MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — Public Works employees say they are fighting for their rights. Now, many in the trash department say they are being bullied by administration. Many didn't want their face on camera because they are afraid of being fired. Some say they were even ordered not to talk to the media.
Mobile trash department employees are taking a stand.
"We are tired of this," they say.
Some called in sick, some even took the day off last Tuesday to address the city council about their job and what they say is a hostile work environment with supervisor Jeffery Dees.
"Only reason we stood up is because nobody else would stand or hear our voice and we are tired of feeling like we are back in the turn of the century. Our people were being persecuted for no apparent reason. We do our jobs. We don't need anybody riding us or bullying us or threatening you," says one worker.
29 men have been put on administrative leave for allegedly violating the rules of Mobile County Personnel Board.
"We were removed from the job and we are still trying to figure out why because if you are off, then you have the right to do what you need to do on your own time," says another worker.
They say supervisors are the ones who gave them permission to leave the job.
"We were off. They signed the documents allowing us to be off if they wanted us to come back to work that wasn't the way to do it. The interim was in the back corner why didn't he come down and say gentlemen we need you all to come back to work? It was a set up," says a worker.
During the Council meeting, City Attorney Ricardo Woods stated that the trash was significantly behind.
"They said we were 13 weeks behind on the trash. That is untrue, but when you put 29 people off the job how far behind do you think it is going to get? It seems as if they want to privatize the industry and get all of these men on the unemployment line and it's ridiculous," says a worker.
Many fear of losing their job.
"They clearly stated that they are retaliating and why is there a reason to retaliate when you could have talked it out," says a worker.
Nearly 50 workers have signed a petition for removal of Public Service Supervisor II Jeffery Dees. NBC 15 reached out to the interim director Mr. Peevy who is over the trash department employees and he told us he could not give us a comment.