Big Apple Blizzard Cleanup Snafu A Case Of Sabotage By Union Sanitation Workers?

That’s according to the New York Post, which has a story out today saying that the city’s sanitation bosses ordered their workers to gum up the snow cleanup from last weekend’s storm in the outer boroughs as a protest to budget cuts.

It’s almost too much to believe, but that’s the word…

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts — a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.

“They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important,” said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.

Halloran said he met with three plow workers from the Sanitation Department — and two Department of Transportation supervisors who were on loan — at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.

The snitches “didn’t want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation,” Halloran said. “They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file.”

And a little more…

The workers said the work slowdown was the result of growing hostility between the mayor and the workers responsible for clearing the snow.

In the last two years, the agency’s workforce has been slashed by 400 trash haulers and supervisors — down from 6,300 — because of the city’s budget crisis. And, effective tomorrow, 100 department supervisors are to be demoted and their salaries slashed as an added cost-saving move.

The treatment by New York’s Democrat pols of Mayor Mike Bloomberg on the issue seems interesting as well…

“This mayor prides himself on saying the buck stops with him, and it should. We hold him responsible for what we’re calling theBloomberg Blizzard,” said CityCouncilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn).

“The whole world is laughing that the greatest city in the world cannot manage to clear the streets. New York today looks like a Third World country.”

Greenfield, normally a backer of the mayor, said every side street – and some larger avenues – in Borough Park were waiting for a plow 30 hours after the storm’s end.

Similar and worse complaints were heard from much of the snow-buried city outside Manhattan.

A Queens woman’s death Monday was blamed on the backlog of911 calls and on snow-clogged streets that delayed first responders from reaching her Corona home, said state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens).

“Like many New Yorkers, I woke up two days straight to an unplowed street outside my frontdoor,” said city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “This is not business as usual, and frustration is mounting.”

“This is unacceptable,” said CityCouncil Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), who set a Jan. 10 hearing on how the storm was handled.

“The mayor has to stop acting like ‘Baghdad Bob’ saying the streets are fine. No they aren’t. Where the hell are the plows?” Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Queens) wrote on Facebook.

“Seniors are trapped at home with little or no food. Emergency vehicles aren’t able to respond to emergencies,” said Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn). “This lack of response from the city cannot go unanswered.”

The city’s sanitation bosses deny any shenanigans are afoot

Harry Nespoli, president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, dismissed the charges.

“Believe me. I ain’t messing around and none of my workforce is messing around. We know that peoples’ lives are on the line,” he said.

…and Bloomberg issued a sort-of denial that the snow-removal failure was a job action…

“I don’t think it took place,” Bloomberg said at Thursday’s press conference, adding that his office would look into the claims. “It would be an outrage if it took place.”

Whether it’s ever proven that the failure to remove snow was a deliberate one or not is a question. It does appear that Bloomberg was somewhat asleep at the switch in declaring a snow emergency, and his weak leadership on most issues that matter while imposing petty tyranny on New Yorkers over superfluous problems makes him an easy target for ambitious politicos looking for headlines.

That said, the quick assault on the mayor by Democrats beholden to the city’s public employee unions following what sounds like a scripted attack on his competency if the Post story is correct looks quite a bit like a partisan plot. Even if it isn’t, the mere idea that city sanitation workers who ran up against the reality of budget woes affecting every city in America may have opted not to do their jobs during an emergency would call into question the existence of the unions representing those workers. A private-sector job action in the midst of circumstances like that would result in mass firings and lawsuits; one wonders whether a class-action suit by residents of the affected boroughs against the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association wouldn’t be the first step in addressing this situation.



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