The Daily Q: Which city workers will be on duty Christmas Day?

Which city workers will be on duty Christmas Day?

The work year is winding down but a group of city workers have a busy weekend ahead of them. For one thing, New York City drew a record number of tourists this year — estimates say 50 million visitors by the close of 2011 — and many will be coming to the city this holiday weekend. That’s on top of the usual support systems that keep the city running, from police to hospitals to sewage treatment plants.

The New York World wants to know more about the city employees who will be working this weekend over the Christmas holiday. Which agencies do they work for, and what are they doing to keep the city running?

If you have information or insights to share, please comment below, write us, or tweet to @thenyworld.


What we heard

For the agencies that keep the city running, Christmas and New Year’s aren’t anything out of the ordinary. We reached out today to the Health and Hospitals Corporation, Department of Transportation, MTA, Taxi and Limousine Commission, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Office of Emergency Management, Department of Sanitation, FDNY, NYPD, and two civil service unions: DC37 and TWU Local 100.

We heard back from the Office of Emergency Management, DoITT, and TWU Local 100 and the answer was clear: if your normal job is to keep New York running, then holidays are no different.Roughly a half a dozen people operate OEM’s Watch Command, for example, where they monitor police, fire, EMS, city airports, utility companies — they’re wired into the electric grid — building infrastructure, weather and breaking news, according to OEM spokesman Chris Gilbride. If there’s an emergency, he says, his office can scale upwards in hours to bring people from 130 different agencies into the loop and coordinate a response. “It runs 24 hours a day regardless of the day,” he said.

Jim Gannon, Director of Communications at TWU Local 100 union, which represents transit workers, says not to forget the “bus operators, train operators, conductors, signal maintainers, station agents and all of them maintenance guys” who keep the city running day in day out — holidays included. But things aren’t too bad: the MTA runs a reduced schedule on Christmas and New Year’s and if a worker normally gets Sunday off but is called in, he receives extra compensation.
Update [2:40 pm]:

We heard from the Department of Sanitation who kindly gives their workers the day off from street cleaning and garbage pickup for Christmas Day — New Year’s, however, is a different beast. DOS is still assembling their special Times Square cleanup crew but last year they had 149 sanitation workers, 24 Officers and two Deputy Chiefs operating 23 mechanical sweepers, 21 collection trucks, 36 leaf blowers and other equipment cleaning up roughly 40 tons of party hats other festive attire.

DOITT, which powers 311 call centers, got in touch and said between 200 and 300 DoITT employees will be working around clock at call centers like 311 and the Citywide Service Desk as well as internal IT infrastructure support. But like the other positions, they work 24/7 as a matter of course.

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