By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
DC 37 and Local 983 recently settled an Article 78 petition filed in State Supreme Court that led to the hiring of 11 High Pressure Plant Tenders (HPPTs) by New York City Transit Authority and more than 80 provisional HPPTs at various New York City agencies.
“We successfully protected our civil service members and the civil service process through this vigorous and thorough case to challenge Transit’s illegal hirings,” said Joe Puleo, President of Motor Vehicle Operators Local 983.
DC 37 Assistant General Counsel Samuel Jackson who handled the case said, “The examination and appointment procedures required under the State Constitution and the Civil Service Law are intended to ensure that competitive appointments are based on merit and fitness. When a public employer fails to adhere to these obligations, it undermines this objective and is unfair to candidates who work diligently to obtain higher examination scores.”
The union filed the action in March 2021 alleging that NYC Transit and DCAS violated civil service law when they hired applicants from the 2019 HPPT Civil Service Exam No. 9033 list and bypassed others who had placed higher on the list. DCAS investigated the union’s charges against NYC Transit and found the agency “did not comply with the competitive class appointment process.”
Transit failed to make any attempt to contact or otherwise consider any of the three highest-ranking eligible candidates — or any of the other 139 candidates — from the list of eligible candidates who were qualified and willing to accept the HPPT job openings. Transit had sidestepped the one-in-three rule when selecting the HPPT hires.
The Court ordered Transit to recanvas to ensure compliance with the law and use a newly certified eligible list for HPPT Exam No. 9033. The decision protects the rights of Local 983 HPPTs, including those who are provisional employees at Transit, the Department of Correction and other city agencies.
HPPT is a prevailing rate title that pays about $72,000 annually. HPPTs operate and maintain high-pressure boilers and related heating and cooling equipment at municipal buildings and facilities citywide.
Tom DiNardo, a Local 983 Vice President and veteran HPPT said, “It was frustrating to have Transit refuse to take responsibility for their error and not negotiate a resolution without legal action. It was our goal to make sure our members’ and future members’ hard work paid off. If someone scored well on the exam, it needed to be rewarded.”
Jackson said that although it initially required the extraordinary step of filing a court action, “I am glad we were able to ultimately resolve NYC Transit’s and DCAS’s missteps in a manner that preserved fairness and made certain that these agencies follow the law.”