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Wastebusters Investigation
First Cranston, now Eyewitness News uncovers the cost for crossing guards
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Imagine making 45-dollars a day...for only an hour's work. That's how much Cranston crossing guards get paid... And while some say it's a waste of tax payer money...Cranston isn't alone. The Eyewitness News Wastebusters team started digging ...and found out it's costing other communities just as much...if not more.

Eyewitness News Investigator Sean Daly is live with his exclusive watsebusters report. 

First came Cranston, but now an Eyewitness News Investigation reveals Providence and Warwick are cracking down on crossing guards, too. Listen to the staggering numbers and the wonder may be, what took so long. 

Crossing guards in action it was a revelation that touched a nerve instantly. Cranston's crossing guards earn $45 dollars a day for an hour's work, plus plush benefits: free family health insurance, paid holidays, sick days, and life and dental insurance.

Rhode Island reacted with anger and with the rough equivalent of a collective,

"Nice work if you can get it." Mayor Stephen Laffey is in the process of trying to fire the crossing guards and replace them with fewer, non-union workers to cross the city's students.

Now, Eyewitness News has learned the crossing guards are in the cross hairs in Providence and Warwick, too.

"I'm happy to be the leader in this movement. It gets to be this now, Sean. Either you're with the taxpayers or you're against them. Everybody draw a line. Hop on one side." 

If there is a movement and if those are the rules, the Mayors of Providence and Warwick are hopping on the side of the taxpayers, too. The crossing guards there don't have quite as sweet a deal as they do in Cranston, but it's hardly sour.

In Providence, crossing guards earn $75 dollars a day, but they're supposed to work a longer day, four and a half hours, even though it's unclear whether they always do.

Warwick's crossing guards work the same hour a day as Cranston's but for six dollars less, $39 dollars. All three cities include free health insurance, but in Warwick it's not immediate. Finally, crossing guards in Warwick and Providence get more paid sick days than they do in Cranston.

 In short, all three cities treat their crossing guards well, even if many of the crossing guards themselves prefer to talk about safety, not salary.  "I think they're getting a good deal because their kids are getting back and forth to school with safety. That's the first priority, safety. What about price? I don't think it should be a money issue as long as your kids are getting back and forth to school. Shouldn't be a money issue? no, it shouldn't. The taxpayers shouldn't care what they're paying crossing guards? well, they should care but their kids are being safety back and forth to school." 

The mayors of Providence and Warwick believe it is a money issue. As Cranston tries to replace its crossing guards, Providence and Warwick are trying to negotiate new contracts that save the taxpayers money.

 "Obviously, we want to look for some concessions this year. You say obviously, is the current contract, beyond being unacceptable, is it a joke? I would never say that."  Is the deal right now for the crossing guards, mayor, and for years has it been, too sweet? look, the crossing guards, what we're doing to i think respond to an old system is to change those working conditions." 

But change won't come easily or quickly. In different ways, the mayors of all three cities expect the same response from the crossing guards: resistance.

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