what do you get?
After we put out issue 98, with the story on the conditions that the LIC warehouse workers are facing, things took a surreal turn.
Seems that the union, Teamster's Local 237, had called for a meeting with its members who work in the warehouse. Gossip had it that the union Chiefs wanted to consult with the members on the possibility of making some work rule changes to aid NYCHA in this "crisis."
The workers were not pleased by this gossip. After all, they had been getting a bad deal since Finkel got his friends that $100,000,000 lease. Between the bad publicity and the mismanagement of NYCHA's Material's Management, back-orders were getting huge (a back-order list of over 21,000 items, and growing) and project management was complaining loudly. The warehouse workers were being pushed to the limit in some doomed-to-fail attempt to get things working again.
So the rumor of discussing a possible rule change was not met with joy.
But it was worse than even rumor had it!
The union met with their members AFTER the union had already agreed with NYCHA on the changes.
Two dozen "temporary workers" would be hired by NYCHA, through an employment agency, to assist the stock workers. The "temporary workers" would work nights, from Midnight to 8 AM. They would NOT be union members, would not get benefits and would certainly not be from some Civil Service list. (Until fairly recently, the union would have called these folks "scabs.")
The men were NOT being consulted; they were being directed.
Of course, NYCHA can't just have 24 "scabs" run the warehouse by themselves. So, not only do the poor stock workers have to watch as Civil Service lists are ignored, they now have to work split shifts, and give up any overtime that NYCHA's foolhardy purchase of a crumbling, unsuitable warehouse caused, but both stock workers and their supervisors now have their own home lives disrupted as they are forced to swing shifts to give the "temporary hires" instruction and help with the night work.
Sources tell us the union kept mentioning NYCHA's "emergency" in the backlog of orders. The same sources wonder if that means they should only pay dues during "good times", when the union might try to keep non-union hires out and the union members could expect help when being told to take the work rules and shove-em!
In one of the email, a worker told us:
"So what did the Union say? They said "Well give them the benefit of the doubt for 8 weeks." They said that in an "emergency" it stipulates in the contract that on a temporary basis the city can do this without a fight with the union. Then the union will come back in 8 weeks, to address our gripes.
But what's to say 8 weeks is the end? What if this is a way for NYCHA to try to implement a split schedule on our next contract negotiations? Or maybe try to eliminate future vacancies that NYCHA has right now in the stock worker title, and this is just another way of avoiding the civil service list, or promotions?
The union said that if we give NYCHA a little now, in 8 weeks maybe we can set up a committee to address the many problems in the warehouse. They told us that since we gave management an inch, maybe they will give us back an inch and address some of the horrendous conditions we work under in the warehouse. What a system we work for, and they say the unions are for the workers!
I wonder if Jimmy Hoffa would like to read about this."
Also from Spotty's mail-bag!
Since I last wrote you a couple of years ago I would love to be able to say that NYCHA has changed it's discriminatory ways, but that's not the case. Right now there are so many Federal EEOC cases either active or pending that that agency could probably assign a couple of staff members to NYCHA related cases and be kept busy for the whole year. The sad and disheartening part is that most of these people are longtime employees with 15 years or more of service to NYCHA.
I know of a case where groups of African American employees have had to retain a lawyer just to attempt to get certified from a list for a title that they passed the exam for. Time after time they were called in and passed over, until they couldn't take it anymore. Another telling point is the lack of African Americans in positions of power in NYCHA, an agency that serves and employs a predominate amount of African Americans.
Besides, Hugh Spence, who has title and very little power and Earl Andrews, who is little more than a figurehead, there aren't any African Americans in the higher reaches of NYCHA.
From the Design Department
The promotional vacancy announcements for the Design Department almost always state that the announcement covers vacancies in the department for a period of six months.
So, if your application is denied (which it very often is), you cannot be considered for any promotional opportunities for AT LEAST six months, until another vacancy announcement is posted, which has the very same statement. And then it starts all over again, giving employees who have really earned the chance, no opportunity at anything.
From Operations Services,
Nora Reissig-Lazzaro's backyard:
There was an AM position vacated when Malcolm Shelsky got promoted to Manager. Well, all these hard working AM's came for a job interview. Guess who got the job? a friend of Nick's & Millie Velez!
Word is that he may not even be in an AM title. We hear he may be a Housing Assistant, which means he got a promotion out of this deal.
Meanwhile all those AM's in the field who struggled and truly earned the right to be promoted were just stroked into thinking they might get the job.
They never had a chance!
© 2002 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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