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Baltimore DPW reports ‘significant delays’ in trash collection with workers refusing to show

Dozens of Baltimore’s Department of Public Works employees are refusing to show up to work, according to a release sent Friday night. As a result, DPW is reporting “significant delays” in trash collection.

Meanwhile, recycling services across the city have been suspended for three weeks, following the temporary shutdown of the Bowleys Lane sanitation facility in East Baltimore because of an outbreak of COVID-19. Seven workers there had tested positive for the virus.

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In response to the staffing shortage, DPW had planned to mobilize staff from other sanitation crews — but the workers refused to come back to work. Fifty-nine workers were called in but didn’t show up, said department spokeswoman Yolanda Winkler.

The workers had previously been on “permission leave” — getting paid but not having to come into work, according to the release. The workers had been placed on leave to “reduce COVID spread and reserve employees for core operations, if and when needed,” Winkler wrote in an email.

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The department announced the end of so-called permission leave and plans to fire anyone who doesn’t come back to work. The department is also looking to recruit replacements.

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