Working hard for their money
(Page 2 of 3)
“[The board has] a union-busing attitude, and we have no hammer. We can’t strike under the Taylor Law, and we do the best we can to get a fair contract for the workers, but it is impossible to get anywhere with them. I have been with the local for 20 years and have never seen anything like this,” Gatto added.
At the low end, Gatto said, workers earn $23,000 a year, causing many of them to need second jobs to support their families.
“That is below the state’s poverty level,” Gatto pointed out.
At the top end, a worker with more than 20 years at the district can earn about $70,000, he said.
“Our workers got a bad rap after Sandy,” Gatto said. “You can’t put furniture in garbage truck, and everybody’s life possessions was piled at the curb after the storm. It was like trying to put a band-aid on a gunshot wound. We worked all sorts of overtime and the men were promised a new contract, a good contract, if they went out and worked the overtime that was necessary to get things done. They came in a 4 in the morning and went home late even though their homes and families were devastated as well. The promise was never kept. The men got promises of more hours rather than raises.”
“We were just strung along,” he concluded.
Insiders, who asked not to be identified because they fear retribution, say that air conditioners were removed from the trucks to save money, but that foremen and other supervisors get new air-conditioned SUVs. In addition, they say, the men get no lunch break nor any other breaks during the work day and often have to work in 100-degree heat.
According to Gatto, there are nine foreman for 47 workers, a ratio higher than that even of the New York City Sanitation Department. Those foreman, insiders say, earn upwards of $100,000 a year.
And, while the district provided a two-page budget to the Herald without enumerating individual salaries or expenses, a town audit three years ago revealed that Charles Scarlata, the district supervisor was earning more than $200.000 a year at that time. In addition, according to that audit, Scarlata was due a deferred compensation package of $25,000 a year for 15 years after he leaves the district.