City Manager Russell Allen said he met with the workers to understand their concerns. He said the meeting went very well and was productive. On Wednesday and Thursday, Raleigh sanitation workers stopped work to protest their pay and working conditions and demand better treatment.
Dozens of sanitation workers filed into the Fruits of Labor World Cultural Center Thursday night, where they met with union representatives behind closed doors for more than two hours.
The sanitation workers said they're forced to work overtime but don't get paid for it. Instead, they get compensatory time off that time they claimed they're rarely able to use.
"Workers are working like horses and eating like chickens," said Public Service Workers Union President Angaza Laughinghouse.
Last year, the city's Solid Waste Services Department paid $200,000 in overtime. Supervisors determine whether workers will receive overtime pay or comp time, and a worker can bank up to 70 hours of comp time.
Union members developed a list of demands, including maximum 10-hour workdays, no forced overtime, and time-and-a half for overtime that is worked.
Members also want all temporary employees to become permanent with benefits, and they want to choose a representative that will deal with management from now on. Also, they called for an end to harassment from their superiors.
"We wanted to be treated fair, like everyone else," said sanitation truck driver Jerry Ledbetter.
Union leaders said they are willing to negotiate but insist policy changes are needed. The workers are giving the city until next Friday to meet their demands.
The two walkouts have put trash collection across the city hours behind schedule, but officials said late Thursday that they expect collections to be back to normal by Saturday.
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