Sanitation Whistleblowers Say Department Intentionally Delayed NYC Snow Removal

Was the slow snow removal in New York City the result of a planned Sanitation Department protest to make the Mayor pay for reducing their staff? That’s what several whistleblowers are reportedly saying, according to the New York Post.

UPDATE: At a news conference this morning, the Mayor called the allegations an “outrage,” and both he and the Sanitation Commissioner vowed to investigate.

City Councilman Dan Halloran told the Post that he was visited Wednesday by three snow plow operators and two Department of Transportation supervisors who said their bosses told them to “make the Mayor pay” with intentional foot dragging and goldbricking for budget cutbacks and staff reductions. They say they purposefully drove over streets with plows raised above street level so they would have to make more passes and could claim more overtime. They say other tactics included skipping over streets and only plowing streets that had been assigned to them. Others claim some workers intentionally sabotaged blows and salt spreaders. Mostly the workers said they were told to keep their plows off most streets and wait for further instructions.

The Sanitation Department denied the accusations outright. A spokesman told the Post, “There are no organized or wildcat actions being taken by the sanitation workers or the supervisors.” A union spokesman representing agency supervisors called the story “hogwash” but acknowledged that there was “resentment” in the ranks towards the Mayor. In response to the claims a Bloomberg spokesman would only say, “We would hope this is not the case.”

Meanwhile, New York magazine reports that the major factor in delaying snow removal was that the Mayor didn’t declare a snow emergency until Sunday morning, even thought the National Weather Center had issued a winter-storm watch the morning prior. Because of the low snow threat level, city buses kept operating, and without chains. This left tons of buses stranded across the city when the storm hit, blocking intersections and clogging roads. And it wasn’t until Sunday at 8 am that the Sanitation Department brought in outside workers to help, too late to mobilize and make an impact. Further complicating matters were that 100 of the snow plow operators were totally green, getting their training on the job on Sunday.

In the midst of the storm, a newborn died 10 hours after her mother gave birth inside a snow-bound lobby in Crown Heights. Plows hadn’t cleared the streets and emergency responders couldn’t get to them in time.

The whistleblowers claims should be thoroughly investigated. And the Mayor needs to be called to task for not raising the hue and cry soon enough. That it was Christmas isn’t an excuse. If anything it made the need for an effective and aggressive response more urgent.

There’s a lot of outrage out there and accusations and finger pointing is flying left and right. It’ll be interesting to see what gets revealed as the snow melts.

Sanitation Department’s slow snow cleanup was a budget protest [New York Post]

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  1. agent 47 says:

    Ok, I can’t take it anymore. You New York City kids are the biggest whiners I’ve ever seen in my life. Two feet of snow? OMG! We get that here in Syracuse on a daily basis in the summer! Man up and stop being such babies! There’s nothing you New Yawkers love more than complaining.

    • agent 47 says:

      Oh, I also can’t stand it when people complain about complaining! Stop complaining about the complainers!

    • Necoras says:

      I’m in Texas and it’s not uncommon for schools to close with 2 *inches* of snow. It depends on where you are, how often you see the weather, and how prepared you are. I don’t even own snow chains, much less know how to put them on my tires. I don’t think there are any snow plows in the state, much less a fleet. If we got 2 feet of snow the entire DFW area would shut down for a day or two out of sheer astonishment alone.

      • agent 47 says:

        Ok, that’s I’m a little more understanding of, but this is NYC we’re talking about. They’re still in the north east. They get snow. This isn’t the first time they’ve had a lot of it, but you would think it was the way people talk about it.

    • ames says:

      how’s that spleen? Vented?

      And they’re not complaining about the snow, they’re complaining about the lack of appropriate response.

      • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

        Exactly. If you got that 2 feet in Syracuse AND nobody ever came to clean it up, then you’d be upset, too. (I’m also in Central NY.)

    • probablykate says:

      But in Syracuse they do an excellent job of snow plowing/removal because they are so used to it. It’s a huge mess in NYC or Philly when it snows because they don’t know how to clean up. It’s more difficult to get around Philly after 1 inch of snow than it is to get around Syracuse after 5 feet of snow.

      • Amnesiac85 says:

        Born and raised in Philly. No longer a resident (Atlanta now), but I was there visiting family this weekend. I can honestly say by Monday most of the major roads and many side/back streets were clear for driving.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        There’s also more land in Syracuse to dump the snow. Snow doesn’t just disappear. It has to go somewhere after you plow it, and cities are finding it very difficult to find good places to put the snow when there’s so much of it. There are strict guidelines as to how much snow you can dump into the rivers, lakes, etc.

    • Ahardy55 says:

      Yeah! Two feet of snow that went almost entirely unplowed? What effect could that possibly have? What a bunch of whiners, bitching about how none of their mass transits is running due to massive snowdrifts/banks in a city were only like 95% of the population takes mass transit.
      Man up and stop such an ignorant f$^#*nard

    • majortom1981 says:

      Wouldnt you complaining about the complainers make you a hypocrite? Also like other people have stated unlike upstate new york in NYC there is NOWHERE for that snow to be plowed TO.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I’m in CO and it’s the same – people really seem to freak out like they have never seen the sky falling before. Same with rain.

      But we also have a lot of people move from different states to be here.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        I want to move to Colorado because they have LESS snow than I see now (at least where I want to be at)…stupid lake effect snow. I’ve driven in 2 feet of snow. I didn’t enjoy it and stayed home the day we got a bunch overnight, but I can get through it.

      • lucky13 says:

        I’m in Colorado too and we’re finally getting our first real snowstorm of the season (east of the mountains). But it is amusing to see all the transplants freak out every time a snowflake hits the ground.

      • RobSmalls says:

        I’ve observed that the Washington DC area is full of dehydrated idiots: Just add water. Traffic is bad enough dry, but when it rains or snows it becomes nigh unbearable. They will also cancel school because it’s cold out – not snow or ice, just because it’s cold. I hail from the Black Hills of South Dakota originally, and this stuff out here makes me laugh. Snowpocalypse 2010 here in DC is your average January in SD.

        • tsukiotoshi says:

          Hah, I’m a Mainer living in DC and it always cracks me up how little snow it takes to shut down the city.

        • 451.6 says:

          Hey, we hardly ever get snow so it doesn’t take much. I still remember the blizzard of ’98 when we were out of school for almost a week. And I then I went to college in an area that got lake effect snow and toughened up MIGHTY quickly. I didn’t even know that it was possible to have enough snow accumulation that the county would send out dump trucks to cart it away.

    • Commenter24 says:

      Not everyone in NYC is complaining. I live in Manhattan and I think the city has done a fine job taking care of the areas I frequent.

    • mydailydrunk says:

      you live in Syracuse. that is punishment enough

    • ElizabethD says:

      Wow. Is it possible that every single one of the previous respondents to this comment missed the sarcasm? Missed the spoof content? (Referencing the old “I walked five miles to school in blizzards” meme) Here was your big clue, peeps: “Two feet of snow? OMG! We get that here in Syracuse on a daily basis in the summer!”

      Yes, agent 47 said “summer.”

  2. Overheal says:

    “Meanwhile, New York magazine reports that the major factor in delaying snow removal was that the Mayor didn’t declare a snow emergency until Sunday morning, even thought the National Weather Center had issued a winter-storm watch the morning prior.”

    So the Mayor of NYC is supposed to declare a State of Emergency every time there is a weather Watch?

    • Alvis says:

      Exactly. First things have to go bad before it’s an emergency.

      • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

        It’s common in the northeast to declare a snow emergency before it hits. You can see on weather tracking that the thing is big and headed right for you. It’s not like you don’t know what’s going to happen. He should have declared an emergency Sunday.

        • DarthCoven says:

          He should have declared an emergency Saturday.

          FTFY

          • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

            You’re right, actually. Giving him the benefit of a day. But yes, as soon as it was a blizzard warning and there was no chance of the forecast being wrong, it should have been declared.

            • reishka says:

              There’s always the chance of the forecast being wrong.

              The city of Waterbury, CT knew last year that we were supposed to get a huge storm that was going to bury us all in. They shut down the city, canceled school, shops never opened, they sanded/salted the roads, called in more EMS, etc. How much snow did we get? About two inches. And they just KNEW with 100% certainty we were going to be buried in! We could see it coming, etc, etc. It was supposed to be horrible. And we get two inches. Some state of emergency, huh?

              • DarthCoven says:

                Better to err on the side of caution when lives and livelihoods are at stake.

                • HogwartsProfessor says:

                  Yes, and that’s exactly why they blow the tornado siren here when a supercell a county away is headed in that direction. It MIGHT poop out before it gets to you, but it might not. Some say “Oh, if they blow it too often no one will listen to it,” blah blah blah. After two or three years of killer tornadoes (including one that wiped two separate town squares off the map), people pay attention. Better to be cautious and watch that radar, blow that siren, than get people killed.

    • DarthCoven says:

      It was a full blown winter storm warning by Saturday night. They should have declared the snow emergency then. They knew it was going to hit and they knew it would be big, but they dragged their feet and NYers paid for it, literally (missed work, injuries, fatalities).

      • Alvis says:

        A storm warning is not an emergency. A currently-going-on storm is. How is this hard to grasp?

        • DarthCoven says:

          Yes, mobilize thousands of sanitation workers, EMS, fire dept and police IN THE MIDDLE of the storm, so they’re all travelling to their posts while winds are gusting 40+ mph and 2-3 inches an hour are falling. Declare the snow emergency DURING the storm so people have to run out in the middle of said storm to move their cars from snow emergency routes.

          Brilliant idea.

          The reason you declare the snow emergency BEFORE the storm is so you are prepared when it hits. You don’t *react* to something like this, you *anticipate* it. The city knew for sure that this thing was going to hit and hit big 24 hours in advance and didn’t start mobilizing until the morning of the storm.

          I sincerely hope you never run for public office or find yourself in charge of critical services like EMS, Fire Dept, etc….

          • RvLeshrac says:

            Mobilize thousands of etc BEFORE the storm! Then, if the storm blows over, get REAMED because you “Wasted taxpayer money.”

            • DarthCoven says:

              They knew with 100% certainty on Saturday that this thing was going to hit and hit big. When you’re that certain you act. You don’t worry about what the voters will think.

            • megafly says:

              forget taxpayer money. How much would the Jewish mayor be vilified for calling in all hands on Christmas if the snow had just been rain?

              • DarthCoven says:

                My answer to that: Tough shit. If they don’t want to risk working on a holiday then they shouldn’t be public employees. it’s a risk you take when the taxpayer pays your salary.

              • Southern says:

                This is NYC tho – they’re in such financial straits that they don’t even have enough money to pay attention, let alone pay “thousands of people” to mobilize without knowing how bad the situation is until after it happens.

                Even FEMA doesn’t fully deploy until AFTER a storm and they access damage (although they will pre-deploy certain resources like (gas) tankers, water, MRE’s, etc).. And that’s FEDERAL, where they don’t CARE how much money they spend. :-)

                If Bloomberg had spent millions of dollars preparing for something that blew over (it missed us!) or wasn’t as bad as anticipated, he’d be called on the carpet for it.

        • DarthCoven says:

          Here’s an analogy:

          A fleet of warships from Country X is sailing across the ocean right towards our shores. Do we:

          A) mobilize the National Guard, position our Navy and Air National Guard, lay underwater minefields, etc. while the enemy is still on their way

          or

          B) wait for the enemy fleet to arrive in our coastal waters and start deploying their armies on our soil. Only then do we call up our troops and prepare them for battle.

    • The_Lonely_Tourist says:

      Wrong. The governor of Virginia declared a State of Emergency on Christmas, before the snow. You don’t have to wait for things to go awry before calling in for help.

    • mac-phisto says:

      the NWS issued a blizzard warning that reported the chance of precipitation as 100%, with accumulation expected to be more than a few inches. so yes, it was the mayor’s duty to ensure that the proper personnel were mobilized for the cleanup effort. this is SOP for a snowstorm.

  3. Stickdude says:

    “If they’re true, the Mayor should fire the Sanitation Department from snow removal and outsource the work to private contractors.”

    How about, “If they’re true, the DA should prosecute Sanitation Department supervisors for criminal negligence”?

    • dolemite says:

      Somehow, I doubt that will fly.

      • Stickdude says:

        Agreed. You’d first have prove that the allegations are even true, and then prove that the deaths that occurred were a direct result of the slow-down.

        Hard to do in real life, but it would make for a good Law & Order episode… :)

    • Banned in DC says:

      Just a snow emergency, not a disaster declaration. In some cities, snow emergencies gear up agencies for snow removal, start special parking rules to get cars off major snow routes to make plowing easier, and start overtime rules that allow city workers to make preparations.

    • Walkindude says:

      But that would not fit into the Conservative meme of destroying the government.

      You should probably look at this guy first to ask those hard questions:

      http://www.dailykosbeta.com/story/2010/12/29/886419/-New-York,-meet-the-Republican-responsible-for-this-mess

      There is a definite meme to making sure the internet is not all it seems:

      http://www.alternet.org/media/149197/are_right-wing_libertarian_internet_trolls_getting_paid_to_dumb_down_online_conversations/?page=2

      • Stickdude says:

        I just love it when people inject politics into a completely non-political story.

        Well done.

        • Walkindude says:

          How is union bashing not political? And the call to privatize?, both are rightwing dog whistles, the politics were in the story.

          I just am tired of them getting away with it unchallenged.

          Do you like the state the nation is in right now?

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            He wasn’t bashing unions, he was bashing a specific organization because of a specific incident. That is not political.

          • Stickdude says:

            I still don’t get where you’re coming from.

            Assuming (for the sake of argument) that the story is true, are you defending the union’s actions here?

            • Daemon Xar says:

              Why make that assumption? How is that helpful?

              Here, we have an unverified story created solely by the word of a particular member of the New York Legislature, who is anything but neutral when it comes to public employee unions. Why the hell would we assume that he’s not full of it?

              • Stickdude says:

                If you don’t know what “for the sake of argument” means, then never mind…

                • Daemon Xar says:

                  No, I do know what it means. I’m an attorney. I like to play the Devil’s advocate, and to assume arguendo. But the assumption you were making was useless to the discussion at hand. Where did Walkindude suggest that it would be okay if the union actually did what they’re accused of doing? You’re using an hypothetical assumption to set up a strawman. He was making the point that a Republican councilman going after a union is almost certainly political.

                  • Stickdude says:

                    Well, he’s the one that turned the allegations into some grand conspiracy to destroy the government on behalf of conservatives.

                    Do I personally believe the allegations? Not without more proof than I’ve seen presented so far. I do agree that it’s not the first time a Republican has criticized unions to score political points. On the other hand, if the allegations are true it also wouldn’t be the first time a union has resorted to tactics like these to score political points of their own. Like most stores of this type, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

          • 99 1/2 Days says:

            I sincerely doubt the union thugs that held the city hostage vote Republican.

      • Consumeristing says:

        You gotta be an idiot of several magnitudes if you thinks “dailykos” is a reputable source of information.

  4. rbb says:

    It’s Chicago in 1979 all over again.

    • humphrmi says:

      Yeah the coincidences are funny – in Chicago, a new-ish mayor named Michael B[ilandic] who’s career was thwarted by a poor response to a snowstorm. Now, in New York, a new-ish mayor named Michael B[loomberg]…

      • DarthCoven says:

        New-ish? He’s in his third term. He’s had damn near a decade to be ready for something like this. In fact, prior storms were handled just fine. February’s snow storm dropped more snow, yet they didn’t fuck up like they did here.

        • humphrmi says:

          Three terms, feh. We got mayors here in Chicago who served three terms while an up-and-coming Daley was taking a piss.

    • Dr.Wang says:

      I remember that storm, I was there, snowed-in at Addison and Lake Shore Dr. We were stuck for almost 4 days. And we remembered it in the next election too. Now I live in Arizona where snow is something we see on TV, which is as close as I care to get. Thanks RBB for the memory!

    • Dr.Wang says:

      I remember that storm, I was there, snowed-in at Addison and Lake Shore Dr. We were stuck for almost 4 days. And we remembered it in the next election too. Now I live in Arizona where snow is something we see on TV, which is as close as I care to get. Thanks RBB for the memory!

      • rbb says:

        What do you mean no snow in Arizona? ;^)
        In 1979, I was at Northwestern. I loved reading the Trib everyday just for the headlines slamming Bilandic. The pinnacle event was when Bilandic went on TV to tell everyone to move their cars off the streets to one of a number of cleared lots. The purpose was to get the streets cleared so they could be properly plowed. Any car left on the street would be ticketed. What happened next was unbeliveable. The lots the mayor told the people to move their cars to were NOT cleared. Lots and lots of people got tickets. Talk about a firestorm…

  5. Cameraman says:

    Find the organizers of this work slowdown and charge them with involuntary manslaughter. People died because ambulances couldn’t get them to the hospital on time. This isn’t the first snowfall the city has ever seen. They didn’t have these kinds of problems in 1996, in 2006, or even last winter, when we had similar snow totals.

    Someone needs to go to jail, and Bloomberg, Doherty, Sadik-Khan, and Goldsmith all need to resign or commit sepuku.

    • rpm773 says:

      This. The blood of that Crown Heights newborn is on the hands of these assholes.

    • Daemon Xar says:

      A group of guilt-stricken NY Republican lawmakers just approached me to confess their shameless plot to embarass/try to break the sanitation union by putting out false and scurrilous rumors about a deliberate attempt to slow snow response. I’m not going to reveal their names because they’re afraid of retaliation. They were told by party bosses to make the sanitation union pay for supporting Democratic candidates in most elections and for, you know, wanting the city to honor its contracts and obligations.

      We should lynch the leadership of the Republican party in New York.

      • Cameraman says:

        Yeah, yeah, poor unions. Occam’s Razor tells us that when a city that never had problems removing snow in a timely manner can’t seem to remove snow in a timely manner, something is fishy. “Illegal work action” sounds more likely than “whoops, this snow which is identical to many other snows we’ve had in the past is somehow more difficult to plow”.

        • Daemon Xar says:

          Except that it fell faster and harder than usual, the city had four hundred fewer workers to do the work, stupid people abandoned their cars in the middle of roads, it was a holiday (so many people were out and about, including city employees), and the mayor declared a snow emergency pretty late?

          This was not an ordinary storm. http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/local_news/major-storm-pounds-new-york-region-20101226-lgf

          Are you blaming the problems that other cities have experienced on wildcatting unions? Like, say, New Jersey? Or Seattle last year?

          Occam’s razor says that in the absence of clear evidence, the simplest explanation is likely the correct one. Which is simpler–1) that mother nature dished out a hell of a storm, or 2) that union employees ALL decided to screw over their friends, neighbors, and families (not to mention themselves) in order to punish a mayor for budget cuts, despite the fact that their actions largely don’t affect him?

          • zibby says:

            You’re really determined not to believe this, aren’t you? My advice would be to keep an open mind…certainly nothing has been proven, but it’s not exactly some crazy, out-of-the-question notion, either. Don’t know if you were hanging around in NYC in 1996, but that blizzard was pretty much mopped up 24 hours after the snow stopped with staffing levels that are comparable to current (post cut) levels. Oh well, we’ll see what the blue-ribbon committee finds out….those are always time and money well spent…

            • Daemon Xar says:

              Not so much determined not to believe it as actually open-minded, and sick and tired of 1) conservative media jumping on BS stories because they’re sensational (see Sherrod, Shirley), 2) the rest of the (slightly less conservative) media deciding that anything the partisan hack Matt Drudge reports is actually news, even when it’s not (see also Sherrod, Shirley), and 3) Republicans blaming every bad thing on those damned unions.

              It’s entirely possible that the sanitation unions actually did deliberately slow down. It’s not terribly likely, however, and reporting it as fact based on the assertions by one biased politician using secret “sources” is crappy reporting at its near-worst.

  6. MPD01605 says:

    Can’t wait until the lawsuits against the Sanitation Department start for the people who died because of uncleared streets.

  7. Coney Freak says:

    I can totally believe this. On monday afternoon I took a walk around my area ( Bath beach in Brooklyn) and I observed multiple sanitation plows just going us and down the same already plowed main street and skipping all the side streets. I felt that something odd was going on. It was not a case of the streets being blocked as the there were no vehicles stuck. I have never seen such a poor response. The side streets in my area were finally plowed early Wed. morning.

  8. DGC says:

    If you can’t believe the New York Post, who can you believe?

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      Ha, didn’t even notice the source on this. Nice.

    • Megalomania says:

      The question isn’t whether the New York Post is believable, but rather whether the allegations made by THEIR sources are credible.

      • Kate says:

        Um, sources from the New York Post though. Not real credible.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Except the Post’s source is the City Councilman. Unless he’s lying, or the Post published false information, the source is credible. Neither the Post nor the councilman is saying the accusation is true because there is (thus far) no evidence, but you can’t say the Post’s source is not credible.

          • Daemon Xar says:

            Sure I can. The New York Post isn’t exactly a neutral news source, and the Republican councilman is hardly neutral when it comes to major public unions. Add to that the fact that he’s refusing to confirm even one of his sources, and you have a recipe for a story that lacks credibility.

            There will be an investigation, and he’ll have to disclose his sources. Then we’ll find out if there’s anything to this story.

            • zibby says:

              Yeah, Democratic politicians are really impartial when it comes to labor unions – they know where their bread is buttered. If i had something like this to bring to light, I’d go to a Republican, too – just a waste of effort otherwise.

  9. Froggmann says:

    If this is true then whomever organized this “protest” should be strung up on manslaughter charges for the death of the infant and anybody else who would have been saved if the streets were clear.

    • jesusofcool says:

      I know. What an incredibly sad case. That sort of thing just should not happen in today’s day and age, snow or no snow. Somebody wasn’t thinking or trying hard enough.

  10. CityGuySailing says:

    One of the problems with NYCity snow removal is that they have NO WHERE to put the snow except in the rivers (East, Hudson, Harlem), or the LI Sound, or the bays and Atlantic ocean. Upstate, they can push it to the roadside, no problem. In the city, it piles up because there is roadside to push it to, and to top it off, the homeowners, shopowners, face fines if they don’t CLEAR the sidewalks, which the city is perfectly happy issue summonses for.

    • CityGuySailing says:

      I meant to say that there is NO roadside to push it to.

    • vastrightwing says:

      My guess is they can’t “dump” snow in the river due to some insane environmental law that says you can’t dump “anything” into the river. It doesn’t matter that snow is merely frozen water or that snow naturally falls from the sky. The law says you can’t dump stuff in the river and since snow from the city wasn’t originally in the river, sorry!

    • Bativac says:

      Why don’t they send out roving gangs of guys with flamethrowers to just melt the snow? Hell, I’d volunteer. Their only incurred costs would be the flamethrowers and flamethrower fuel. And they probably have the flamethrowers just lying around, anyway.

      • huadpe says:

        because it would turn into solid ice which would turn every city street into a skating rink.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        They actually have melting trucks that melt snow poured into them, filter the liquid, then release the water into nearby storm drains/sewers. Problem is they become pretty much stationary/tethered to their drains, so you need to bring the snow to them.

  11. majortom1981 says:

    I live on long island. I never could understand why the dept of sanitation deals with snow removal. Most towns on LI the dept of public works handles it.

    We have true PLOWS do it . Not garbage trucks with plows on them. Now weird front loaders. Full on trucks designed for snow plowing. Big trucks with 4wd and chains and everything.

    This is on long island outside the city.

  12. Cameraman says:

    Also, I would love, love to hear why Commissioner Cassano and Chiefs McFarland and Sweeny didn’t think it was necessary to put chains on fire trucks and ambulances.

    • DarthCoven says:

      I read an article on CBSNews.com that stated the ambulances aren’t designed the use chains and could be heavily damaged by them.

      I think we need a new fleet of ambulances.

      • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

        Sounds like BS. There are newer types of chains available that aren’t made of actual chain and fit most any tire.

        • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

          And then there’s the studded snow tires available, too. No need to toss out perfectly good ambulances.

        • DarthCoven says:

          From http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/12/30/bloomberg-new-yorkers-also-to-blame/

          “The fire department trains firefighters and emergency medical services workers on driving in all types of weather. Firefighters put shovels and salt aboard engines to help clear roads and snow chains to plow through snowy streets.
          But ambulances can’t be outfitted with snow chains because it would damage the vehicles. Plus, ambulance drivers are trained to try to get as close to the emergency as possible, because they carry heavy gear — and sometimes heavy patients.”

          Maybe BS, but that’s the excuse they’re going with.

          Also, slapping on a chain is a helluva lot easier than swapping out regular tires for snow tires.

          • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

            Swapping out tires is a cinch. When I lived in snow country, I kept a set of tires with chains permanently mounted on them, in my trunk. I found it a lot easier to change tires than muck around with chains. Regular skiers can do chains much faster than me. Another advantage of studs is that you don’t have to take them off as soon as you reach dry pavement, speeding up the trip to the hospital at normal speed. They do not have to dump the fleet, which is what I meant by BS.

    • kc2idf says:

      Putting chains on a vehicle is no small task. Once done, the vehicle is constrained to a maximum speed of about 15 MPH, and they must not be driven on any surface without ice or snow on it.

      That said, some fire departments in upstate New York have what are called “automatic chains” which deploy hydraulically and only ride under the tire itself. When each cross-chain comes out from behind the tire, it gets swung around sideways and repositioned to go under the front. The driver can deploy these at the flick of a switch, and these would be a great solution.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      There’s a reason Ice Road truckers and the such don’t keep the chains on their tires all the time, even though they are only driving between stops in Alaska where is it snowy all the time.

  13. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    I also heard they have been planning for 3,000 years for 12/25 to be a holiday, and for it to fall on a weekend like it did in 2010!

    Just think about how often when something bad happens, that multiple groups take credit. This is just people taking advantage of a natural disaster to try to move an agenda.

  14. props_nyc says:

    the link to the article is for the print version…

  15. mac-phisto says:

    unions are pretty powerful in NYC, but this powerful? an unofficial action that would conceivably involve thousands of workers? & of those thousands of workers, 3 unnamed individuals were the only leaks?

    this is just power politics.

  16. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Should these accusations be true, members of the Sanitation Department could be brought up on murder charges, given the dead infant.

  17. bgeek says:

    Fire’em all and hire people who want to work.

  18. MeCatLikesMeHamSanwich says:

    Ahem, Union and Government bureaucracy at its finest.

  19. verbatim613 says:

    Don’t worry too much union guys, only a few people died.

  20. Urgleglurk says:

    Well, we have some whistleblowers, but do they have any proof other than their unsupported word? Otherwise, it’s very difficult to prove there was any kind of job action.
    Am I the only one to think this might be a way for Bloomberg to cover up his own screwup?

  21. Maximus Pectoralis says:

    “The whistleblowers claims should be thoroughly investigated. If they’re true, the Mayor should fire the Sanitation Department from snow removal and outsource the work to private contractors.”

    Good luck with that one. They’ll be screaming fire and brimstone and “deeyy terrk err jeerrrrbbs!” and probably rioting and looting shops on the street at the very thought their entitled union members not getting $75/hr in overtime to drive a truck..

  22. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    “Nearly 100 sanitation drivers were rookies, receiving their training on the job on Sunday.” THAT explains the loader-tow truck comedy from yesterday.

    • DarthCoven says:

      I think that was the scariest sentence in the whole article. Green drivers pushing tons of steel, snow and ice down heavily populated streets.

  23. Tallanvor says:

    My understanding is that a lot of snow removal had been outsourced to private companies, who couldn’t keep up because they had a lot of people on vacation. And, of course, when the sanitation department has lost 500 people to layoffs, it’s quite obvious that they won’t be able to do as much anyway.

  24. Walkindude says:

    Sigh.

  25. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Conspiracy theory. I wonder if I would be crafty enough politically to (as mayor of a giant city) get the voters all pissed at my defiant workforce for a mistake I made by spreading a rumor. You don’t get to a position like that being naive. Nawwww, we’re not all sheeple.

  26. tr41nwr3ck says:

    People dying in snow-related emergencies: Your tax cuts and smaller government at work.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      Or maybe the government should have been more careful with the money they had instead of wasting it on useless crap.

      Also, I didn’t know that NYC had any tax cuts.

  27. foodfeed says:

    complaining about snow screams lazy. buy a shovel or go fix a snack and wait for spring.

  28. jim says:

    hey, its all good as long as the union continues to get their benefits and pay raises.

    unions for government workers should be outlawed.

    way too much power and influence over the temporary elected officials

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      Very interesting suggestion, but remember, unions had nothing to do with this debacle.

      • Maximus Pectoralis says:

        So none of the thug drivers who intentionally failed to do their job, costing vast amounts of money and even resulting in the death of innocent citizens, were union members? When was the last time you heard of a non-unionized public DPW / Santiation Department?

        I’ve known many union people, many of my family members are union thugs, and this sounds like exactly the kind of BS they would try to pull. Who cares if people get killed, as long as they stand for their “principles” (read: sense of entitlement)

        • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

          This was not a union sanctioned action. Actually, the work slowdown may not have even taken place at all. Even if evidence says there was a slowdown, that would not explain most of the stupidity. The fact that they threw 100 green drivers behind the wheels of Caterpillars may account for the fact that things were fubar. Too bad ‘smaller government’ had laid off so many experienced workers. Why weren’t the buses using chains? Why the F*&$ weren’t the snow removal vehicles using chains? It only took the emergency crew 12 minutes to WALK to aid the newborn once they decided it was important enough. I was a sanitation engineer for years and never joined the union (which is a parasite) I’m no union lover but until evidence proves guilty, my finger of guilt points to flagrant mismanagement. I mean, come on, a little snow brings the Big Apple to its knees!?

  29. JBlank912 says:

    Brings back memories of the 1969 Lindsay Snowstorm. They blamed the mayor then and hould blame the mayor now.

  30. Pax says:

    Further complicating matters were that 100 of the snow plow operators were totally green, getting their training on the job on Sunday.

    …. like the guy who demolished the SUV, getting his front loader un-stuck?

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      I wonder why they needed 100 new guys. Maybe they shouldn’t have laid off so many of the experienced workers. “Aw heck, we can replace those expensive (experienced) workers with only a day’s notice.”

  31. novajosh says:

    Is there a reason this is public sector union work instead of private sector?

  32. conscious says:

    How does one deny allegations outright when the logical thing is to investigate?

    Having a spokesperson tell us nothing is going on before they themselves even know or not is probably a reasonable indicator that something IS going on.

    This whole thing stinks…. lllliiike garbage. *yyyeaahhh*

  33. james says:

    This is nothing but Bloomberg trying to cover his own very exposed rear end.

    OT should have been authorized as the first flakes fell, as the storm was announced in advance to be a significant one. Sanitation plows should have had chains on their tires, at the first snowflake, buses and firetrucks, ditto.

    The orders were not given, and under Bloomberg, one is not allowed to act on initiative.

    We will be glad to see Bloomberg go. Here in Manhattan, major upper east side bus lines like M86 and M15 were crippled by this lack of leadership and lack of delegation of authority nonsense. Are we supposed to believe that MTA (subways and busses), FDNY (fire and ambulance), and Sanitation all conspired to make Bloomberg “look bad”?

    The simplest answer is the most plausible – we needed a new major at the last election, but we let Mikey buy himself another term. Mikey needs to resign, and let someone who works for a living do the job.

  34. flip says:

    we’re complaining about the lack of response time to THE CLEAN UP !!!!!!!!!
    2 Feet of snow yes but, when its there for days on end. There is a problem. Doesnt take a Ph.D to figure that out.

  35. jake.valentine says:

    Unions are an anchor helping to pull the country under water. Why do public employees need a union?!? All over the country they have good pay, benefits, and more days off than any private sector worker. Unions are doing great work all over Europe and the US to help their countries better themselves…….oh wait, they are killing their countries while using extortion techniques to continually increase their members entitlements at the expense of the MAJORITY of their respective fellow citizens.

    • majortom1981 says:

      This has nothing to do with unions. Stop listening to the media. has everything to do with nycs government. I live on long island and if we can get our streets all clear with union help then the city can also. Its the city government that isthe problem.

      Plus what equipment they are using. Why garbage trucks and weird pay loaders? On li they use big 4wd trucks with chains and 4wd pickup trucks with chains. The bigger trucks put down salt as they plow.

      • jake.valentine says:

        majortom1981 says this has nothing to do with unions so it must be so……..(sarcasm). Thanks for the opinion, but unions (particularly public employee unions) are an increasing problem throughout the country. I don’t believe this situation was just coincidence that there was some honest mistake as compared to prior snowfalls. Union personnel sabotaged the response and the citizens of NYC paid the price. Public employee unions directly conflict with whats best for the people.

    • tr41nwr3ck says:

      Don’t YOU like a decent paycheck for your work? I sure do. Then unionism properly supports that. Don’t listen to the propaganda which suggests otherwise.

      • jake.valentine says:

        “Don’t YOU like a decent paycheck for your work?”

        Yes, that is why I continually better myself within my career field in order to provide more value for my employer as my increased productivity leads to improved profit. Union personnel expect ever increasing entitlements based solely on the fact that they belong to a group. There is a huge difference. Most media is controlled by the Left and as such, I am skeptical of the typical pro-union propaganda that they push.

        • kung fu lola says:

          You’re lucky to work for an employer who translates greater profit into better wages for the employees, instead of pocketing the surplus and laughing all the way to the bank.

          Most of us aren’t so privileged, but we still have rent, mortgages, or other debts to pay.

  36. dush says:

    The mayor’s office said they didn’t cut santitation budget at all.
    The sanitation department said they were down a bunch of workers.
    Who lied?

  37. stormbird says:

    It’s possible the union officials behind this (five came forward and others confirmed this off the record) would be criminally responsible for the baby’s death (criminal negligent homicide) and also civilly on the hook for damages to cars, pain and suffering, lost wages and so on. I am not a lawyer but imagine that there’d be enough shysters in NYC to want to go after unions and the city and various officials. At the very least, small claims court could be kept very busy for months.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      It took 12 minutes for the emergency crew to get to the baby once they decided to. The 10 hours was them deciding to.

  38. mydailydrunk says:

    are there enough trolls on this thread or what? Bloomberg screwed the pooch.

  39. jayro23 says:

    What blows my mind almost weekly on the union bashing I hear is that fact that mos if not all of the laws we have came about by organized labor. Unions have become such a whipping boy in politics that we are almost completely desensitized. I for one enjoy the overtime after 40 hr, the 5 day work week, the safety regulations that are in place to protect us from employee abuse. I also enjoy a robust marketplace where we all have several options but like any system, rules are needed to keep the market from being murderous or suicidal.

    On the brightside, the snow will melt by April or so. Oh noes, I think I just gave conservatives a new talking point.

  40. jaredwilliams says:

    If they weren’t dragging their feet they weren’t out at all, because I saw VERY few plows and I went through New York 10 hours after the storm started and Philadelphia New Jersey Connecticut Mass and New Hampshire were pretty fucking clear, New York was Bad, if the drivers aren’t bad enough the going was MORE than slow, literally 18 MPH was as fast as you could go, the tools in the trucks going any faster were sliding and crashing. I saw way too many accidents. This isn’t really a job you can protest, clean the fucking snow before people crash and get hurt or die.

  41. Penn20 says:

    I find that very easy to believe .

  42. sj_user1 says:

    Pics or it didn’t happen. The mayor has been cutting services for years and is now blaming the unions for his incompetence. Private contractors would end up costing the city much more.

  43. PsiCop says:

    The theory that city workers sabotaged cleanup sounds like a paranoid conspiracy theory, of the type that I — and many others — typically dismiss. But while it’s wild-sounding, it’s not implausible. Worker slowdowns as a kind of retribution against employers, is not unheard of in the public sector. Ever hear of “the blue flu,” wherein police officers call in sick because they aren’t allowed to go on strike? It’s also not unheard of in the private sector, either.

    But I have to say New Yorkers sure sound like wimps. Where I live we had well over a foot of snow … and we were driving in it. I saw emergency vehicles going past my house several times during the blizzard, they had no trouble getting around. Time for New Yorkers to toughen up and actually live up to their “don’t stop for anything” reputations.