Eye Sanit slow-down during storm

Sanitation workers purposely took their time when plowing Queens streets, sanitation supervisors and workers who confided in Councilmember Dan Halloran alleged.
“If the supervisors have in fact not done their job, they need to have administrative hearings,” said Halloran.
Halloran told reporters in a conference call on Thursday, December 30, that he had personally spoken to two Department of Transportation (DOT) supervisors and three Department of Sanitation (DSNY) workers who told him that sanitation supervisors had told workers to wait for instructions on when and where to plow.
In some instances, Halloran was told plow drivers parked and waited six to eight hours for orders to plow. They also frequently drove with their plow blades up, he said. Ordinarily, they make sure streets are plowed, systematically grid by grid.
The workers and supervisors worked in all areas of Queens, but all live in Halloran’s district, he said.
Also, the supervisors were not relaying information “up the chain,” giving the false impression that streets were plowed and there were minimal issues.
Keith Mellis, spokesperson for the DSNY, said that 100 sanitation supervisors are slated to be demoted to the ranks of sanitation workers. However, there is no scheduled date for the demotions.
Mellis added that workers have been putting in 12-hour shifts and in some cases they ran to 14 hours, and are receiving overtime pay.
“There are no organized or wildcat actions being taken by the Sanitation Workers or the Supervisors,” said Mellis. “We would not see this dedication if there was labor unrest.”
Halloran was told that the slowdown would “send a message” protesting the demotions. He intends to pursue avenues of verification such as comparing radio traffic with past snow-related incidents and said that many trucks have GPS tracking.
Halloran also noted that many streets in College Point, Whitestone and parts of Bayside remain plagued with by the blizzard leftovers. Some of his constituents in Bayside had also reported power outages that had lasted for several days, with vehicles unable to come to repair them because of snowy blockades.
Furthermore, Halloran was told that 400 workers had called out sick Monday, December 27, 2010. He acknowledged that there is typically a spike in sick days used in the holiday season, but asserts that either way, it was a work week.
“It really is right out there for you to see,” said Halloran.

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