Atlanta Sewage Workers Win One-day Strike
Stacy Shelton - Staff
Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Sanitation, streets, sewage and other Atlanta city workers returned to the job Tuesday after a one-day sit-out, a little richer and ready to flex their union muscle again.

"I feel like I was heard," sanitation worker Melvin Williams said. "I've gotten a positive attitude from all the employees, as well as the general public."

Williams and more than 1,000 other city employees earning $16,000 to $40,000 a year won both public support and Atlanta City Council votes Monday. The council and the mayor acquiesced to their demands, giving them the same $2,000 raise that police and firefighters got.

The workers say they'll be watching to make sure the city delivers.

Williams, a steward in training for the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said city workers would boycott cleanup duties for the July Fourth parade if the money hasn't been paid out.

"There's still a war we've got to fight," Williams said.

Monday's sit-out didn't cause any major disruptions in service, city officials said. The most obvious sign that work wasn't getting done was at the curbs, where full green trash cans were left untouched.

Atlanta's solid waste director, Cedric Maddox, said the rest of the week will be handled on a holiday schedule. Monday's trash was picked up Tuesday; homes that usually leave their trash out Tuesday will be picked up today, and so on.