Tuesday, November 6, 2012
City employees penalized for absence
From the Daily News:
Thousands of city employees who’ve been docked vacation time during the past week say the city should give them a break.
“It was very upsetting because we felt that everything that happened was out of our control. The storm was an act of nature,” said a hospital worker who said she couldn’t get from her home in the Bronx to Queens for her job.
Mayor Bloomberg ordered all city employees to report to work throughout the week – despite devastation from a hurricane and the challenge of commuting without buses or subways.
That’s proved next to impossible for some, who will lose vacation days as a result.
From the Huffington Post:
Their options were quite simple. Ride a bike through a hurricane (yes, there were 75 mile-per-hour winds and pouring rain), walk to work (because three hours in the pouring rain is a safe bet), or hitchhike. Any idiot needed only to look out of his window to realize how ridiculous a task this was - not to mention how unsafe any of the available options were.
Just as Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo, and the Office of Emergency Management were advising people to stay off the streets, avoid transportation, and be cautious, they were sending their own employees to work. Talk about double standards.
What was the penalty for choosing to avoid putting oneself in harm's way by walking to work during a hurricane?
Employees were told that their absence would be counted as personal leave days. I read this as: "You'd better show up to work, and if you don't, we'll mark you absent." An entire city is shut down because of a storm that the Mayor himself describes as one of the worst in the city's history, and employees are penalized for not putting themselves in danger. This is an outrage.
To redress this, Mayor Bloomberg must take three steps.
First, he ought to issue a formal apology to all City employees who were unnecessarily forced either go to work, or use their personal leave days, on Monday and Tuesday. Second, he ought to compensate those who did attend work by paying them for overtime. Finally, he should return the personal leave days to those who chose to stay at home.