Mayor, public works employees still at an impasse

Mayor, public works employees still at an impasse (WPMI)

Public works employees say they're used to picking up trash but are now being treated like it. They say they're overworked, under paid and are downright fed up.

"They have been cut to the bone," said City of Mobile Public Service Workers President Wesley Young.

Young, a fixture at council meetings lately, said at Tuesday's meeting that enough is enough. Young says it's time workers get pay raises comparable to what police and fire fighters received.

"They should be treated like all other employees," said Young.

Tensions at the public works department have been running high lately. Last week, three sanitation workers were put on leave after police say they made threats against a supervisor.

Groups representing public workers insist Mayor Sandy Stimpson, who was absent at the meeting, has refused to meet to discuss ongoing issues. But city attorney Ricardo Woods pushed back, saying no worker has requested a meeting. He also said the Mayor can't discuss personnel matters with outside entities. He must talk directly to workers.

"That's employees, not representatives, not members of collective bargaining groups, not members of unions or workers associations," said Woods.

Council members said there was little they could do until budget time. Several stated they were in favor of raises. They encouraged the administration to move beyond the impasse.

"This has been going on for several weeks, and whatever influence you have in facilitating an appropriate meeting with the appropriate people with our public works that you all would work expeditiously to do that. These individuals have come after here week after week after week," said Levon Manzie.

Young walked away less than thrilled.

"What they want to do, they want to meet with some city employees where they can manipulate them, put pressure on them and make them accept whatever they decide to give them, and they can't do that with me," said Young.

Young said public workers are not threatening any retaliatory action, like going on strike.

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