Thursday, October 3, 2013

NYC Teamsters make splash with campaign to fix commercial waste industry

Teamsters JC 16 President George Miranda and Teamster brothers and sisters
New York City welcomed the news yesterday of the Teamsters' new coalition to reform the commercial waste industry, an alliance that includes small businesses fed up with shakedowns and environmentalists fed up with fighting air pollution.

Sean Campbell, president of Teamsters Local 813, told a news conference yesterday what union members are fed up with. The Epoch Times reported on his remarks:
Growing up, jobs in the sanitation industry were good paying jobs with good pension plans. Now the majority of private owners pay very low wages and little in benefits. Many break the most basic health and safety regulations.
At the same news conference, Teamsters International Vice President George Miranda (and Teamsters Joint Council 16 president) called on the city to work with unions and community groups to tackle commercial waste in New York City.
It's time we open a new phase of recycling with New York's commercial carters.
Errol Louis with Bettina Damiani of Good Jobs
New York, which endorsed the coalition's report.
New York City's beloved Daily News columnist Errol Louis wholeheartedly endorsed the plan by what he called "an unlikely environmental activists and neighborhood groups." Louis explained what's wrong with New York's commercial waste industry:
...the commercial trash removal system has been an environmental and economic scandal for decades. In 1996, prosecutors indicted dozens of carting company executives, accusing them of running the garbage firms as branches of the Genovese and Gambino crime organizations. The mayor at the time, Rudy Giuliani, created a government agency, the Trade Waste Commission (now called the Business Integrity Commission), to weed out the crooks. 
But Rudy didn’t kill the beast. This year, federal prosecutors arrested 30 waste haulers, calling them members of the Gambino, Genovese and Luchese crime families and accusing them of racketeering — everything from loansharking to shaking down legitimate businesses and dividing up the New York area into territories controlled by different mobsters. 
To make matters worse, according to Transform Don’t Trash, a large number of commercial waste companies compete in the same neighborhoods, with multiple diesel-powered trucks running up and down the same streets, spewing soot and leaving potholes and chewed-up pavement in their wake. A lack of oversight leaves low-level waste workers badly underpaid and exposed to poisons, disease and accidents, making trash collection and removal one of the 10 deadliest occupations in America. 
And most of the garbage finally arrives in low-income, outer-borough neighborhoods. Manhattan, which generates 41% of the city’s commercial waste, has only 2% of the city’s solid waste transfer stations and 3% of the recycling facilities, according to the coalition.