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Local union weighs in on water/sewer lease proposal

By 69 News, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 26 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 28 2013 06:46:31 AM CST

A local union is speaking out against plans to privatize Allentown's water and sewer systems.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A local union is speaking out against plans to privatize Allentown's water and sewer systems.

Mayor Pawlowski introduced the proposal last year as a way for the city to raise revenue to combat its rising pension debt.

Wednesday the local Service Employees International Union held a news conference to reiterate that it does not support the plan.

But because it looks like the proposal is moving forward..the union is working to protect its members' rights.

Union leaders say if a senior water department employee is displaced by the deal that worker will have the option to bump to another city job.

"As long as he or she qualifies for that job, they're able to bump into that position, which triggers a chain reaction, which, in the end, ultimately occurs layoffs," said

SEIU Local 32BJ Chapter Leader Ryan Hunsicker.

In a statement Mayor Pawlowski says his goal is the same as the union's: to protect the city's work-force and taxpayers.

And he says there's strong language in the lease agreement to do just that.

City Council expects to approve a lease bid by April.