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Cooperation has brought Christmas to Hoffer Park

Posted 11/26/13


Middletown Borough and the Teamsters have recently reached a settlement on a labor grievance that allows volunteers to decorate Hoffer Park and the square with Christmas lights, wreaths, garlands, bulbs and other holiday finery.

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Cooperation has brought Christmas to Hoffer Park


It’s an early present for our town, as the dispute over the use of volunteers between the union and borough had appeared to cancel the annual tradition. But the settlement, announced last week by the borough, saves the tradition, a joyous and quaint holiday celebration that makes Middletown a better place to live.

Borough Council member Barbara Arnold had announced that the borough would cancel the park decorations because of a grievance filed by Teamster Local 776, the union that represents non-uniform borough employees, that sought compensation for work that volunteers did last year. The borough solicitor advised against using volunteers until the matter was resolved.

Fortunately, the matter was resolved. According to the settlement agreement, the Teamsters recognize the borough’s right to use volunteers so long as volunteer work does not result in layoffs of borough employees, the borough said.

With Thanksgiving already upon us, the borough quickly sought volunteers last weekend – short notice, but who cares? Christmas was back at Hoffer Park, and the call for help brought a number of people ready to pitch in. Among the volunteers: the Penn State Harrisburg men’s basketball team, according to the borough.

Such a neighborly offer of aid is a refreshing example of Christmas spirit. Already it feels like the holidays in Middletown.

We thank the borough and union for resolving the matter reasonably. Not only did it preserve a holiday tradition, it also proved that differences can be resolved in a town where local politics too often squelch common goals and sincere attempts to preserve the quality of life in Middletown – to make Middletown a nice town.

And thank you, volunteers, for giving your time to bring Christmas joy to the borough. This year, the decorations may seem to sparkle a little brighter.{jcomments on}



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