Union stages trash service strike in San Mateo Co.

August 26, 2010 12:11:48 AM PDT
Garbage workers in San Mateo County are staging a 48-hour strike and it's having a big impact. They are protesting contract negotiations with Allied Waste Services and Ox Mountain Waste.

The strike has left Tamarack Avenue and Alma Street in San Carlos lined with litter. In fact, a big chunk of the Peninsula is trashed.

Contract negotiations with 12 union workers at a Half Moon Bay transfer station went sour on Tuesday. They walked off the job this morning and in true union solidarity hundreds more followed.

"Because of the 12 employees that we put on the strike, over 400 mechanics, truck drivers and other classification walked off the job. They decided to honor the picket alliance and unfortunately 11 cities are not getting their garbage picked up today," Robert Morales from Teamsters Local 350 said.

The union says the walkout will last 48 hours. The sympathy strike by 250 workers at the San Carlos transfer station means 36,000 residents and 10,000 commercial customers, restaurants and health facilities they serve will have no trash service for two days.

A spokesperson for Allied Waste Services says the walk out was a complete surprise.

"We are doing everything we can to resolve a situation out of our control and is a surprise to us," Peg Mulloy from Allied Waste Services. "I will say, however, that we are disappointed that the strike spread to the hauling company and caused this impact on our residential customers."

The 12 union workers at the Ox Mountain transfer station say their dispute is over better wages, health insurance and pensions. Allied Waste Services believes they have been negotiating in good faith.

But none of this smells good for the residents who are now looking at a lot of trash at the curb.

"It's probably going to smell a lot and stink up the street. I guess it is going to make living here harder," San Carlos resident Eugene Kostikov said.

"Not good timing. No I don't think there will be a lot of people sympathetic when people don't even have a job for pensions and there's not a lot of sympathy," Meyer said.

Other cities affected by the strike include Hillsborough, Burlingame and San Mateo.


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