Environment and Energy, Features, Finance, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York, Transportation

NYC Sanitation Bill Pro-Union

November 22, 2019

By Stephanie West

NEW YORK, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed the Commercial Waste Zones Law. The bill is expected to drastically change how trash is collected from businesses across the city – improve worker safety, cutting pollution, and controlling costs for businesses.

The commercial waste industry had been rife with dangerous practices. Over 90 private carting companies crisscross the city each night in long, overlapping routes that overtax workers and pollute local air. Private carters are responsible for over two dozen fatal crashes since 2010.

Under the new law, the Department of Sanitation will select, through a competitive bid, no more than three carters to collect trash in each commercial zone of the city. Zoned collection will cut private garbage truck traffic by more than half. In choosing waste haulers for each zone, the city will weigh companies’ past compliance with regulations and their proposals to improve safety, reduce waste, and transition to zero-emission trucks.

Sanitation companies will be required to provide every worker with extensive safety training. A rate floor will prevent companies from financing irresponsibly low fees by underpaying workers. Carters will also be required to dump their waste only at facilities that meet safety and health standards. Every business in the city will be entitled to recycling and composting services, under the policy. Private carters will bid one maximum rate for every business in the zone, ending the practices of small businesses being charged, on average, 38% more than large businesses.  

“The private sanitation industry is a sweatshop on wheels,” said Terrence Jackson, a driver at Action Carting. “We are workers of color and many of us have done time or are undocumented. We work long hours, doing an exhausting job, and are not paid fairly. With the commercial waste zones law, the private carters will finally be held accountable. I can’t wait.”

“Private sanitation companies will no longer be able to treat their workers like trash,” said Sean Campbell, President of Teamsters Local 813. “With commercial waste zones, Mayor de Blasio, the City Council, and the Department of Sanitation are bringing oversight to this industry so that safety will be put ahead of profits. I commend the sanitation workers who fought for years to make this day possible.”

November 22, 2019

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