USA Updates Teamsters press City Hall to terminate Katsimatidis fuel contract as strike enters Year 2
Teamers are pushing City Hall to stop a $52 million fuel contract awarded to a company controlled by grocery magnate John Katsimetidis, as unions pressure the billionaire to settle a labor strike, The Post has learned.
Union officials say they have repeatedly approached Mayor Adams since he took office in January, as he stopped doing business with the United Metro Fuel Corporation of Katsimatidis, his predecessor after the strike began. Under the deal made by Bill de Blasio.
“We want the mayor and New York City to respect the picket line, not do business with anyone like this,” said Teamsters Local 553 leader Demos Demopoulos. “We don’t think New York City should be doing business this way.”
Demopoulos said the mayor’s office had contacted him last week to set up a meeting with Adams about the confrontation between the union and the Katsimatidis.
City Hall said in a statement that the contract could not be canceled due to a labor dispute and that Katsimatidis’s company was in compliance with municipal regulations.
“Mayor Adams believes workers have the right to organize and bargain collectively for better wages and benefits,” said Adams spokesman Jonah Allen. “This contract is for about a year, and is in compliance with all city procurement regulations.”
The Teamsters claimed in a letter sent to Adams in March that Katsimatidis was shorting workers on benefits and wages, which are $8 an hourly rate below the scale negotiated by unions at other companies in the region. doing.
It came two months after the union’s then-top national boss, Jimmy Hoffa Jr., wrote a letter to Heizner on the matter in January.
All told, city records show that United Metro has signed a $116 million contract to provide fuel and heating oil to city agencies since 2013.
The most recent agreement was signed by the Department of Citywide Services in June 2021, two months after the strike began.
Katsimatidis is friendly with Adams, a Democrat, despite being one of the most prominent Republicans in the Big Apple and the owner of the conservative talk radio station WABC-770AM. His daughter is the head of the Manhattan Republican Party.
In a statement, Catsimatidis argued that Teamsters’ request would “hurt” other employees of the company, including truckers who have been furloughed by the union but are not on strike because they are still under contract. .
“If they hurt the company, they are hurting their own members,” he said and then added that “those who got fired are welcome to come back.”