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New York Union Corruption Allegations That Blizzard Clean Up Delayed for Pay

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

New Yorkers reported lack of clean-up during the Christmas weekend blizzard – and apparently they weren’t crazy: an investigation begins as guilt-ridden sanitation and transportation workers admit they deliberately avoided plowing and clean-up work while under direct orders from union supervisors to delay work and leave streets uncleared.
Workers say that union leaders told them to avoid plowing boroughs and streets, leave major roadways uncleared, and even sabotage the clearing of streets by lifting the plow height – all related to some form of a “secret strike” perpetrated by union members.
The “hush-hush” game was allegedly put into play after talks of union member layoffs, and an additional push for “overtime pay” gained through deliberately slow-moving efforts, on behalf of workers, during the blizzard’s clean-up.
Today exposes the unethical and deliberate lack of clean-up efforts during New York City’s sixth worst blizzard in its history. The reason that places like Brooklyn weren’t cleared from snow: a secret union strike pertaining to layoffs, plus money, money, money. Threatened with the prospect of future layoffs, employees were told to slow down to receive overtime pay.
Manhattan may have been relatively clear during the Christmas 2010 blizzard, but streets and even major roadways-- in areas like Brooklyn--remained literally buried during the December 2010 weekend blizzard that took down the City. Today the New York Post exposes allegations, coming from direct sources inside, that NYC sanitation workers deliberately sabotaged clean-up efforts during and surrounding the Back East’s snowstorms: workers say they sabotaged plows and clean-up while under direct union orders to do so.
The sight had some New Yorkers, no doubt, questioning their own sanity – to see New York streets plowed promptly and properly in spots like Manhattan while surrounding boroughs including Brooklyn, the Bronx, and others, pretty much totally ignored. Chatter among Brooklyn residents caught up with the issue immediately, but despite the lack of plowing, the sanitation department and media outlets claimed simply that there weren’t enough sanitation workers in New York in order to meet the needs of cleaning up the blizzard adequately.
As it turns out, it was all a front. There were workers – the workers just weren’t working.
Councilman Dan Holloran, of Queens, says he’s personally met with a group of New York sanitation workers who claim guilt over participation in the Christmas weekend union protest. The hot topic: sanitation workers were burnt over talks of layoffs and budget cuts that were in talks, slated to occur. Rather than “meet fire with fire”, workers decided to “meet fire with slowly melting ice”. Workers had the plows, they had the time, they had money (for the time) – they apparently just didn’t do a damn thing, not for locales outside of Manhattan anyway. Corruption is inevitably linked to greed, and too much power leads to corruption.
It’s no secret that unions are a powerful being, long associated with the possibility of greed and corruption. Nothing proves that point better than this most recent NYC union scandal that allowed one of the City’s most powerful entities to deliberately neglect its duties in greedy efforts to allow most major parts of New York to remain in a literally buried and dangerous condition.
The scandal and aftermath of the winter storm doesn’t seem to have made Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now on the defensive, the happiest of men – nor, as a government official, should he be.
Holloran claims a personal meeting, involving three snow plow workers from New York’s Sanitation Department plus two supervisors from the Department of Transportation. The workers were ‘on loan’ during the Christmas weekend blizzard catastrophe – snowstorms so bad that the results and lack of clean-up turned out to be a snow emergency. Workers claim, to Holloran, that union members were directly ordered by union leaders to work slowly – they claim that orders were to work deliberately slow and even speicifically ignore cleaning up entire sections and streets of New York. Sanitation and transportation workers confirm that those orders, given from above and involving the ignoring of clean-up efforts, included avoidance of even major roadways.
The reason for the orders, claim the New York City workers, was to rack up overtime pay. The New York employees claim that they were even additionally instructed to perform sabotage in the clean-up and plowing that was actually performed: workers say they were instructed to use methods like keeping the snow plow blades higher up from the ground, to avoid fully clearing streets for transport or movement of vehicles.
All of the allegations and scandal, of course, equal more than inconvenience: in the blizzard conditions recently experienced by New York – the sixth worst snowstorm in its history – the deliberate lack of clean-up also equaled danger.
Twenty inches of snowfall, and rapid accumulation of the fallen snow, combined to block streets – all coming from a powerful Nor’Eastern storm that blew in off of the Atlantic coast. Those blizzard days seen in New York equaled some of the heaviest snowfalls in history, with winds so bad that the entire Northeast United States was seriously and negatively affected. During the Christmas blizzards, thousands of airline flights became cancelled beyond control while street traffic – including normal public transport via buses and train services – were suspended throughout the entire East Coast during the time that streets were not cleared.
Several people actually died, those deaths specifically attributed to the blizzard and its conditions.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s keeping mum on the matter: at a press conference this afternoon, the mayor tried to successfully remain neutral in response to serious charges and allegations that the New York sanitation unions deliberately sabotaged clean-up efforts – efforts that not only affected so many, but put many in undue dangerous conditions.
Bloomberg simply claims there will be an “investigation into the matter”. Outgoing New York governor Patterson is also calling for an investigation, made prior to Bloomberg’s. The currently vague statement out of Bloomberg’s mouth seem to rotate around the ‘acknowledgement’ that “mistakes were made in preparations” for dealing with the blizzard.
Where “mistakes were made” doesn’t seem to have anything to do with “preparations” – unless those “preparations” involve the greedy motivation of keeping a job through any means possible while additionally striving to bring in more money – all neatly wrapped up in the form of “overtime pay”.
Ironically, public service employees across the nation actually make pretty good bucks – their earnings average a far higher average income than that of the average private sector employee. In New Jersey, public service employees average nearly double the private sector. Unions prove detrimental to many cities – and serve as a major reason leading to the severe or poor financial condition experienced by many states and municipalities.
If NYC city sanitation employee stories are true, workers and unions were deliberately dragging their feet to screw up clean-up efforts – all for greedy, personal, financial gain. While Bloomberg leaves it at vauge, announcing only that an investigation is slated to occur in regard to the winter storm, the New York Post is taking it to another level – to help Bloomberg in his efforts of expediency for that supposedly-planned “investigation”.
While “checks and balance” is supposed to exist within government, in this New York City sanitation and transportation scandal, the media has actually ‘shown up’ for a bit of that role: a check and balance between the people and the “biggies” including companies, corporations and government. The New York Post has obtained photographic evidence, published today, including a prime ‘photo op’ of one snow plow driver physically taking a nap while on the job -- Monday morning, while the City remains virtually buried.
The “New York Post” claims that the New York sanitation driver on film was asleep, from about 9:30am till 11am, roughly one and one-half hours straight. This snapshot of actual evidence – along with the influx of stories from guilt-ridden sanitation workers, throws a finger directly at an “acted on” display of arrogance from union officials.
The Christmas blizzard that brought New York City to a near-standstill was severe, crippling the city and transport – in turn, crippling businesses and the economy, even further through impassable streets and sidewalks. For New Yorkers to discover that impassable streets and roadways were no accident, and actually deliberate, may take awhile for any concept of potential forgiveness. Additionally, the build-up of snow, which could have been cleared along the way, is now built up, over four days past the storm’s end – additional inches of fallen snow allowed to accumulate, stack and freeze to base that fell one week ago. Many New York City streets -- in NYC’s further boroughs including Brooklyn, remain impassable.
The “investigation” – prompted by the New York Post – begins, but if deliberate sabotage perpetrated by union workers as a form of protest is proven, those sanitation and transportation workers may be considering new lines of work: budget cuts, layoffs or even jail may look better than the prospect of facing the mob of angry New Yorkers whose streets they deliberately refused to clear out of greed alone.


New York City Sanitation Department
346 Broadway # 1002
New York, NY 10013
United States
Phone: (212) 815-9700
40° 42' 58.9212" N, 74° 0' 12.2652" W
New York City Department of Transportation
55 Waters Street
New York, NY 10041
United States
Phone: (212) 639-9675
40° 42' 12.6864" N, 74° 0' 34.4484" W
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