Ballston Hot on the heels of the Milton Highway Department’s decision to unionize, Ballston Highway Department Superintendent Joe Whalen notified Town Supervisor Patti Southworth in November of his department’s intent to unionize.
Although the Town Board acknowledged that notice, it has taken several weeks to hammer out the details of the process. The board on Tuesday, Dec. 4, voted to recognize the Teamsters Union as the negotiator for the Highway Department after going in to executive session to discuss the matter.
There had been disagreement between Town Supervisor Patti Southworth and Councilman Bill Goslin over the matter. Southworth had said she was under the impression members of the department were dissatisfied with the highway budget for 2013.
“It was after budget workshops when we changed some of the funding that they had concerns and that’s why they actually decided to unionize,” said Southworth at a Nov. 27 Town Board meeting.
“I think that we have a great Highway Department, I think all of us know that and acknowledged that and I’m sure we’ll be able to work through that process, just as we normally would.”
Goslin, however, said he believed the reason the department was unionizing was concern over job security.
“I met with every town highway personnel and I went over the budget with them and I find it very hard to believe that the primary reason for joining the union is because of the way we decided to fund their highway equipment,” said Goslin.
Now that the Teamsters have been recognized, the next step in the process will be to set up a negotiating team and set a schedule for negotiations, according to Southworth.
“It is my understanding under section 63 of town law that I would set up the negotiating committee,” she said, adding that might be ready by the Wednesday, Dec. 12, Town Board meeting.