Note: This post has been updated.
One Dallas neighborhood is inviting their sanitation workers over for candy after a recent Dallas Morning News profile of one such worker.
Larry Offutt, a resident of Bryan Parkway, said he appreciated the reminder of what hard work hauling garbage is. He and two neighbors bought dozens of pairs of gloves and will attach them to every garbage and recycling can on their block with a friendly note for trash pick-up day Friday.
“Sometimes we forget to say thank you and how much we appreciate the service you provide,” the note says, adding: “DO NOT FORGET… bring your family over to TRICK or TREAT… best and most fun in the city.”
Offutt said his neighborhood sees thousands of children turn out every Halloween from all over the city, and residents love that. He hopes to see city workers this year.
“We forget what an important service that is and we take it for granted,” he said.
The News story profiled sanitation worker Markeese Griggs to illustrate the role of the city’s lowest paid workers. Rank and file city employees make at least $10.62 an hour, but positions such as sanitation workers and janitors are filled via contracts with private staffing companies and workers often make minimum wage of $7.25 or only slightly more.
Dallas City Council members and Dallas county officials have recently discussed requiring companies holding city contracts to pay their workers a “living wage” of at least $10.25 or $10.37 on those jobs. But both the city and county have backed away from that idea, saying the issue is better addressed contract-by-contract when the bidding process occurs.
Numerous readers reached out to the News after the Griggs story to express surprise that city trash crews made so little and to ask how to help.
Many concerns centered around how sanitation workers said the work gloves they are provided wear out quickly and are often not replaced frequently enough. Griggs said if he could get a pay increase, he would buy himself a better pair.
After the story ran, Kelly High, director of the Dallas Sanitation Services Department, said city officials had instructed the staffing company to replace gloves more frequently and consider whether another type of glove would be better.
Friday, Mayor Mike Rawlings sent council members a memo explaining why he preferred to address the wage issue via the contract bidding process rather than having a city policy apply to all contracts. He requested another briefing on the topic Oct. 21.