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NY Heating Oil Company Acquired. Teamsters Fired. Non-Union Crew Hired.

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More than 50 mechanics and delivery men at Castle Oil in the Bronx will lose their jobs to third party, non-union workers following the company’s $56 million purchase by Sprague Energy in early November.  Workers at the Port Morris Terminal in the Bronx and Castle Oil’s Harrison, NY headquarters will be affected. 

Following the acquisition, Sprague Energy sent notice to the company’s nearly 200 workers that they would be terminated.  Roughly 130 of those workers are likely to be hired back in early December.  However, many drivers and mechanics are being dumped. 25-year Castle Oil veteran Mark Wade told the New York Daily News, “We broke our backs all these years keeping New Yorkers warm, and now they are throwing us to the curb at the start of winter.”

In their exclusive report on the story, New York Daily News explains the historical significance of Castle Oil to the metropolitan area:

Castle Oil has long been one of the largest providers of heating oil to the tri state area. During a brutal cold stretch last winter, every driver worked seven days a week for more than a month, shuttling oil to homes, businesses and schools.

Drivers said they helped fuel generators at Ground Zero days after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, and helped get the city dried out after it was saturated by Superstorm Sandy.

The drivers were set to earn 50 cent raises in December, which would have brought their hourly wage to $31.86 per hour.  The drivers also had solid healthcare and pension plans through Teamsters Local 553.  The drivers had two years remaining on their contracts which will likely go unhonored.  The company will pay the workers severance packages in accordance to New York state law.  

There is almost no chance the drivers will be hired back. Sprague officials have indicated that they do not plan to deviate from their course of action. Taylor Hudson, a spokesman for Sprague, told the New York Daily News, “We do not have a proprietary truck fleet at any of our terminals.  That’s not part of our business plan.”

The timing of the firings could not be worse, according to driver Steve Catalano.

“All of us have kids at home, we have families.  My 10-year-old son told me he didn’t want anything for Christmas, since I wouldn’t be working.”

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