Hoboken City workers joined Local 108 to gain a voice on the job.
Almost 100 crossing guards and sanitation workers employed by Hoboken City in New Jersey joined RWDSU Local 108 on May 5, after the city agreed to recognize the union due to overwhelming support. According to sanitation worker James Richardson, the workers joined the union to change a lack of respect they received on the job, and to win more pay and benefits.
“We worked full-time schedules, sometimes over 35 hours a week, but we never got any kind of benefits or good pay,” Richardson said. “We had no control over our hours, and in eight years there I only got two small raises. We all knew it was time for a change.”
Many of the Hoboken workers had been on the job for over 20 years, and had never received decent pay. In addition, the only holidays the workers received were city holidays, without additional personal or vacation days.
“The workers saw the kind of pay and benefits other Local 108 members in the same line of work get, and wanted to join,” said Local 108 Representative Eric Igbokwe.
Besides pay and benefits, the Hoboken workers just wanted what all union workers have – a voice in the workplace that cannot be ignored.
“We tell management about problems or issues we have, and it would just go in one ear and out the other,” Richardson said. “Now with a union, I think they’ll listen.”