Category Archive 'Sanitation Department'

05 Jan 2011

Why Not Just Abolish the NYC Sanitation Department?

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Criminal investigations have been opened by both the US Attorney and the Brooklyn District Attorney Offices in connection with reports from Sanitation Department employees that snow removal following the recent blizzard was intentionally delayed by a union job action.

The snitches “didn’t want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation,” [City Councilman Dan] 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.”

New York’s Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process – and pad overtime checks – which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said.

The snow-removal snitches said they were told to keep their plows off most streets and to wait for orders before attacking the accumulating piles of snow.

They said crews normally would have been more aggressive in com bating a fierce, fast-moving blizzard like the one that barreled in on Sunday and blew out the next morning.

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


Union tactics, in this case, cost more than concessions from city government. There were human casualties in the form of New Yorkers denied access to emergency services because the New York Sanitation Department deliberately declined to do its job.

A 75-year-old Queens mother woke up Monday unable to breathe and alerted her daughter, who tried to call 911. She could not get through for 50 minutes. A neighbor administered CPR but EMS was unable to arrive for another 45 minutes—and they still had to walk to her house.

Talking to reporters yesterday the daughter said: “Mayor Bloomberg you can’t bring my mother back. And that’s all I really want. I’ve been with her for 41 years. I miss her, she’s my life. The snow will melt, but this will never fade from my memory ever.”

A 63-year-old man in Bay Ridge died of a heart attack Monday morning after it took paramedics three-and-a-half hours to arrive. “They made him die. They could have saved him,” the victim’s brother-in-law told the Journal. “They worked at him, but it was too late. He was already blue.” And to add to the pain, it took another 28 hours for a city medical examiner to pick up the body, which had been resting in a bag on a bed.

Another woman in Sunset Park spent more than 24 hours waiting for help removing her late-father’s body. She told the News, “this is New York City, and I’m a New Yorker, and this is not the first storm we’ve ever had. Somebody dropped the ball … big-time.”

Hands down the most upsetting story so far is that of a 22-year-old pregnant woman in Crown Heights. As she started contractions the woman began walking from her home to Interfaith Medical Center on Monday morning but couldn’t make it. She stopped in a building lobby at 97 Brooklyn Avenue and 911 was called at 8:30 a.m.. Because the birth seemed a bit off she was listed as nonemergency status. But by 4:30 p.m. she had started crowning and 911 was called again. Around 5:20 p.m. police arrived (by foot since driving was impossible) and found the woman attempting to leave and walk to the hospital again. She was brought back inside and the baby was delivered—but it wasn’t breathing and despite the efforts of police and neighbors the baby was lost.

It was later reported that:

[A] three-month-old infant—who was left brain dead when EMS couldn’t get to his door in time because of snow drifts two days after the storm—succumbed to his injuries yesterday.


Some of us would contend that union officials ought to be prosecuted for negligent homicide and extortion but, at the very least, the City of New York should fire everyone belonging to the union and pass legislation prohibiting union membership for employees of city government.

Tom Smith agrees with me.

If the argument is, some functions are too critical to public safety to put in private hands, then that is an argument against allowing them to be unionized. If unionized, then the state no longer has a monopoly on the power exercised by that arm, which is the whole idea of putting it in the public sphere. So if you can’t have private police forces running around, let’s say, then it makes no sense to have the monopolized force of the state colonized or even dominated by a union with interests frequently opposed to those of the public. ….

Unions have held up states and cities for trillions of dollars in obligations that can’t be paid off. Throw in the costs of an utterly failed public school system in many cities and you get an idea of the scope of folly of government by unions.

When the police went out on strike in Boston in 1919, Governor Coolidge sent in the State Guard to keep order, and the police commissioner fired and replaced the entire force. Governor Coolidge won national admiration for breaking the Boston Police Strike and went on to win the Republic nomination and the presidency.

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