May 27, 2020

On the Job: Vonnie Moore

City of Evanston Department of Streets and Sanitation, Local 1891

We know we are essential, and we need to be out there. We’re like the post office: Regardless of the weather, we go. 

Sometimes sanitation seems to be at the bottom of the totem pole. But we know that we have a tool that will help us if something goes sideways real fast or real hard. That’s our union and it’s a good feeling. If we didn’t have a union, a lot of us would be out of work or [management] would do some things that we wouldn’t like. Having a union in place helps us get things done. 

When this virus started, management didn’t come to us to ask what we need, they made the decision for us. So, we had a conversation with management and our union executive board. Everyone had an opportunity to express themselves. A lot of things you can do by the book, but it takes those of us in the field to get it done right.

Now we’re taking precautionary measures to stay safe. Normally there are two guys in a vehicle and now we have one person per vehicle, and we follow each other.

The public has been wonderful. They come out and talk to us. Today a resident came out and gave one of our guys a mask the same color as his fluorescent jacket. People have given us face masks, refreshments, and a lot of smiles and compliments. They say thank you for doing your job, thank you for being here, thank you for working and stay safe. That helps. 

As I was told 18 years ago when I got this job, it takes a special kind of person to do sanitation work.

We have 10 route drivers—the best group I’ve ever worked with—and we’re dedicated to what we do. The fact that we like one another and get along well, that gets us through the day. We have a good laugh and keep on going. We look after each other.

We all try to do our job with enthusiasm, with respect and with dignity.

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