New York, NY — On March 18th, Mayor de Blasio signed legislation to protect workers in the commercial hauling industry.
Collecting and transporting trade waste, particularly in New York City, is a dangerous and strenuous job. The collection trucks are huge and must share the road with many other motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians: Intro. 1329-A gives the city the authority to register unions operating in the trade waste industry; Intro. 1368-A requires trade waste companies to provide workers’ rights information to certain employees; and Intro. 1373-A requires that labor and wage violations be referred to appropriate state or federal authorities.
“This package of bills will allow the City to better protect workers and the public from irresponsible companies who put profit before people. Along with our commercial waste zones proposal, this legislation takes another step toward increasing the safety of the waste management industry and protecting workers from abuse,” said Mayor de Blasio.
BIC has prioritized traffic safety for the trade waste industry, conducting a number of joint enforcement operations with the NYPD targeting unlawful operation of trade waste trucks. Since last summer, the NYPD and BIC have conducted approximately 15 joint operations, in which BIC issued more than 80 administrative violations to the companies, for issues such as undisclosed drivers, commingling recyclables with garbage and license plates not properly affixed to the trucks. 19 unsafe trade-waste trucks were put out of service on the spot and towed.
“Out of all of the poor labor practices within the private carting industry, one of the most egregious is the prevalence of sham unions,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management. “Sham unions function as arms of a company’s ownership, denying workers the right to organize and advocate autonomously on behalf of their own interests. Furthermore, a number of these sham unions have officers with ties to organized crime. This legislation will authorize the Business Integrity Commission (BIC) to oversee and investigate union officers associated with the private carting industry. This will close a gap in BIC’s authority and better enable them to pursue organized crime and root out sham unions from the private carting industry.”