Over a hundred sanitation workers rallied in Center City Tuesday morning to protest for safer working conditions. They demand better personal protective equipment, testing sites for sanitation workers, temperature checks and hazard pay.
They claim that they have been risking their health during the coronavirus pandemic but their working conditions do not guarantee enough protection.
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Charles Carrington, a garbage collector and union leader said their service has been operative during these hard conditions.
“We are on the front line. I take nothing from no other department. But at the end of the day, we’re the only department that services every house, every week,” Carrington declared.
They say the pandemic has only shown an aspect of the issues they face. The city employs about 1,100 sanitation workers. The union says their average salary is $36,000.
These demands come as the city is in budget negotiations. If enacted as written, the streets department’s budget would be cut by over $18 million next fiscal year.
The city has struggled to maintain its normal trash collection routine during the pandemic. Trash is still collected weekly, although there have been intermittent delays. Recycling is now being collected every other week.