Dear Jimmie & Glen,
We address you directly as you have addressed us. First, we hope that your family and friends are safe and warm during this pandemic. We know how challenging these circumstances have been. We are sure that your family and friends have been affected as we have. It is our sincere prayer that you all continue to remain safe and sound. We are the workers, who, every day, regardless of the weather conditions or any pandemic, each week, help lift 12 million pounds of hazardous waste to keep this city running. We wake at 3- 4:00am and go faithfully to our routes. We have become a family, a group of brothers, who encourage and assist one another. Metro being an “African American locally owned company”, we expect that you would understand our position. Many of us have been working for Metro Services for years on end. We returned to work for Metro after a Hurricane devastated our city. You might be familiar with this hurricane…Katrina? During the holiday season many of us support this city as well. We follow parade routes, we go out on, after or during the Christmas and Thanksgiving Holiday’s. While we appreciate the opportunity to be employed anywhere, we only ask that you treat us humanely. Instead you claim to be so wonderful giving us lowly hopers a job at all. As you have state though; it may have been difficult to employ us seeing that we may not have been employed elsewhere. Yet, allow us a simple question; do our former lives indicate a right to treat us poorly? As can be seen we have improved and made major changes in our lives. This being the main reason we are in this place Today. WE FINALLY SAID ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! It is our understanding that you all started this business with your father. Are you aware of how many of your employees are fathers? How many of these men support children, while working hard to continually support the community? It Is said that “Metro is a multi-faceted corporation with specific expertise and certifications in the following areas: Environmental Services, Construction/Demolition, Emergency Response and Solid Waste Management.” If this is the case, can you explain to us why the trucks you all provide your workers with consistently leak hydraulic fluids? Are you aware that hydraulic fluid leaked into the environment effects the atmosphere and can have a lasting effect of up to 100 years? Do you all understand that inhaling these toxic fumes cause cancer and other incurable diseases? We assume this is not important to you all since you are not here on the front lines anymore. We compel you, challenge you, implore you, to come out one day on the garbage route and simply see the calamity that is Metro Disposable services. We have received more than $30,000 as a response to the unfair treatment from Metro. Does this in any way indicate that these allegations are lies? We took a stand just as in 1968 sanitation workers in Memphis Tennessee, who Dr.King marched with, who said, “we can’t take this anymore!” The people of this community are seeing these things happening every day. They see us without gloves, without supplies to perform the duties of this job. Why would people risk their livelihood to simply challenge you? We would like to inquire respectfully, who are you? Are you all citizens or corporate citizens? Do you only represent your conglomerate, or do you represent this community? Do you represent your families? What would your father say of the treatment of your employees? Would he be proud of the legacy you all are leaving behind? Would he be proud of your firing of employees asking for protective gear and fair pay? BLACK OWNED DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT EXPLOITING BLACK WORKERS TO FILL YOUR POCKETS. YOU SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. We know as citizens of this community that Metro receives 10.7 million dollars per year from the city to fund this business. These are tax paid dollars. As such, we have a right to ask for information. We have also been informed by workers directly that they are being replaced by parolees and prisoners. Men who have been threatened and told if they didn’t accept the “gainful employment” from you all, their freedom would be taken from them after conversations with their parole officers. Does this sound like a company who is interested in simply supporting the community?! Metro is also a partner with PeopleReady who make at a minimum of up to $15/hour. Why does People Ready get this pay every hour we work instead of simply paying us?! This information has been confirmed by a supervisor of PeopleReady. Obviously, it is not our goal to simply attack you all as men but, it is to beseech you; why won’t you treat us like men?! We are men! We demand Metro meet and negotiate with us to address these concerns.