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Overworked and underpaid: Richmond sanitation workers walk off job; demand changes

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Dozens of Richmond sanitation workers walked off the job Tuesday morning with complaints they were overworked and underpaid. The four hour work stoppage was organized to get the attention of leaders in Richmond's City Hall, employee representative Mavis Green said. In addition to low wages, Green said many of his co-workers have been working close to 40 hours a week for a decade, but are still considered part-time workers without health benefits.

Hours into Tuesday's work stoppage, Green and other employees went into a closed door meeting with city officials. An hour later they emerged, got back into their trucks and got to work.

Sharon North, the spokeswoman for the Richmond Public Works Department, said the city was aware of the workers' concerns and would take steps to finding solutions.

"There is already a compensation study underway to compare salaries of city workers with the salaries of other municipalities," she said.

North said the city was also looking for a new healthcare vendor that would e more affordable for employees and explained the city would explore making part-time employees full-time if they had been with the department five years or more.

Green said a follow-up meeting was scheduled for Thursday. He said if the city did not stay true to its word, the workers would resume their strike.