Raleigh council allows sanitation workers' payroll deductions
Updated: 12/5/2006 7:38:33 PM
By: Kenneth Moton
RALEIGH -- It's money out of their paychecks, but it's exactly what they wanted.
"I'm ecstatic," said Raleigh sanitation worker Lonnie Habuda. "I'm so happy about this; it's just been a struggle to get this on the table."
Sanitation workers on strike for better pay, better hours and other conditions in this file photo.
The city council approved a measure six to two that would allow state union group UE Local 150 to take a monthly fee of $13 out of sanitation workers' pay.
Payroll deductions are something organizations for city police and firefighters already do.
The council also voted to waive a $1,000 one-time fee the city would charge the union. So now Raleigh will be refunding that fee to any police and firefighter group that has already paid it.
"Organizations need resources to train their members on health safety, to train their members on community and public relations and also to take up their legal fights," said UE Local 150 President Angaza Laughinghouse.
Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen was against the request. He says it provides a private benefit, not a public one.
UE Local 150 gained popularity with sanitation workers after they went on strike saying they were underpaid, understaffed and overworked. The city took steps to correct the problems.
Councilman Phillip Isley says the union group is going too far. North Carolina is a right to work state which means bargaining as a group is illegal. He believes the council's recent approval is giving the organization more power and that's treading in dangerous waters.
Laughinghouse says it all about better rights, and they're one step closer.