Letter to the Editor: Thank you to our essential sanitation and city workers

Published 4:00 am Sunday, August 21, 2022

Dear Editor,

A big thank you to all the “essential” workers, specifically the sanitation and city workers.

They are heroes, too, in my opinion. They make it convenient for us to keep our neighborhoods clean, which prevents chaos and disease. I put them right up there with the police and fire departments, for their work is just as necessary in order for us to live in a civilized society. 

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Hauling debris, sometimes in the pouring rain and this super-hot weather is a taxing and dirty job. That’s why I’m concerned as a citizen of this city to see that they are treated fairly in their right to earn, learn and live.

So many times we forget the necessity of how some humans are treated in order to have a decent living. In my neighborhood, I’ve noticed that during pick-up days, there is a driver and one person on the back of the sanitation truck for pick-up.

Occasionally, the driver has to get out to help the essential worker load the trash containers on the truck to empty. Secondly, essential city workers keep our neighborhoods and public spaces looking beautiful. Some may have excellent horticultural skills, their skills know when it’s time to plant the beautiful flowers we see all over the city. I love to see the boulevards, don’t you?

My appreciation goes out to the essential workers that fix or monitor our pipes underground. They are a necessity because they alert us of the dangers of old and burst pipes. Those alerts help keep debris out of our pipes. What I’m saying is that in order to keep our essential workers healthy and safe, the City Officials must respect them and treat them with dignity.

Dignity means compensation.

Some of you are old enough to remember the infamous “Garbage Strike.” The Black sanitation workers in 1968 demanded higher pay and good working conditions. Historically, all these jobs grew out of that period, some even before that. If they are outsourced, demand more wages from the company for all essential workers. Monies can be found in budgets. The essential thing to do, Mayor and Board of Supervisors, is to demand that our workers get equal pay for their services. Do the right thing.

What matters is that they are treated with human dignity, have good health insurance, and get higher wages that meet the cost of living. Let’s support our essential workers. If you see them working, they are working for all of us. They have families too.

Sincerely,

Dr. D.J. Whitley

Vicksburg, Miss.