Arguing that picking up used hypodermic needles and cleaning up human waste is not in their job description, Caltrans workers have filed a grievance with the state over the conditions they face when clearing homeless camps.
“After we met with several groups of them, they said, ‘You know, we didn’t sign up to do this,'” said Steve Crouch, director of public employees for the International Union of Operating Engineers’ bargaining unit that represents California Department of Transportation workers.
Crouch said he has heard similar complaints from Caltrans crews in large cities throughout the state.
Mark Fragoso, the union’s bargaining unit coordinator for Southern California, said the problem has been on the rise for some time. One Caltrans worker in San Diego was pricked with a hypodermic needle on the job and had to undergo several weeks of tests, he said.
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