Furloughed Scranton Parking Authority Employees’ Concerns Will Be Heard By Contract Arbitrator
Wednesday, January, 23, 2013
After placing six maintenance employees on furlough and replacing them with non-union workers, the Scranton Parking Authority has landed in hot water and will be forced to enter into arbitration this month at the Clarks Summit Law Office of SPA solicitor Joseph O’Brien to settle the dispute. The furloughed employees will be represented by labor attorney Thomas Jennings, who also successfully represented Scranton’s police and fire unions in 2011, winning awards for the unions in both cases.
The Scranton Parking Authority has been dealing with a lot of heat and scrutiny after the dismantling that occurred when the Scranton City Council allowed SPA to default on debts owed. As a result, a court-appointed receiver, former Lackawanna County Commissioner Mike Washo, oversaw SPA’s parking garages within the city and hired a third-party parking garage firm, Central Parking, as operators of the five garages. The five furloughed employees received their furlough notices approximately one week after the exchange of operational responsibility occurred, while Central Parking replaced them with their own non-unionized workers.
The six unionized employees are now filing grievances alleging that being placed on furlough violated their contracts with the city and in such, they are seeking back wages and benefits, in addition to full restoration of their jobs as garage attendants. Their chances of winning the arbitration are good, considering that the contract they signed with the city states that it continues to be binding on "successors, administrators, executors and assigns."
Jennings, the attorney representing the six employees, who are members of Teamsters Local 229, stated, “I think it's deplorable what happened to them. They were just pawns in some big dispute and their reward was to lose their jobs. [SPA and Central Parking] think they can just walk away. Maybe they can. Maybe they can, but over my dead body."