Citing concerns about pay and working conditions, City of Lawrence sanitation workers have taken a step toward unionization, and other employee groups may follow.

Teamsters Local 696 recently filed a petition with the City of Lawrence on behalf of the sanitation workers, whose duties include handling trash, recycling and yard waste collection, asking that the city conduct a union election. Matt Hall, secretary-treasurer and business agent for the Teamsters, told the Journal-World that more than 90% of the 70 sanitation workers supported the petition. Hall said the sanitation workers have multiple concerns, including pay and working conditions, such as work rules about routes, safety and equipment.

“Workers want more of a voice at the table,” Hall said. “They want to be able to have their concerns heard and addressed in a positive way.”

Hall said the city certified the petition this week, and the next step is for the Lawrence City Commission to set a date for the election. According to the city’s resolution governing unions, the employee organization must present a petition to the city clerk that is signed by at least 30% of the full-time employees in the group in order for an election to take place. The commission will then create a resolution setting the days and times for the election, which must be convenient for the employees.