October 9, 2013 | 548 views
Sanitation commissioners will meet to impose contract
District 7 workers overwhelmingly turn down pact
In the wake of an overwhelming rejection of a contract recommended by a fact-finder and offered by the commissioners of Sanitary District 7 in Oceanside to district workers, the commissioners will hold a public meeting on Nov. 21, at 7 p.m., at a site yet to be determined in order to hear from both sides of the negotiations and then to impose a contract for 2011, the first year after the expiration of the former contract. The employees have been working without a contract since December 2010.
The Sanitary Board met at its headquarters, at 90 Mott St., early on Oct. 3 to receive a contract offer from Daniel Gatto, the president of Local 854 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Instead, commissioners were told by their attorney, Anthony Iovino, that even though Gatto had taken a provision calling for sanitation workers to pay a percentage of their health care coverage off the table, they still turned down the contract offer by a 4-to-1 ratio.
On Monday, Gatto said that his members were “upset” at the district’s offer, and turned it down “by a substantial margin.”
“Employees tell me that the count was something like 30 to 7,” Iovino said after the commissioners came out of an executive session. “Even without the health care payments, the union could not sell it to its members. I’ve been told by some workers that they had no idea of what was put in front of them, what the fact-finder’s numbers meant.”
Iovino said that under state labor law, the district commissioners must host a public hearing and impose a contract for 2011. “Then we start all over again,” he said, “negotiating for 2012 and 2013 and subsequent years.”
“The commissioners want to provide relief for the district’s workers, but we can’t get them to come to the table,” Iovino added. “It’s hard for me to understand.”
Gatto said this week that he and his workers would try to avoid the public meeting. “We are in discussion with the commissioners,” he said. “We hope that we will be able to come to an agreement prior to the town meeting, which would then make the meeting moot. Hopefully we can satisfy both the needs of the workers and the district.”