Sanitation workers unhappy with Raleigh

March 27, 2009 11:31:00 AM PDT
Some solid waste management workers are unhappy with the way they are being treated.About two dozen of those workers, who belong to a union, say they are being treated like the garbage they pick up.

"The trucks are breaking down, our days are getting longer, but our pay hasn't gone up," said James Brooker, III, solid waste worker.

The small group of workers has three complaints for the city manager. First, they say they have an unfair holiday schedule.

Waste workers don't get the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving off. They say other non-emergency Raleigh employees get those days off.

Second, they say the size of their staff hasn't kept up with the city's growth, which means longer days for waste management workers.

And their third complaint stems from a specific incident that happened on inauguration day this year. Workers say they reported to work during a winter storm and were unwillingly sent home, and they were not paid for that day.

"About 60 were sent home after a couple of hours and had to use vacation time to cover the rest of the day," Brooker explained.

The group that spoke out Friday is only a fraction of the department's force. The workers said they are going public with their complaints because they have been ignored by City Hall.

Eyewitness News asked the workers how they feel about making complaints during a time when many people are thankful just to have a job.

"A lot of this stuff wasn't happening before the crisis began," said Jerry Ledbetter, solid waste worker.

Brooker said regardless of the state of the economy, no one should be bullied.

Eyewitness News is awaiting a response from Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen, who is the target of many of the complaints.

As soon as we have completed our interview with Allen, we will let you know what he said.


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