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Getty Station Owners Reopen After Plea From Public Officials

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Getty gas station owners in Staten Island ended a brief strike yesterday and resumed pumping gas after public officials requested they do so due to a winter storm, reported the Staten Island Advance.

The owners have been protesting what they say are unfair property leases and commissions that are too small to stay in business. Station operators are seeking a commission increase from 6.5 cents to 15 cents per gallon.

"What the public knows is that they don't like what they're paying for gas... What they don't know is you guys [gas station owners] aren't getting rich selling gas, the oil companies are," said New York Councilman James Oddo (R-Mid-Island/Brooklyn) at Monday's strategy meeting, which brought together 50 Getty gas station owners from Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Long Island, Westchester and Philadelphia.

Oddo noted that at the current commission rate, the stations lose money "every day." On a typical day, the Getty stations pump 1,500 gallons per day, yielding $97.50 in commissions, leaving the owners with a daily average revenue loss of approximately $92.07 after fees and labor costs.

On Tuesday, gas station property owner Hudson Petroleum Realty Inc. delivered letters to 11 of the striking owners that threatened eviction within 10 days if they default on their licensing agreements, which require them to pump gas daily, according to the report.

In return for the gas stations reopening, public officials promised to help work out a resolution.

"We are going to send a letter to [Getty's parent owners] to say this is unacceptable. They should not have sent a letter giving notice [of eviction]. They should have sent a letter saying, 'Let's talk about the issues," stated Domenic Recchia Jr., city council finance committee chairman.

In addition to higher commissions, the station owners want more-favorable leases. Many have operated on month-to-month leases since Lukoil purchased the leases following Getty Petroleum Marketing Inc.'s December 2011 bankruptcy.

"Right now, we are opening immediately because the politicians asked us, and then we'll see what happens. We expect some kind of action by the distributor," stated Giovanni Cutillo, owner of Nino's Auto Repair and president of the Petroleum Dealers Group, representing more than 400 Getty stations in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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