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Did NYC Unions Order Worker Slow-Down During Winter Storm Emergency?

Did NYC Unions Order Worker Slow-Down During Winter Storm Emergency?

Frustrated New Yorkers have vented their complaints over the city's response to the "Blizzard of 2010," including a slow response time from snow plows and sanitation workers. Fingers are being pointed at Mayor Michael Bloomberg, including from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowtiz who complained that two days after the storm, a number of streets in Brooklyn and Staten Island boroughs had not been plowed yet.

So who is to blame for the seemingly slow response to the "snowpocalypse"?

After the storm clouds parted, a rumor reportedly floated around the city that a number of sanitation workers were purposefully working slowly as a protest to city budget and staff cuts. Borough President Markowitz told Good Day New York that he had not heard the rumor, but noted that the department of sanitation had handled bigger snow storms in the past "with flying colors."

"The truth of the matter here is that there is no question that something happened. Something happened between 1 and 6 am within the department of sanitation. They did not send out enough trucks. We have one of the finest commissioners, but I believe something happened. Put hundreds of tow trucks, thousands of able bodied men and women, get these people out and get these streets open. These streets have not been touched," Markowitz said.

In addition, New York City Councilwoman and sanitation chairwoman Letitia James also told Good Day New York on Tuesday that the "deployment of snow plows was orchestrated in City Hall as opposed to the respective sanitation garages in each of the community boards... there was a change in the response," she said.

By Wednesday, the chairman of the Municipal Labor Committee, Local 831, which represents the city's sanitation workers was busy denying the rumor that his members had worked slower during the recent snow storm. Instead, Harry Nespoli insisted that his workers don't "mess around with the snow."

"There is nothing to that (rumor)," he said. "I'm working very closely with the city. They worked 14 hour shifts. They're getting annoyed over the fact that people are thinking there is a job action."

But the explanation has not quelled the outrage of many New Yorkers who feel the city's response was less than adequate.

Nespoli blames Mother Nature. "We had a blizzard. There were also an unusual amount of people on the streets on Sunday night and those cars never made it back to the curbs," he said, referring to stranded vehicles and the difficulty they posed in getting plows through certain areas.

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