City workers in New York are protesting hand scanners used to sign in and out of work – claiming they can spread the coronavirus.
Amid the outbreak, some workers are reluctant to place their palms over the scanners used by dozens of co-workers as they log in and out.
“Now with the spread of this virus, people are uncomfortable putting their hand on your hand and your hand and your hand and your hand,” said Joseph Colangelo, president of SEIU Local 246 which represents 1,500 mechanics in several NYC agencies.
The MTA said on Tuesday it would stop using its fingerprint-reading clocks due to coronavirus fears.
The Bloomberg administration pioneered the use of hand scanners to reduce fraud with employee hours. Many agencies, including the FDNY, corrections and health, use the devices. “Nobody is signing on paper,” an insider said.
Colangelo said he contacted City Hall on Monday, but did not hear back until Thursday, when he was told agencies could use another way of recording time if possible. .
But a Sanitation Department employee told The Post that the agency still has to use the palm readers – if not.
Commissioner Kathryn Garcia “encouraged people not to touch their faces, but we are mandated to continue using the handheld scanner that 40 other people are using.”
A DSNY employee who covered one of the palm readers so it couldn’t be used was due to receive a warning letter, according to an internal email about the situation seen by The Post.
The DSNY referred its comments to City Hall.
“We are evaluating all options for handheld scanners in light of employee concerns, while taking into account the lack of scientific evidence to suggest that scanners pose more risk than touching a doorknob for example. Most employees already have the option of using a hand scanner or a computer. We continue to encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently and to stay home if they are sick,” said City Hall spokeswoman Laura Feyer.