Columbus city sanitation worker voices pay concerns

(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)
(Source: Sharifa Jackson/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's city workers who say they keep the city progressing, but many believe they are being treated less than other city counterparts.

An employee of the Public Works Department is speaking out about dissatisfaction over recent monetary issues and disagreements.

This Columbus city worker, who wants to remain anonymous, says the problems stem from a new payroll conversion announced by city leaders a month ago.

The proposed change would change how often the public work employees are paid, from weekly to bi-weekly.

"I budget with the weekly pay. My wife, she works and gets paid every week, and we pull all our money together to pay our bills. They expect us to change, that's going to cut out like two whole weeks of my budget, and how we plan to do things. Basically, the rent man not going to wait," said the city sanitation worker.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson speaking with us in May about this payroll change. She says the change would actually benefit city workers.

"Now because of the paycheck conversion they're going to receive a two-week paycheck on the fourth and a two-week paycheck on the eighteenth which is three weeks later so we are giving them a bonus," said Mayor Tomlinson.

The new payroll is not the only issue being protested.

Workers are also raising concern over the lack of any substantial departmental raises.

Some workers saying they haven't seen a substantial pay increase in more than 7 years.

"People think that because we work for the city we make a lot, but we really don't. When you break it down, in all actuality, somebody at Burger King might make more than we do," said the anonymous city worker.

These workers handle things like infrastructure, sewer systems, and street maintenance, and now they're hoping for a possible change.

"When you start treating people less than human because essentially that's what it is, you start affecting people's pockets, and their children you have no respect for the people actually taking care of your city, and it's just not right," said the city worker.

City officials promoting this change say the payroll conversion is needed in order to eliminate weekly payroll practices and create standard pay practices across all Government departments.

"People in this area has been getting paid like this for 30-40 years. I mean, people are used to this, this is what they are now, when throw change in like that, of course, they are going to have somebody to say something about it," said the city sanitation worker.

The payroll conversion has been approved, but the decision to alter the bonus pay period will go back to council for a vote next Tuesday, June 27.

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