The Ronkonkoma-based United Public Service Employees Union (UPSEU) and the Village of Mineola’s Superintendent of Public Works Tom Rini are clashing over the removal of signs that were placed around the village that thanked essential workers who stepped up to the plate during the coronavirus pandemic.
The “thank you” signs were placed around prominent areas around the village including village hall, Wilson Park and the Mineola Memorial Public Library. Most of the signs have now been taken down and the UPSEU is calling out Rini for removing them.
“In a tribute to the heroic essential personnel that have worked tirelessly through the pandemic, including village employees, nurses and doctors at our hospitals and nursing homes and our law enforcement and first responders, United Public Service Employees Union put up three lawn signs on public village property thanking them for their efforts,” the UPSEU said in a statement. “What did village superintendent Rini do? He removed them. Thomas Rini’s actions are a disgrace, and by his actions he obviously couldn’t care less about these dedicated employees’ heroic efforts. Mr. Rini, if there is a hall of shame for superintendents of DPW, you deserve high honors.”
The UPSEU represents all blue collar workers in the village, and said they have continued to put these signs out at all the schools, counties, municipalities they represent and out of the hundreds of signs they placed, the Village of Mineola was the only employer who removed them.
“The Village of Mineola salutes all frontline workers, health care workers and first responders who have served our community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rini said in a statement when Anton Media Group reached out for comment. “The Village of Mineola has, and will, continue to thank all of its employees who have served throughout this pandemic. Unfortunately, no representative from the United Public Service Employees Union (UPSEU) reached out to the village regarding the placement of any signage on government property, or in the public right of way. As required by Nassau County Ordinance, the village and its employees routinely remove similar signs placed on utility poles and lawn signs placed on village property and on the right of way throughout the year.”
Rini added that had the representatives from the United Public Service Employees Union reached out to discuss the idea of honoring village employees who have served throughout the pandemic, the village would have gladly worked together with them and educated and guided them on how to properly place the thank you signs.
“The village looks forward to working with United Public Service Employees Union to properly recognize all of its members’ efforts during these challenging times,” Rini concluded.