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Public Employees Federation statement on Troy parking garage beam collapse

Public Employees Federation statement on Troy parking garage beam collapse

TROY, NY (12/18/2019) (readMedia)– TROY – A collapsed support beam in the Troy Atrium parking garage on Saturday, Dec. 14, reaffirmed the concerns of New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) staff and union leaders that the conditions of the garage are a danger to state workers and the public who utilize the garage on a regular basis.

“PEF is fighting hard to protect workers on the job,” said PEF President Wayne Spence. “Without a union these workers would not have a choice or a safe place to park. There is a history of problems at this garage. PEF leaders and staff did a walkthrough over the summer and alerted state agencies on the hazards -including the same area where this beam fell. We received no response after that.”

When reports reached PEF staff on Saturday, the Health and Safety Department, Field Service/Organizing, and local union leaders moved quickly to protect the Department of Labor (DOL) and Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) members in Troy.

“We acted on reports of the beam collapse immediately over the weekend,” Region 8 Coordinator and Chair of the PEF Health and Safety Committee, Michael Blue, said. “We asked DOL and ITS to provide alternate parking arrangements to employees before Monday. DOL did send something out to staff, but there were problems with limited parking in the area. ITS staff make their own arrangements for parking, so the agency did not get involved.”

PEF has asked for copies of new reports from the structural engineers but as of Tuesday morning had not seen them.

“The city of Troy posted a press release on their website stating that the structure was sound,” said Blue. “But, without seeing those reports, we can’t verify that. At the very least falling debris is a serious problem even if the structure is sound.

“We’ve recommended the state provide parking to employees in other state lots or at area Park and Rides and shuttle staff to work,” Blue continued. “We have so far had no response to this recommendation.”

PEF will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for its members.

“No one should have to be at risk parking to go to their job,” Spence said. “Is it too much to ask that they have a safe place to park without debris falling on them? Or worse, a beam falling on them?”