Waste Management Strike Continues; Public Pays the Price

I no longer like the deal we have.

I want more.

I quit until you give me more.

I am going to make innocent people suffer until you relent and give me what I want.

- The words of a 5 year old brat or person on strike? You decide.

Waste Management is calling affected customers to cheerfully inform them that the current strike means that garbage collection will not take place as regularly scheduled. Never fear, oh taxpayer, next week Waste Management will collect up to twice your regular amount. Oh, how thoughtful of them. Where are we supposed to store our garbage until the strike ends?

I suggest taking it to City Hall.

Only a few years ago, Waste Management had a labor strike very much like today. The City Council at the time had a dumpster installed in the parking lot of City Hall so that citizens could get rid of their garbage. Perhaps it is time for another dumpster.

While we are throwing things away, why don't we throw away the Waste Management contract that was so lauded by everyone at City Hall last year? It is under the provisions of that contract that we find ourselves in a mess today.

My gut tells me that it is not a wise decision to strike during the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. Very few non-union households will support unions striking when unemployment is so high.

By the way, did you know that you are required to pay for garbage service even when there is a strike? Oh yes, they will pick up double the garbage next time. That somehow is an equivalent in the minds of those negotiating on our behalf. Who writes these contracts? What world do they live in? Answer: obviously not a free market world. Why are we held hostage every few years to these thug-like tactics? Would such tactics ever be acceptable in your line of work? Not a chance.

I was at a restaurant yesterday for lunch and I was speaking with a man who said his buddy was one of the minority of union members who voted to end the strike. I was told that the friend earned over $90,000 last year. I do not know if that figure is accurate, but my guess is that it is, it includes substantial overtime.

Nonetheless, it was an interesting anecdote, especially during a strike in these difficult economic times.

Is the current contract unfair or inequitable in some way? How does the contract compare to non-unionized jobs? What if the free market were allowed to function? Might we all get better service? Might we all get lower prices? I do not know.

The city has raised the prices on garbage collection in an effort to reduce waste and encourage recycling. Reducing waste is a good thing. Garbage bins are smaller, and therefore less capable of holding more than one week worth of garbage. Those who "did the right thing," followed the path laid out by City Hall and reduced the size of their garbage bins are now those most affected by the strike.

I have little tolerance for people willing to disrupt the lives of others to achieve personal gain. That is what is happening during a strike, plain and simple. It is selfish. It is wrong. And it should not be how our city runs.

Holding innocents hostage until your demands are met is a tactic of a different era... and of a 5 year old brat.

Requiring citizens to pay for service they do not receive is ridiculous and wasteful. How did we get here? It took years of people looking the other way, not standing up and doing what is right. It is time for change which benefits all of the people rather than the few.

It is time for common sense. If you have it, please stop sitting on your hands. It is time to speak up.

Here endeth my rant. I welcome your opposing views.