Mayor Rawlings on Our Moral Obligation to Garbage Workers

DMN reports on comments that Mayor Mike Rawlings made at a city budget briefing on Tuesday about his desire to move sanitation workers from being contract workers to become city employees.

“It worries me when times get good that we use outsourcing just to pay people less money,” Rawlings said. “There’s a policy issue there.”

Rawlings noted that most of those contract workers are minorities and he invoked Wednesday’s 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

“People are very confused about what this economic justice is all about and it’s looking, it’s staring us right in the face,” Rawlings said. “We’ve got to figure out how to get these folks a living wage and a career that they can grow in this city.”

There’d be a $3.2 million cost involved in making a change like this. That’d likely be passed on to Dallas residents via sanitation fee hikes or, in future years, even a property tax increase. Are you willing to pay?

Should the city make sanitation workers city employees, even if it means Dallas residents pay higher taxes or fees? free polls 


  • Greg Brown

    What is up with this Rawlings guy? He actually seems to give a shit about human beings that don’t give him large sums of money. How did he ever get elected?

  • Greg Brown

    What is up with this Rawlings guy? He actually seems to care about human beings that DO NOT give him large sums of money. How did he ever get elected?

  • dutch

    oh, sure, let’s make them city employees, great idea. then they can unionize and strike demanding more when they feel like it. oh, and let’s also burden the city with another pension plan. that’s worked out great for Detroit.

    no one makes these people take jobs as sanitation workers. they choose the work.

  • Jason

    Sure, I’m in favor of Dallas residents paying higher taxes or fees to selectively pursue economic justice.

  • Greg Brown

    We can’t all live in an idyllic world of white paper, carpet and cubicles. Someone has to take out the trash, clean the streets, keep the sewers running, unclog your toilet, care for the sick, and on and on. Because an occupation is considered “dirty” the people that do it are also dirty and not worthy of basic human respect?

  • Mike

    I believe this is the third year in a row they’ve demanded higher wages on MLK day and been sure to remind us that most sanitation workers are minorities, just in case you haven’t got the subtle hint that any opposition to this is automatically racist. So, we have the race card and promises of low costs that will turn out to be untrue a few years down the road, in other words, modern american government in a nutshell.

  • Wes Mantooth

    Simmer down, that’s an irresponsible reply. That’s not Dutch’s point at all. Dutch didn’t say anything about garbage workers not being deserving of basic human respect.

    Rawlings has a fair point, but the fair counterpoint is that municipal governments need to be cautious about how they add new employees and classes of new employees. It’s a far cry from being “deserving of basic human respect” to being a salaried, unionized, pensioned worker with the attendant increased costs to the city. I know that it’s a pipe dream, but we should be able to have this discussion without it immediately veering into the ditch of assuming ill intent of the other party and the attendant hyperbole.

  • Charles

    The goal needs to be how to provide the best level of service at the lowest cost. City government is not a charity or a make work program. My vote is to completely privatize residential garbage pickup like all of the suburban cities and most of the large cities in the U.S. Why are we competing against the private sector on this? We certainly aren’t complaining about the wages paid commercial garbage hauling companies.

  • Dubious Brother

    I am not sure when it happened but I believe Dallas privatized the garbage collection when faced with budget problems to save tax dollars and provide better service or am I misremembering that?.

  • Peter Simek

    Just an anecdote: My great-great grandfather was a farmer, his son was a barrel maker, and his son was a cabinet maker. The cabinet maker’s son, my grandfather, became a municipal sanitation worker. Thanks in part to that salary and stability, his son (my father) became the first person in his family to go to college. For immigrant and working class families, municipal jobs are often the means by which the opportunity promised by America begins to become accessible. That’s not increasing the cost of trash collection for the taxpayer, it’s investing in the future of your citizens, working to create upward mobility in your city and build a stronger economic base for the future. Yes, it shouldn’t get to where it got in Detroit, but not everywhere has ended up like Detroit.