(NEW YORK) – Teamster leaders from across the country are applauding today’s announcement by the de Blasio administration to overhaul New York City’s waste-collection system. The plan seeks to create commercial waste zones throughout the city to reduce traffic, improve recycling and protect workers with higher safety standards.
“For far too long, private companies have operated with total disregard for workers and the communities in which they serve. Sanitation workers perform one of the most dangerous jobs in the country and they deserve the highest level of protection,” said Jim Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “The Teamsters will continue to lead the fight for justice in New York City and across the country so that sanitation workers can win the protections they need to stay safe and provide for their families.”
The Teamsters Union represents thousands of public and private sanitation workers in New York City and is part of a growing coalition of labor and environmental organizations dedicated to transforming New York City’s commercial trash industry.
“We have been working in the shadows for too long, but Mayor de Blasio is shining the light on this industry,” said Sean Campbell, President of Teamsters Local 813, which represents private sanitation workers in New York City.
The announcement comes less than two months after the release of a report, authored by the Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition, recommended more accountability in New York City’s sanitation industry through a commercial waste zone policy and other measures. The report also finds that 96 percent of the safety violations committed in the past two years by the largest haulers in New York City were caused by vehicle maintenance, while 3 percent were related to driver fitness and only 1 percent related to unsafe driving.
“The administration collected the data and these facts don’t lie. Today’s private sanitation industry is grossly inefficient, impacting our roads, air quality and safety. This is the plan we need to create a private sanitation industry that New York can be proud of,” said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16, whose affiliate locals represent workers at private companies and at the Department of Sanitation.
Ron Herrera, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division, praised the fact that the sweeping new reforms will hold private sanitation companies to strict environmental and labor standards.
“This is an important step in the right direction that will help put an end to bottom-feeder companies that harm both workers and the community,” Herrera said. “On behalf of more than 30,000 Teamster members fighting for justice in the sanitation industry, I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to worker safety.”
Transform Don’t Trash NYC is a growing coalition dedicated to transforming New York City’s commercial trash industry to reduce waste and pollution, foster clean and healthy communities and create good jobs. For more information, visit www.transformdonttrashnyc.org.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.