June 18, 2017
By Silver Krieger
New York, NY – A new website, launched on June 15th, and called “Trash Kingpins of NYC” , is drawing attention to the labor abuses, environmental damage, corruption, and racist and sexist comments of some of New York City’s worst private sanitation companies.
The website is a project of three members of the Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition, the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI); ALIGN: the Alliance for a Greater New York; and Joint Council 16 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Companies cited on the website include Crown Container, Liberty Ashes, and Crown Waste. “Kingpins” at the companies include David and Gerald Antonacci of Crown Container, who have often posted racist and sexist comments on Facebook, at the same time they promote their companies as sensitive to Chinese immigrant communities where they do business. The sexist pictures include photos of scantily clad women posing in front of their trucks, and an antique mechanical bank that is a racist depiction of an African-American man. The Bellino Brothers of Liberty Ashes are also identified. They have recently signed an agreement with an unaffiliated union, which includes an $8.00 per hour starting wage, and undercuts workers’ ability to recoup stolen wages in court. Christopher Antonacci of Crown Waste is on the site as well. His company spent high sums at casinos, steakhouses and horse training facilities right before they declared bankruptcy.
In June of 2016, a report by the Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition and Transportation Alternatives, titled “Reckless Endangerment: How New York City’s Unsafe Commercial Garbage Trucks Put Us All at Risk,” — analyzed data from the U.S. DOT and found vehicle maintenance to be the top problem, resulting in 96% of all safety violations, among them faulty brakes, bad tires, broken lights and unsafe cargo. According to the report, private sanitation trucks have 4,200 trucks in operation in NYC, and commercial fleets are three times more likely to have a crash that results in a pedestrian fatality than crashes involving passenger vehicles. In July 2015, a disabled woman was hit by a Crown Container truck and killed. Last August, the de Blasio administration announced sweeping reforms to the New York City commercial waste industry, and now, some of these companies’ owners are spending large sums on lobbyists to target the New York City Business Integrity Commission, which regulates the trade waste industry, and to target other government decision makers as well, to convince them increased oversight or reform is not necessary.
Sean Campbell, President of Teamsters Local 813, has been working on transforming the practices of the commercial waste industry. He says that wages are low, trucks are often unsafe, and wage theft is “running rampant” in the industry. Meanwhile, these private sanitation owners such as those featured on the new website, continue to operate with minimal public scrutiny.
George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16, said: “Private sanitation was once a good-paying, safe career, but that is no longer the case, thanks to these trash kingpins and others like them. Their low-wage jobs and unsafe practices put workers at risk, and undermine the few good companies left in the industry. They can spend all the money they want on PR, but we know what is really going on.”
The website can be viewed at http://trashkingpinsnyc.org/.