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Workers Upset Over Lost Vacation

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For recovery crews, overtime is intruding on Christmas time this year. Tulsa Public Works crews have been working long hours after the ice storm. News On 6 anchor Omar Villafranca reports the city is now asking them give up their vacations during the holidays, to continue cleaning up.

The recovery process is well underway in Tulsa, but still there is plenty of work to be done. The city has asked more than 100 public works employees to give up any planned vacation and spend it picking up debris from the ice storm.

"They will still have the holiday, which is Christmas eve and Christmas day and New Year's Day, but we've asked them to put off their leave so that we can continue to go out into the communities and make it safe for people," said City of Tulsa Communications Manager Kim MacLeod.

Thousands of tree limbs litter Tulsa streets. Thousands more dangle in the treetops. MacLeod says there are more than 20 square miles of the city that are still dangerous due to weak trees and falling limbs.

"The reason they're being kept is because it is still a hazardous situation in the those areas and we have to get into those areas and begin to get them cleaned out," said Kim MacLeod.

The News On 6 spoke with several public works employees who didn't want to go on camera. The employees say the city's decision ruined plenty of vacation plans and effectively stole their Christmas.

MacLeod says the storm came at a bad time and hopes the city workers understand.

“Our employees are going to be feeling it for some time. They're going to feel it for some weeks to get everything back to normal. I hope our employees will be able to hang in there and see the light at the end of the tunnel," said MacLeod.

City public works employees will get Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day off and won't lose their vacation days. MacLeod says the city is working on bids to secure a contract with a private company to clean up the debris.

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