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New York Members Speak Out Against Parking Meter Privatization

August 03, 2012

NEW YORK – New York AFSCME members spoke out this week about the city’s plan to privatize the New York City parking system, calling it senseless and costly.

NYC Traffic Employees Local 1455 President Michael DeMarco speaksIn a press conference at City Hall, members of DC 37, including Local 1455, decried the city’s plan to auction off to the private sector a reliable source of more than $150 million a year in city revenue.

“We are speaking out against privatization that hasn’t worked, doesn’t work and won’t work for our city,” said District Council 37 Exec. Dir. Lillian Roberts. “The city wants to continue to misspend billions of dollars, this time on an unnecessary private parking contract when city parking system workers are already doing an excellent job, generating approximately $1.2 million per worker in revenue for the city. We’re here to say to Mayor Bloomberg, ‘Don’t break something that’s working.’ ”

They were joined by City Council member James Vacca, chair of the Transportation Committee, New York City Comptroller John Liu and other members of the New York City Council.

“Frankly, I see no reason to outsource their maintenance when the men and women of DC 37 and CWA have a proven track record of doing a good job at collection and maintenance,” Vacca said. “The fact that 95 percent of our parking meters are in good working order speaks for itself. I share the city’s interest in parking meter innovation and technology, but outsourcing a workforce that’s already doing a stellar job shouldn’t be part of that process.”

Bramer spoke about the devastating impact of privatization.

It “would have disastrous effects on working men and women who are the backbone of New York City,” he said.

This is not the first time New York City has attempted to privatize. In the 1980s, the city awarded a $22-million contract to a company that was found to have bribed city officials, and later 35 individuals were arrested for stealing nearly $1 million in coins over a three-month period. 

At this week’s event, union members implored Mayor Bloomberg and other city leaders to learn from the experiences of their counterparts. In Chicago and Indianapolis, mayors have implemented plans to privatize parking meters with disastrous results including increased meter charges, broken meters, loss of parking revenues to city budgets and no control over these long-term, private contracts.

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