DC37 and New York City Traffic Employees Local 1455 joined forces with public officials to denounce Mayor Michael Bloomberg for considering the privatization of New York City’s parking meters. While the city is taking requests for bids until late August and hasn’t made an official decision on privatizing parking meters, union officials are afraid that the move would lay off hundreds of its members. The union claims that the city would lose a guaranteed $150 million in revenue if privatization occurred.
During a news conference outside of City Hall on Monday, DC37 President Lillian Roberts spoke about the possible negatives of giving the parking system away to private ownership.
“In the past two years, we helped expose the contracting-out fraud in the CityTime scandal. Now we are here again speaking out against privatization that hasn’t worked, doesn’t work and won’t work for our city,” said Roberts on Monday. “The city wants to continue to misspend billions of dollars, this time on an unnecessary private parking contract when city parking system workers are already doing an excellent job, generating approximately $1.2 million per worker in revenue for the city. We’re here to say to Mayor Bloomberg, ‘Don’t break something that’s working.’ “
New York City Council Member and Chair of the Transportation Committee James Vacca echoed similar sentiments.
“I share the concerns raised today about the potential outsourcing of parking meter collection and maintenance workers,” stated Vacca. “Frankly, I see no reason to outsource their maintenance when the men and women of DC37 and CWA have a proven track record of doing a good job at collection and maintenance. The fact that 95 percent of our parking meters are in good working order speaks for itself. I share the city’s interest in parking meter innovation and technology, but outsourcing a workforce that’s already doing a stellar job shouldn’t be part of that process.”
In a publicly released statement, DC37 noted that in the 1980s, New York City awarded a $22 million contract to a company that was found to have bribed city officials, which led to the arrest of 35 individuals. During the Ed Koch administration in the 1980s, the city was weighed down by federal and state corruption cases at places like the Parking Violations Bureau, the Fire Department, the Board of Education and the Buildings Department. A good chunk of those scandals involved private companies–something that Local 1455 President Michael DeMarco reminded the city of as well.
“We believe this move would cost our city money, and we don’t understand why the city is moving forward with this,” said DeMarco. “Privatizing parking services in New York has a long, checkered past. The members of Local 1455 took over parking meter collection services back in the 1980s after private meter collectors stole a million dollars in coins. Since then, we have been doing our jobs and doing them well. We are here today to tell the mayor to put his scheme to rest.”