Wednesday, October 2, 2013

NYC Teamsters begin campaign to create good commercial waste jobs

Teamsters Joint Council 16 President George Miranda with Sean Campbell,
president of Teamsters Local 813.
(Updates to add photo)

New York City Teamsters and their allies have high hopes for a campaign launched today to increase good jobs, recycling and justice in the commercial waste industry. New Yorkers are paying attention.

This morning the New York Daily News reported the Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN)  is recommending the city adopt a franchise system involving competitive bidding, a reduced number of companies and higher environmental and labor standards.

What the newspaper missed was the creation of a strong new alliance -- Transform Don't Trash NYC -- to make that happen. The campaign to tackle the problems of New York City's commercial waste industry involves the Teamsters, ALIGN, environmental justice and community advocacy groups.

A month away from Election Day, mayoral and city council candidates would do well to listen to their message.

Teamsters Joint Council 16 President George Miranda said at a City Hall news conference today:
Today is the day we make New York City a better place to live and work.
Miranda told the press wages are falling in New York's commercial waste industry, with new hires in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island earning just below $20,000 a year:
This industry has become a "Wild West." Unsafe and sometimes illegal operators are driving a race to the bottom in wages and health and safety.
The news conference followed the release of a study showing the city could recycle and compost more than 90 percent of commercial waste, but the current rate is much lower than that.

"This stinks," wrote Daily News reporters Daniel Beekman and Stephen Rex Brown:
...of the 3.2 million tons of commercial waste generated each year, 2 million tons are buried in landfills or burned in incinerators. 
The Alliance for a Greater New York, which wrote the report released Wednesday, blames a dysfunctional commercial waste industry that reeks of inefficiency.
Eddie Bautista, executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, said  it's time to stop burying low-income communities of color under mountains of commercial waste.
The time has come for New York City to stop burying communities -- as well as burying potential recycling jobs. ... the next mayor can really jumpstart a commercial recycling program that both increases long-neglected recycling work opportunities, while continuing to decrease our carbon footprint.
Teamsters Joint Council 16 includes Teamsters Local 831, which represents New York City sanitation workers.