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Tipsheet

Thanks a Lot: Utility Union Strikes in the Middle of Heat Wave

Remember when New York City's unionized sanitation workers refused to work during the middle of a deadly blizzard in 2010? All because they were protesting the budget? 

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Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts -- a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.

"They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important," said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.

Remember when that protest resulted in the death of a new born baby who could not be reached by an ambulance because workers refused to clear the streets?

A blizzard baby delivered inside the lobby of a snowbound Brooklyn building died after an emergency call of a woman in labor brought no help for nine excruciating hours.

The baby's mother, a 22-year-old college senior, was recovering Tuesday night at Interfaith Medical Center, where her newborn was pronounced dead at 6:34 p.m. on Monday. That was 10 hours after the first 911 call from the bloody vestibule on Brooklyn Ave. in Crown Heights.

"No one could get to her. Crown Heights was not plowed and no medical aid came for hours," said the student's mother.

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Well now, unionized utility workers are going on strike....in the middle of a heat wave.

Negotiations stopped just before 2 a.m. Sunday, a couple of hours after the existing contract expired. The impasse came as New York braced for more high temperatures that will increase demand for air conditioning among the utility's 3.2 million customers.

On Sunday morning, police set up barricades in front of Con Ed's headquarters near Manhattan's Union Square. Only two workers stood there, but they said more were expected as they awaken and learn about the lockout.

"This is crazy! There's a heat wave," said David Palomino, a facility mechanic who rushed to headquarters after finishing his early shift to find out what was coming next.

The good news:

The 8,500 unionized workers told the company they'd be willing to work without a contract to keep the power company running, said John Melia, spokesman for Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America.

"We did everything to avert this action," he said. "We recognize that New York City is sweltering right now. ... We recognize we have a responsibility to the people of New York City and Westchester County," the suburban county north of the city.

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