An estimated 90 percent of Los Angeles sanitation drivers were on the job Friday, playing catch-up in collecting trash left over the past two days by drivers who skipped work out of frustration at stalled contract talks between their union and the city.
On Wednesday, only about 40 percent of the city’s 500 sanitation workers reported for duty, creating a backup of trash containers throughout the city, officials with the city’s Bureau of Sanitation said.
The number back on the job rose to about 80 percent Thursday, with workers concentrating on picking up black waste containers holding solid waste.
Today’s turnout likely will allow personnel to collect all the leftover black bins and make headway in collecting backed up blue recycling bins and green yard waste containers, according to Sanitation Bureau spokeswoman Tonya Durell.
“Today, L.A. sanitation staffing is just below 90 percent, which will allow us to operate at nearly standard levels,” a department statement reads. “We will completely catch up tomorrow, Saturday, in all of our collection services. With over 80 percent of the drivers reporting for duty yesterday, all black solid waste bins were collected and some of the green and blue bins left from Wednesday.”
Residents were being asked to leave out their bins until they have been collected.
Coral Itzcalli, spokeswoman for SEIU Local 721 representing sanitation employees in ongoing contract negotiations, said the trash driver work stoppage was “not a union-sanctioned activity.”
“If there’s something happening today, it’s news to me,” Itzcalli said late this morning.
The union represents about 10,000 Los Angeles city workers, including trash truck drivers, tree-trimmers and street repair crews.
Its members began voting on Tuesday night to decide whether they will go on strike, Itzcalli said, but she declined to say when the voting would be completed.
‘Workers are extremely frustrated because of the lack of movement at the bargaining table,” Itzcalli told City News Service on Wednesday.
Mayor Eric Garcetti criticized the sanitation workers’ action, saying that “the (negotiating) table is the best place to resolve any grievances you have.”
— City News Service