Dec 6, 2019 | News Story

Snow Equipment Breakdowns Show City’s Not Ready for Next Big Storm

The first significant storm of the season brought a test for New York City’s snow equipment — and it failed, says the head of the city’s mechanics’ union. At least seven of the 705 salt spreaders deployed for the storm, along with three mini spreaders and four other vehicles, broke down after hitting the road Sunday night when the city was hit with a wintry mix of snow and rain, according to 246 SEIU President Joseph Colangelo.

“This is like a test case with a little bit of rain and snow,” President Colangelo told the Daily News. "They broke down right away and we were able to fix it. Come a major storm, we’re not going to be able to fix it.”  

Recent years have seen the city outsource more and more mechanic work to private businesses. But they don’t know what they’re doing, says Colangelo. Vehicles “go to a private shop; they have no idea how these vehicles work. They have no idea what to repair. The first storm that goes out and what do you think happens? They break.” That leaves Sanitation Department mechanics to clean up the mess, while their numbers have been declining.

“Workers who maintain our city fleet have been sounding the alarm for months, and if you double the number of snow removal and other maintenance vehicles, you have to hire more mechanics,” NYC CLC President Vincent Alvarez told The Chief Leader. “It’s just simple math and common sense. We need to stop investing in outsourcing to private vendors and re-invest in the trained and qualified city mechanics before the next storm.” Read more in the Daily News and the Chief.