Newark sanitation workers angry with Booker

30 Sep
Special to the AmNews

Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s weekend nirvana came to an abrupt end Monday afternoon after dozens of Newark sanitation workers who received layoff notices from City Hall blasted the mayor.

Booker had been enjoying a whirlwind weekend of television appearances, speeches and accolades from people across the country after it was announced last week that the city would receive a $100 million donation from the CEO of Facebook to help revamp Newark Public Schools.But then came Monday, when about 250 city sanitation workers received letters advising that layoffs were imminent in the next month or two. The proposed layoffs come amid cost-cutting measures and a renewed interest by City Hall in the privatization of city sanitation services and efforts to bridge a $70 million budget gap. Private trash haulers would save the Brick City millions in salaries and benefits.

“Why doesn’t he get rid of some of his people that are making astronomical figures and leave these people down here who aren’t making no money alone?” said one worker who declined to give his name.

Another worker accused Booker of “selling out.”

Others said Booker has already implemented a mandatory one-day-a-week furlough for sanitation workers.

“Every Wednesday we’re off—that’s 32 hours a month—20 percent of our pay,” another worker said. “Many of us don’t even make $40,000 a year.”

But sanitation workers are not the only municipal workers facing the budget ax. Word came late Monday that firefighters and police officers will also receive layoff notices this week.

In a press release issued on Monday, city officials said, “The administration has found significant savings in alternative and outsourced models for sanitation.”

A spokeswoman added, “There will not be a final determination as to the number of layoffs until the state completes its analysis of individual positions, which will occur over the next 45 days.”


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