Teamster leaders are hailing a vote by the Los Angeles City Council this week to overhaul the city’s waste-collection system so that more materials are diverted from landfills, and will give responsible employers a better chance to do the work.
“This is going to be the most exacting, the most ambitious, gold-standard waste recycling system not just in the country, but in the world,” Greg Good, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s director of infrastructure and a former project director with the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), told the Los Angeles Times.
Landlords for businesses and apartments now choose from among scores of competing businesses to haul their trash, the Times reported. Under the new “exclusive franchise” system, Los Angeles will be divided into 11 zones. Haulers will bid for city contracts giving them the exclusive right to collect garbage in each zone, according to the Times.
The new approach will be hitched to environmental standards: To be eligible to win each zone, haulers would have to provide bins for recycling and use “clean fuel” vehicles, as well as meet other ecologically friendly requirements, the Times reported.
“We’ll no longer have to go with companies that are bottom feeders, that skirt workers’ health and safety rights, that undermine the companies that are responsible and that are good employers,” said Ron Herrera, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 396 in Covina, California. “It will put companies on a level playing field.”
“This victory was the result of nearly three dozen organizations working together—LAANE, the LA Federation of Labor, worker rights’ groups, worker health and safety groups, environmental groups, community groups and faith-based groups,” Herrera said.
The council voted 12 to 1 to approve an ordinance laying out the rules for the new system. There will be a second procedural vote next week.