(Staten Island)- In the days following Superstorm Sandy, about 500 of the city’s sanitation workers arrived in Staten Island, one of the worst hit boroughs. Despite many dealing with devastation to their own homes, they worked around the clock for the city and their neighbors. Some for 60 days of 12 hour long shifts.
But now it appears the city is disputing some of the overtime accrued durig that time period and without warning, docked the paychecks of 70 sanitation workers at Staten Island’s Garage 3 by hundreds of dollars. When payday arrived last Friday some workers who normally are paid $700 a week, instead went home with checks for only $350, $200, $100 and even $3. Now the president of the sanitation workers’ union, Harry Nespoli, wants answers.
“What happened? We still don’t know what caused this,” said Nespoli.
The city’s Department of Sanitation turned down PIX11’s request for an on camera interview, but did agree to answer a few questions via email.
In that exchange, the Department acknowledged pay was indeed docked and that it occurred without warning, but said it was “not a mistake and that an audit found discrepancies in the way the workers were credited time. ”
Additionally, the Department also said “thousands of workers were on long shifts for many weeks at a time and confusion is entirely possible and we are working to clear everything up so that workers are fairly and accurately compensated.”
The Department also said they currently have an ongoing audit that has not been completed yet. Nespoli, in the meantime, would like fair warning before something like this happens again, but acknowledges money should be given back if the city’s audit finds issues.
The Department of Sanitation will meet with union officials on Thursday in an attempt to clear these issues up. But in the meantime, Nespoli said the city will be issuing checks capped at $500 beginning Friday to workers whose pay was docked.