Trash Collection Resumes In Greenville

Garbage pickup resumed in Greenville Thursday morning as sanitation workers ended their walkout.

An estimated 75 employees on Wednesday refused to pickup the city's trash in protest over working conditions. The employees said a new work attendance policy given to them that morning prompted the walkout.

The employees stayed at the Public Works Complex until city police were called in around 1:30 p.m.

This morning sanitation pickup resumed as crews rolled out with their trucks. It's not clear if the grievances that prompted Wednesday's walkout have been settled.



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The sanitation saga will continue in Greenville Thursday. It is unclear if the city's crews will report for work.

Anyone who put their trash out Wednesday in Greenville did not see it get picked up. A walkout for a second day on Thursday would affect three days of trash collection since all city workers are off Friday for Veterans Day.

Some 70 to 75 workers in the Greenville Public Works Sanitation Department walked off the job, saying they're fed up with being treated "like trash". The entire fleet of trash trucks for the city remains parked at the Public Services Complex. The city workers say they walked out in order to force management to address issues about overtime, job security, raises and respect.

WITN's Lynnette Taylor will meet with the crews when they gather at 7 a.m. to keep everyone updated on what is in store for today.


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Striking sanitation workers have left a city complex after Greenville police arrived this afternoon.

Some 70 to 75 city employees walked off the job, saying they're fed up with being treated "like trash". The entire fleet of trash trucks for the city remains parked at the Public Services Complex.

At first, police told the media they had to leave city-owned property but gave reporters no explanation.

A short time later, the striking employees got into their vehicles and left the Public Works Complex. Some told WITN that they planned to meet at Philippi Church of Christ to meet with civil rights organizers and some members of city council.

The employees tell us they plan to report for work as normal Thursday morning, but it's unknown whether garbage will be picked up or not.

The employees became angry this morning when a supervisor outlined a new policy that begins November 14 for reporting for duty and when they should return to the Public Works Complex in the afternoon.

After the closed door meeting the workers gathered outside and then were told by Public Works Director Wes Anderson that they needed to return to work, or leave the property and come back tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. Workers did not leave and some told WITN that if they did they might be classified as abandoning their job. Those workers say they plan to sit at the complex until their normal quitting time and return in the morning. They say they will continue the work stoppage until some of their demands are truly considered.

The employees tell us they have taken their concerns before to City Manager Wayne Bowers, but claim he would always get back to them, and never does. The city manager left the complex without speaking to the media.

When asked about the possibility of garbage piling up in the city, Anderson said they would go into a contingency plan. The city says it plans to eliminate vegetative and recycling pickup for Thursday so crews can pick up the trash that was missed Wednesday.

Greenville says those residents who normally have garbage picked up Thursday and Friday should make sure they have cans at the curb Thursday morning for pickup because of the holiday on Friday.


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Greenville police have arrived at the city's Public Works Complex where striking sanitation workers have refused to leave or return to work.

Some 70 to 75 city employees walked off the job, saying they're fed up with being treated "like trash". The entire fleet of trash trucks for the city remains parked at the Public Works Complex.

Shortly before 1:00 p.m. the employees were told if they didn't leave the property the police would be called. Police arrived and have told the media they had to leave city property.

At least one current city council member, and a newly elected member are at the location.

The employees became angry this morning when a supervisor outlined a new policy that begins November 14 which sets new procedures for reporting for duty and when they should return to the Public Works Complex in the afternoon.

After the closed door meeting, the workers gathered outside and then were told by Public Works Director Wes Anderson that they needed to return to work, or leave the property and come back tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. Workers did not leave and some told WITN that if they did they might be classified as abandoning their job.

Those workers say they plan to sit at the complex until their normal quitting time and return in the morning. The employees say they will continue the work stoppage until some of their demands are truly considered.

The employees tell us they have taken their concerns before to City Manager Wayne Bowers, but claim he would always say he'd get back to them, and never does. The city manager left the complex without speaking to the media.

When asked about the possibility of garbage piling up in the city, Anderson said they would go into a contingency plan, but would not elaborate what that is.


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Some 70 to 75 Greenville sanitation workers have walked off the job, saying they're fed up with being treated "like trash". The entire fleet of trash trucks for the city remains parked at the Public Works Complex.

The work stoppage began this morning at the city's public works department after their supervisor called a 7:00 a.m. meeting with employees about reporting to work on time. The workers say there are pay and overtime issues which they claim are unfair. They also say they're concerned about workers getting hurt while on the job and then being let go.

At one point workers went inside the city complex to speak with City Manager Wayne Bowers, but when our cameras were not allowed inside, the workers left the meeting. A short time later the employees agreed to meet with the city manager and public works director without the media present.

Workers say this morning they were given a new policy that begins November 14th which outlines procedures for reporting for duty and who they are supposed to report to. The new policy says sanitation workers cannot return to the complex parking lot prior to 3:00 p.m. Several employees tell us they're being treated like children and there's no leniency with the new policy. They claim if their work isn't finished by 3:00 p.m. they don't get paid for any extra time.

Stay with WITN News and witn.com for more on this developing story.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Teresa Location: Farmville on Nov 15, 2011 at 09:15 AM
    If the entire crew quit then it is a managerial problem. That is commonsense. If everyone felt the same then you have 40 against one. All 40 are not wrong. Check management. I live in Farmville. These people work hard to get the job done. So what if they bust their butts to finish early. If you are a salary worker, you can do it.Look at all the hurricanes we have had and other storms. These people were out there handling there business. They work hard in a stinky environment. I would never want that job but I thank God there are people who can tolerate the smell and pick my trash up. I have seen trash cans from people who don't even use trash bags. These people pick them up just like the ones with the trash bags. I have much respect for the sanitation workers. Pay them well because that is a filthy job..and full of germs.
  • by Joseph Location: Raleigh on Nov 13, 2011 at 07:43 PM
    I support the workers against the bosses every time - no contest. All workplaces should be run democratically with input and aid from the community. This is the essence of Socialism. Capitalism is finished! We are the 99%!
  • by gail on Nov 13, 2011 at 05:36 PM
    councilman,that's part of the problem now; no respect for the hard, smelly job these men do. i would love to see you do.the weather,temps, and smells you wouldn't last a day.i was taught if they keep you on a job then you are doing a good job hence a raise is earned. we'll see what you have to say come voting time.
  • by Tyee Location: Hyde County on Nov 13, 2011 at 12:07 AM
    In management 202, the manager is responsible for time and motion studies, motivation, etc. Fire one or two who are not peforming well, the others will get the message. Firing lots of people gets the manager in trouble and the job still is not done correctly.
    • reply
      by gail on Nov 13, 2011 at 05:39 PM in reply to Tyee
      how about all you negative people try out the job ,then talk.
      • reply
        by Tyee on Nov 13, 2011 at 09:06 PM in reply to gail
        I am not negative and neither were my comments. They were from a managerial standpoint and my qualifications for those comments come directly from a degree in management. What part of my comments did you think was negative. I have shaken the hands of some of these men and said, Thank you. Have you done that? Maybe my comment fell in the wrong place?
  • by Tyee Location: Hyde County on Nov 11, 2011 at 04:09 AM
    Have you ever SHAKEN the hand of a garbage collector? They are large, extra hard, do not know their pay scale but they work hard and almost never get a thank you. Would it be below your dignity to just say, thank you? They deserve to be recognized and appreciated.
  • by To Insider on Nov 10, 2011 at 05:49 PM
    I have serveral friends that work in various department and they are all saying the same thing so you must truly be an insider. There probably are some managament issues but the real story is they have had it made and now someone has finally got some B.... and are making changes. This will help the moral of the other departments.
  • by Councilman Location: Greenville on Nov 10, 2011 at 04:00 PM
    About time these lazy slackers get back to work.
  • by PG Location: Greenville on Nov 10, 2011 at 03:31 PM
    A lot of people haven't have raises in years, my wife is a professor at ECU and she hasn't had a raise in 5 years either. Thats a sign of the times I'm sure. If you don't want to do the job quit. There are plenty or people who would love a job with the health insurance and other benifits city employees receive.
    • reply
      by 40some on Nov 10, 2011 at 05:16 PM in reply to PG
      Your wife is a professor?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 12, 2011 at 02:19 PM in reply to PG
      Your wife don't need a raise. I am sure she is making plenty.
  • by Cooper Location: Greenville on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:54 AM
    Thanks Harry for starting this conversation. When an entire department agrees to walk away from their jobs and livelihood,there is a management issue. The City of Greenville, would be wise to start with him. The manager has become the department's common enemy. This is what happens when you have an autocracy. We may not like each other but we will come together to get you. The manager needs to be looked at very closely; people don't risk their jobs because of one policy change.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 10, 2011 at 02:26 PM in reply to Cooper
      There probably is a management issue. There usually is. But realistically management would make a stricter sign in and out policy unless the current system was being abused.
  • by George Location: Greenville on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:52 AM
    So.... these people are mad because they have to be to work on time? The whole report to a supervisor thing makes me think that some of the late workers have their coworkers clock in for them. Which in most companies is grounds for dismissal. Then again, I'm just brain storming here. I only wonder if they will get paid for the lost work time on Wednesday or will they have to use a vacation day. I hope they don't get to use a sick day for that because being sick and tired of something isn't really the same as truly being sick. If they want a higher paying job then they should get a better education. Perhaps they could get a degree from Pitt Community or ECU? What a bunch of slackers these people are! I hope the new Mayor kicks their butts!
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