ShareThis Page
Allegheny

Pittsburgh plow drivers could be penalized for refusing to work overtime

Bob Bauder
| Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, 4:51 p.m.
A City of Pittsburgh public works snow plow crosses the Boulevard of the Allies as it plows the snow from the bus lane along Smithfield Street Downtown Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
A City of Pittsburgh public works snow plow crosses the Boulevard of the Allies as it plows the snow from the bus lane along Smithfield Street Downtown Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.

Pittsburgh Public Works employees who refuse overtime during snowstorms shouldn't expect a promotion and could be demoted, city officials said Thursday.

Mayor Bill Peduto said the city would change its system for calling out plow drivers and laborers during bad weather and maintain a database of people “who say yes.”

“I had the opportunity to go through some of the call lists and note some of the people who have consistently said no,” Peduto said, adding that some of them are foremen. “When I'm looking to promote, I'm going to be looking at that list and seeing the people who've done more as the ones that get greater responsibility. The folks who are foremen should be out there first, and that's what I'm going to expect from my foremen.”

City Operations Chief Guy Costa threatened to demote bosses who refuse overtime in the future.

“If they can't come out for overtime, we don't need them in the positions they're in,” he said. “We're going to promote people who do come out and work when they're needed.”

City officials this week blamed a failure to clear streets of snow and ice on a shortage of snow plow drivers. Many drivers didn't answer their phones or refused to work over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, officials said.

More than 1,000 people called the city's 311 service line to complain that streets remained covered for days after a storm dumped freezing rain and more than 5 inches of snow on the city.

Paul Kapetanovich, recording secretary for Teamsters Local Union 249, which represents about 60 city snow plow drivers, declined comment. On Tuesday, he said drivers complained to him that the city never called them out to work over the weekend.

Peduto said the city plans to assign one person in the Public Works administration to call, text and email workers for snow removal duty and keep track of who shows up and who does not.

“We're going to work to make sure that we never get into a situation where we need 60 trucks out, but we only have 45 drivers,” Peduto said.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.com or on Twitter @bobbauder

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me