It appears there is a growing mountain of evidence to indicate the failure to clear the streets of New York after the holiday snowstorm was a job action.
First, the New York Post has a piece indicating that “Between 660 and 720 Sanitation workers called in sick for the cleanup of last week’s blizzard — more than double the usual rate, The Post has learned.”
“About 11 to 12 percent of the Sanitation Department’s 6,000-strong force didn’t show up for work on Monday or Tuesday, city officials confirmed, as 20 inches of snow brought the Apple to a near-standstill. The spotty snow response sparked reports of a deliberate slowdown by some Sanitation supervisors angered by City Hall cost-cutting measures. The Department of Investigation is looking into the allegations.”
And more. “Instead of plowing, they got plowed. A group of on-duty Sanitation supervisors is under investigation for allegedly buying booze and chilling in their cozy department car for hours Monday night after the blizzard stranded a bus and three snowplows blocks away,” reports the Post.
“The city Department of Investigation is probing the incident after witnesses said four snow blowers blew off their duties to get blitzed, buying two six-packs of beer from a Brooklyn bodega. The workers then walked five blocks to their car, which was in 20 inches of snow in the middle of 18th at McDonald avenues near the F train entrance, passing the stuck bus and idle plows on 18th Avenue between Third and Fourth streets. The four remained in the idling sedan until morning — then told their bosses they could do nothing about the blizzard because they had run out of gas, one witness said. ‘They just sat in their car all night with the heat running,’ the witness said.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell picks up something else…
New York City’s Department of Investigation (DOI) announced Friday that it is looking into reports that some Sanitation Department supervisors told workers to slow their snow removal efforts as a protest against budget cuts. DOI spokeswoman Diane Struzzi told Businessweek: “What we are looking at is whether there was intentional misconduct relating to the snow removal, whether or not there was a slowdown.”
Heritage says a job action such as the one which appeared to take place would be a violation of New York’s Taylor Law, which is one reason union bosses continue to deny it happened despite the laughable quality of the assertion.
Even so, it doesn’t appear the scandal is going away. And if the unions’ intention was to destroy New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reputation as a competent administrator, that plan has backfired badly. Nobody is talking about Bloomberg as a dolt anymore; instead, the narrative taking hold is one of out-of-control public sector unions which will need to be reined in if not broken in 2011.