By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter
Mayor Darrell Bradley claims that all security workers have been paid exactly what they were due, while Christian Workers Union President Audrey Matura-Shepherd claims that the mayor is mistaken.
Bradley explained that the ex gratia payments for four people are the only payments outstanding, because the Council has not yet finalized how many employees will go with the new contractor.
Bradley stated that employees being given employment with the privatized firm at the same wage rate should not be given ex gratia payments because these employees would not be adversely affected because they are still employed.
Bradley claimed that the only issue in dispute is that of the ex gratia payments and that all other entitlements under the Labor Act, including severance, salary, and notice, were given.
Shepherd rejected this notion and told The Reporter that the list of employees going over to the new firm had been finalized from last Thursday.
She also said that Bradley changed the list of people going over, backed out on his promise to facilitate a meeting with the new contractor, and has not provided the list of final calculation for the payment of the workers’ benefits.
Shepherd also claimed that last Friday when the workers went to pick up their cheques every one of them claimed that they were “shorted,” which is why they were upset.
Bradley told the media that if there was an error in the calculations, he has not received any formal letter from the CWU detailing the specific errors.
He stated that he did not know which workers were shorted and by how much.
“If there was a shortage, which I don’t believe there was, that’s something that doesn’t take four or five days to notify the City Council,” Bradley said.
Bradley claimed that he had decided not to facilitate the meeting between Hiram Longsworth, the new contractor, and the CWU because he feels that they are negotiating through the media, which “is very unhelpful.”
He claimed that 20 workers have started working with Longsworth.
He added that as President of the CWU, Shepherd would be capable of arranging a meeting with the new contractor whenever she wanted.
He also stated that the council would make the contract between the Council and Ranger Security available to the Union as well as to the public via their website.
According to Shepherd, she said she has been “disheartened” by the Mayor’s response.
In a letter to the CWU from the Mayor, on the point of ex gratia payments, Bradley wrote that Jamar White would only be given two weeks salary because White refused employment with the new privatized firm, Ranger Security.
In a previous letter from the Mayor, dated February 10, Bradley stated that White would be given six weeks salary.
Shepherd explained that the reason the CWU and the council did not sign an official agreement was because the Mayor had refused to accept the preamble, which would have detailed the events leading up to the agreement, including the fact that the Mayor did not follow proper legal protocol.
Both parties, instead, agreed verbally and in principle and had decided to proceed by acting in “good faith.”
Shepherd indicated that the CWU is of the position that the agreement made last Thursday is legally binding and they expect the Mayor to stick to his end of the bargain.