Sources tell Tastie Fish that City Hall, and the New Haven traffic division in conjunction with the labor relations department are currently in negotiations to finalize a new contract between the two sides.
The process has not moved fast enough for several disgruntled traffic employees, who are curious why they have been working without a contract for over a year now.
One worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Tastie Fish ” this is the second consecutive year that we have been working without a contract, and even now, the city cannot afford to pay us what we are worth because New Haven is in debt. Our union is trying to figure it out with the city, but some of us doubt that the city can actually afford to pay us. It makes no sense for all the hard working people in traffic to not have the security of a contract, furthermore, we should be overpaid, not underpaid.
Some might think traffic collects a lot of money, so paying traffic should not be a problem, but the city is so in debt, that what we collect in fines and fees is a wash”
When asked about it last week, Mayor Toni Harp told Tastie Fish that ‘there was a negotiation in process, and that she was confident discussions would have a positive conclusion’.
Tastie Fish reached out to City Hall Tuesday afternoon, and was told by information director Laurence Grotheer that ‘it has always been our policy to withhold comment on labor negotiations. It’s to protect both sides because of the confidentlity aspect of the process’.
While withholding specific comment, City Hall has not denied that extended discussions are taking place, Mayor Toni Harp also pointed out in the same interview that several city contracts are currently being negotiated.
As far as the city being in debt, or union workers being underpaid, sources in City Hall indicate that is a matter of opinion, one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Tastie Fish “while it has taken awhile for some contracts to be finalized, the situation is not as dire as certain people are making it out to be, The mayor has every intention of figuring this out”
When reached for comment, New Haven traffic division Deputy Director Michael Pinto told Tastie Fish in an email that “he was not authorized to make any statements’ after reviewing our questions with the department director.
Among the questions Tastie Fish submitted to the traffic division, is how much money the New Haven traffic division collected in 2016 in fines and fees. The traffic division in New Haven is extremely vigilant about enforcing parking violations, so there is belief in our newsroom that the total amount of money collected over the course of a full calendar year is high.
The staff of Tastie Fish is still attempting to run down the exact amount, but it stands to reason the city collects a good amount of public money from parking meters, fines, and other moving violations.
Some of our reporters are curious why the New Haven traffic division would decline to release how much money the department collected in fines and fees during 2016, some of us believe that information should be disseminated for two reasons.
- It’s public money, collected from the public, and used by the city government.
- The traffic division is department within the city government, they have an obligation to release those figures, it’s a matter of public record.
Tastie Fish will continue to pursue the exact amount the city of New Haven collected for traffic related issues.
The traffic division is a money maker for New Haven no matter what the financial status of the city is, and the workers that make that possible don’t feel they are being compensated correctly, or that there is any security for the future.
Because both sides refuse to comment, traffic workers will continue to work in an atmosphere of uncertainty until city hall and the relevant labor organization can hammer out a new contract.
When reached for comment, the Department of Labor Relations declined to issue a statement, and referred Tastie Fish reporters to City Hall.
More on this story as it develops.