As the President of The Yonkers Firefighters of Local 628 I DEMAND an immediate apology from Councilman Murtagh to the members of The Yonkers Fire Department for the comment made in his letter (The budget 2010-2011). Speaking on behalf of Local 628 and its union members, that is not only a bold face lie but very insulting as well.
“Continuing their job action" are the words he used to describe yet another one of his outlandish LIES. Public sector Unions are prohibited from engaging in job actions under The Taylor Law. By asserting that Local 628 is engaged in a "job action", he has defamed Local 628 and has damaged its reputation.
Local 628 and its members continue to fight fires and respond to many thousand of emergencies and still serve the public with less fire fighters ( 36 layoffs, 34 demotions) and equipment. We have also made an offer to give up compensation in the millions of dollars to ensure that the public continues to be served and is protected.
Local 628 proposed fiscal year savings of over $2 million which would have been guaranteed and backed up by collateral. In return, even with this proposed savings, the City would not guarantee that there would not be additional cuts in the current fiscal year. Additionally, Local 628 proposed several other cost-savings measures that could total $700,000 and have the City apply these dollars also to the current Yonkers Fire Department deficit of $4.3 million.
It was was not until Sunday July 11, 2010 (two days after closing Station #8 and two weeks after disbanding Ladder 70 and relocating Tower ladder 75 to Ladder Company 70's former location) that the Mayor agreed to enter into serious discussions with Local 628. It should be noted that it took numerous calls to the Mayor which went unanswered, and the prodding of several Council members, to get the Mayor to meet with Local 628 on Sunday night July 11, 2010.
Prior to the meeting with the Mayor on Sunday July 11, 2010, myself and several Executive Board members of Local 628 met with the City Council President and a couple of City Council members the night before, on Saturday July 10th from approximately 10:00 pm until well past midnight. At that meeting, Local 628 said it was prepared to discuss several cost-saving and deferral items with the Mayor, but only if it resulted in bringing back the laid-off firefighters, restoring the demoted officers to their prior ranks, and the reinstatement of Engine 308 and Ladder 70.
In closing Local 628 has been at the negotiating table several times. It’s obvious the Mayor is looking for something else so he continues to 'hold the gun' to Local 628 Union while keeping the citizens hostage to the essential services they so deserve.
José A. Caraballo is the president Yonkers Fire fighters Local 628 I.A.F.F – A.F.L.-C.I.O.