Press Clips

private sanitation teamsters

Dirty hands: The unseen world of New York’s private waste industry

On a wet, cold spring night, well after sundown, the ordeal begins.

About 4,000 people, mostly young black and Hispanic men, climb waste collection trucks in various states of repair and race across the five boroughs to pick up the 10,000 tons of trash pushed out onto the curb by New York City’s businesses every night.

Two union organizers set out in an SUV for an all-night sojourn, following trucks, watching their practices, explaining to a reporter the intricacies of how the driver and helper on each truck conduct themselves. It’s not long before differences between trucks and companies become apparent.