PUBLIC WORKERS FEAR COVID-19 INFECTION
This Spring, Miami Public Works employees were active filling potholes, pruning trees, cutting grass, and tending to storm drains amid the coronavirus outbreak. In return, they were provided with bright highlighter-yellow shirts bearing the words “practice social distancing” aimed at promoting the battle against the spread of the coronavirus. However, amid the recent uncontrolled surge in COVID cases throughout Florida, the workers consider this hypocritical, given the fact that their superiors are allegedly ignoring their dire request to impose greater social distancing measures and the use of facial coverings while on the job.
Thus far, about ten workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and most admit that this could have been easily prevented. According to one worker, the use of the shirts was a facade tainted with negligence. Several more workers claimed they were concerned about losing their jobs or being reprimanded for bringing this matter into the public scope. Furthermore, other workers claim that the Miami Public Works managers ordered dozens of workers to report to work to carry out tasks on the same shifts in a five-day work week, which results in overcrowding, especially within city vehicles. All this makes social distancing very difficult to achieve. During June and July, work crews included four or five staff members per service vehicle. The result was an entire work crew testing positive for the coronavirus with one worker having to be admitted to hospital for treatment.