Allen To Brief City Council On Raleigh Sanitation Complaints
Posted September 19, 2006 7:59 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — City Manager Russell Allen is expected to give a full report to the Raleigh City Council on Tuesday about how he is addressing grievances raised by city Solid Waste Services Department workers.
The move comes after two work stoppages last week over schedules and overtime pay.
In an e-mail message sent to council members on Friday, Allen outlined a number of steps he is taking to work with the sanitation department to find a resolution. Among those:Allen has asked managers for proposals on staffing and equipment needs. He said, however, he does not believe the department is understaffed, though on some days, it is short of workers because of absences. Workers have complained they are forced to work shifts longer than 10 hours without being paid for overtime. They have said they are often given compensatory time off, but then not allowed to use it. Allen will review the criteria for how long part-time employees can work full-time without benefits. Sanitation workers have asked that part-time workers who work full-time schedules be given full-time status and benefits. He will review why several employees were recently suspended. Workers have said they are being overworked and being threatened with suspension if they do not work more hours than are scheduled.
Sanitation workers have given the city until Friday to come up with a plan on how to handle their grievances, but have not said what they would do if they are not satisfied with what they hear from the city. They said on Monday they would meet, explore their options and decide how to proceed.
They are adamant about one thing: no more status quo.
"What we deal with is nasty work. I don't know if you've ever looked on the back of a trash truck, but it's nothing but maggots crawling around back there," said sanitation worker Lonnie Habuda. "It's a tough job, and I don't think anybody downtown wants to do it."