DUNKIRK – City officials were asked to attend a gathering in support of employees picketing Brooks Memorial Hospital at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Washington Park.
Officials of Local 1999, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), representing hospital employees, also announced that they may begin informational picketing this week in front of the hospital, over lack of progress in contract negotiations.
The park rally issue was listed on the City Council agenda Monday night. The meeting was moved from Tuesday night to accommodate the city’s plan to observe National Night Out.
Councilwoman Stacy Szukala said she opposed plans for the rank-and-file to use a city park and suggested the event be held elsewhere.
“I absolutely support the hospital, but I am wondering about the use of a city park for a union activity,” said Szukala, who later changed her mind after learning city property had been used previously for similar functions.
After the issue was debated and City Attorney Ron Szot was consulted, Council members approved park use – dubbed “Community Rally to Save Our Hospital.”
In other matters:
• Steve Rees of the Revitalize Dunkirk Committee asked what the plans are for repainting stripes on Route 60 since the passage of the Complete Streets Plan for the city. The committee has championed bicycle lanes for city streets and more designated pedestrian areas.
• Mayor A.J. Dolce said there will be a ceremony to rededicate the Native American Statue, part of the “Whispering Giants” series by sculptor Peter Wolf Toth. The ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. today at Memorial Park on Route 5.
• Council members approved closing Serval Street from Route 5 to Gazelle Street for the annual Labor Day party of First Ward Falcon Club.
• Public Works Director Tony Gugino noted the bidding procedure for paving streets will be advertised shortly.
• Szukala asked if a payment has been made by the leaseholder of the marina property, Jeff Gambino. City Treasurer Mark Woods said the payment has not been made but three letters have been sent requesting payment.
• Szukala asked about fees charged for overnight parking by the city pier during a recent fishing tournament. She said the Council was not involved in setting fees for the parking. Dolce said the issue was raised because overnight parking is not allowed, according to the city code. He added that the fee and permit for parking spaces was a compromise worked out with fishing tournament sponsors.
• Gugino said the old water storage tank on Willowbrook Avenue has been decommissioned and bids will be advertised for the demolition of the structure.
• A contract with Local 2693, United Steel Workers of America, representing employees of the Dunkirk Housing Authority, was approved. The pact includes a 3 percent raise retroactive to 2013, 2 percent raises in 2014 and 2015 and 1.5 percent raises in 2016 and 2017. The contract also requires workers to contribute 5 percent of the cost of their medical insurance.