N.Y. and to other cities in the U.S. — just wait until the union thugs get a whifff of the negative balance in their pensions — the nightmare after the blizzard was just a little amuse bouche.

  • Cuban Refugee

    The NY Blizzard of 2010 disaster is but a relatively mild portend of things to come under our new socialist model for which Bloomberg is one of the puppets. Perhaps if he had cared less about salt in our food, and more about spreading it on the streets outside the theater district and the boroughs, two innocent victims of the rapacious unions' work slowdown might still be alive. Those responsible for instigating the criminal behavior that paralyzed a city and caused two deaths should be immediately arrested. Greece is coming to N.Y. and to other cities in the U.S. — just wait until the union thugs get a whiff of the negative balance in their pensions — the nightmare after the blizzard was just a little amuse bouche.

  • TEJ

    Happen to find this article. My question is that I did not here about any of its own citizens trying to help them selves or what they could do to help. Seems like all we doing is becoming more and more dependent on the government and whining. We need to shrink the government. Ever thought about having volunteer emergency road clearing crew when these kinds of emergencies happen.

  • Crosscut

    Urban dwellers are a bunch of helpless babies. Public service unions got the upper hand thanks to the Democrat Party. You city folks are shafted.

  • richard

    well there was at least one woman who died because an ambulance could not get to her home i believe. i don't believe sending a message is worth one life. i'm sure these guys get
    good pay, medical plan, etc. i wish i had a job as good as theirs.

    • CanadConserv

      The union and city should be sued by her relatives.

  • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

    NY City has no money for things like snow. after all no money in doing the job of running that city.

  • http://davids-home-now.blogspot.com David Thomas

    The tradition of New Years in Times Square won't be the same. The response of the mayor and the unions to the snowstorm has already dropped the ball.

  • jjj

    did anyone read the articles? the union told thier people not to plow timely!!!!! how many people died and could of died as a result??? fire the union!! this had to do with union greed and not cuts!!! f the union!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • USMCSniper

    Watch this how Unions are bankrupting cities and states with their excessive salaries, benefits, and pensions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pUCyHxryEA

  • Todd Sandry

    As a Pub Empl Union Member I have found the union interest is in their retaining and gaining pwr not in the best interest of the employee or the interrest. Firmly believe that there needs to be fair representation of all parties at a bargaining table, but today labor reps often know little about the mission of those they represent. DAMN THE UNION and its HACKS>

  • bigbadjack

    I am long-retired. I have been a member of THREE unions, the last one a public-sector version. All are now totally corrupt and self-serving. Thankfully, none ask for my support any more, as I let them know in no uncertain terms why I oppose virtually everything they want to impose upon America…marxism. No sale here!

  • 2maxpower

    no question to who I believe on this one. unions have no place in public service.

  • mike

    Just remember these are public unions. Don't lump the trade unions in with the public or auto unions.

    • Fed_Republic

      PFFT! ALL UNIONS ARE NOTHING MORE THAN PARASITES AND ARE LOWER THAN BOTTOM FEEDER EXCREMENT!

  • NYStranger

    As a foreigner living in the City for a long time, I admire the fellow citizens who tried to clear as much as they could during these snow days. I have no respect however to those whose duty it was (I would even dare to suggest to stick a shovel into each and every union member's ass, but I suspect it may be anti-constitutional). The unions (the Strongest, the Strongest Undergrounders, the Bloodiest Servants of Humanity etc) are one of the darkest sides of urban existence. They are the real threat to the rest of the city dwellers. Although, I must admit, that unions are a haven for the third-raters and losers, and united this way they can be if not controlled, then at least observed by others.
    With colossal respect to all non-union new yorkers.

  • Fed_Republic

    My father, may he rest in peace, was a railroad worker for most of his working life. A dangerous thankless job that ruined his health and the health of everyone subjected to that horrid environment!
    What did the Union do for him? NOTHING!
    When he was fired for obeying the rulebook (oh yes they have one) regarding the protection of the train at an unmarked crossing over the orders of a pinhead yard superintendent 20 miles away, he was fired and the GODDAMN UNION DID NOTHING, NADA!
    But sure as hell the F-ing Union did not have any problem robbing his paycheck for their filthy union dues on the day he was fired!
    F the F-ing UNIONS, MAY THEY ALL ROT IN HELL!!!

  • SoCal

    You are witnessing a small sample with New York and New Orleans what will occur if we are ever hit with an EMP attack. God help the urban dweller. Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Those who cannot fend for themselves … get ready to meet your maker!