Union Representative expects more city workers to call out sick

By Stephanie Claytor

Published 08/07 2014 06:26PM

Updated 08/07 2014 06:36PM

It's the third day this week, large numbers of city workers call out sick.

First, nearly three dozen sanitation workers called out sick for two days, now eight customer service reps with water and sewage department.


"This going city wide,” fears Sheila Johnson. She is the President of the Shreveport City Workers Local Union #1325. She said the issues are widespread.


"Horrible working conditions, heavy workload, shortage of employees, not to mention the pay,” said Sheila Johnson.


Johnson met with Jarrad Johnson Thursday, who she said was bullied by his supervisor while working for the Water and Sewage Field Operations Division.


“I feel as if I was treated unfair,” said Jarrad Johnson, a five year city employee.


Johnson said he reported the issue to management but that didn’t work, so he retaliated, and  was subsequently forced to resign.


“The supervisors, they do a lot of bullying, do a lot of harassing, and the employee is only going to take so much,” said Sheila Johnson.


NBC 6 asked Barbara Featherston, who oversees the Water and Sewage Department, about Jarrad Johnson’s case. She said she can not discuss individual personnel issues, but did say she's not aware of any workforce violence, nor has she received any phone calls about issues within the customer service division.


Meanwhile, the sanitation workers are back on schedule picking up trash, but they still want their pay to be more than eight and 12 dollars an hour. They also say the 23 vacancies in the department, force them to pick up the extra load, forcing them to work Monday through Thursday from 6:45 am until 7 pm.


"We always ask about raises in our department, and they always say they're not in the budget. But it's budget time, so we want to make sure we get in the budget,” said Randall Burr.


The sanitation workers said they’re getting positive feedback from the community.


“They start giving us tips and they’re starting to appreciate us more than they ever done before,” said Michael Brown.


All city workers are asked to meet with Sheila Johnson, their union representative Friday at 7:00 p.m.  at the New Macedonia Baptist Church in Shreveport.


Barbara Featherston also said they had no problems answering customers phone calls Thursday. Supervisors stepped in for those who called out sick.

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