Local workers endure cold weather or don't get paid - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local workers endure cold weather or don't get paid

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - When it's this cold out, most of us opt to stay indoors, but for some in our area, that's just not an option. Folks whose work requires them to be outside have two choices-- bundle up and bear it, or take the pay cut. So to keep food on the table at home, they become experts on working through the freeze.

Lineman Jason Rollins' job has put him outside for the last 19 years. Friday, it was on Mowbray Mountain.

"Wool socks with insulated boots, my thermals, my jeans, then I have insulated coveralls on, my thermal shirt, my sweatshirt and then my big jacket, my head warmer and of course, my hard hat and gloves," EPB Lineman Jason Rollins said.

He says working through the frigid temperatures comes down to preparation.

Some workers with Rebuilt Construction are bundled up to the max, too.

"Jump suits and staying busy pretty much, and a fire. Sometimes you have to build one on each corner," construction worker Chuck Sturdivant said.

They built fires around their Hixson work site to thaw out.

Some are working to pay their way through college.

"When we're on break we're normally out here all through the summer and all through the winter," construction worker Bailey Mason said.

Many, like Sturdivant, have families to feed, and since winter builds can be hard to come by, they jump at any chance for a pay day regardless of the weather.

"You've got to work all year round to support them," Sturdivant said.

At the end of the freezing cold day, they say they take pride in what they do for their families and community.

"We're expected to come out anytime the power is interrupted to repair it, no matter what the weather, but you take the good with the bad, the hot with the cold," Rollins said.

Some employers will send the crews home when it's snowing. That's what happened for the Rebuilt Construction team Thursday. However, that snow caused more work for others. EPB says they had to call in extra crews overnight, due to snapped tree limbs knocking down power lines.

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