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Workplace Issues Today: Newark workers not allowed to volunteer on furlough day

After Newark Mayor Cory Booker urged city residents to volunteer during the financial crisis, sanitation workers came into work on a furlough day to pick up residents garbage for free. They were not allowed to get into their trucks, baffling the workers. Layoffs in Newark are scheduled for November 12, and the sanitation workers will make up around 30% or 251 or the 850 layoffs. The workers make between $25,000 and $40,000 a year, some of the lowest wages in the city. The Mayor says that if they outsource trash collection to a private company the city can save more than $7 million. But the President of SEIU Local 617 says that the analysis is based only on trash collection costs, not the other services that the department performs, like cleaning parks, mowing and emergency services. The city says that the workers never officially informed them that they wanted to volunteer.

See “Newark sanitation workers show up on furlough day to protest layoffs,” by David Giambusso, The Star-Ledger, Oct 20 2010 (SD)

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