NEW YORK, N.Y.—Next season, the workers who recycle the empty beer cups tossed out by fans at Yankees and New York City Football Club games will be getting a good raise, Teamsters Local 813 announced Nov. 20.
The four-year contract renewal for about 60 workers at commercial-trash collector Action Carting’s Bronx facilities will increase wages by 13% to 25%, the union said, with the biggest raises coming in the lowest-paid jobs. The deal also adds Martin Luther King Day and Veterans Day as paid holidays. The addition of MLK Day was particularly important to the workers, Local 813 said, as the civil rights leader was assassinated while supporting striking Memphis sanitation workers 50 years ago.
“The vast majority of this industry’s workforce is black and Latino and we know that we are part of a long history of sanitation workers fighting for racial and economic justice,” Local 813 President Sean T. Campbell said in a statement. “I thank Action Carting for bargaining in good faith. This agreement is the next step toward raising standards in this industry.”
The vast majority of this industry’s workforce is black and Latino and we know that we are part of a long history of sanitation workers fighting for racial and economic justice. — Local 813 President Sean T. Campbell
The company, founded in 1999 and based in Teaneck, N.J., has more than a dozen facilities in the metropolitan area, including a Bronx recycling center it touts as “state of the art,” with an optical sorter that can recognize the difference between brown, gray, and color-printed cardboard and separate them. It collects trash from Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, and the Empire State Building.
The Teamsters called the deal a victory in its campaign to win decent jobs in the private sanitation industry, where workers are often required to work overnight shifts of 12 hours or longer, on-the-job accidents frequent, and many workers are enrolled in elusive company unions.
“We stood together and demanded a fair contract—and we got it,” Action Carting worker Jamel McLean said in a statement released by the Teamsters. “For too many years, private sanitation workers in this city have been going backward with low wages and unsafe jobs.”
The contract will also reduce workers’ health-care premiums and increase Action Carting’s weekly contribution to their retirement funds, Local 813 said, and they will get additional safety equipment. The company and the union have also committed to find ways to make a five-day workweek available for workers who want one. Mandatory six-day workweeks have become commonplace in New York City’s private sanitation industry, the Teamsters said.
“This contract is a big step, but we are committed to bringing good jobs to every private sanitation worker in this industry,” said Campbell. “I urge workers who want to fight for better jobs for themselves and their families to contact Teamsters Local 813.”