Mediation to resume Sunday
in East Bay garbage dispute
By Jeff Shuttleworth
July 20, 2007
Talks aimed at ending a lockout of nearly 500 East Bay garbage
workers that began July 2 will resume at 10 a.m. Sunday, according
to union officials and a spokeswoman for Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums.
Representatives from Waste Management of Alameda County and Teamsters
Local 70 met with federal mediator Jerry Allen and Dellums for
eight hours Thursday before going home about 9 p.m.
Waste Management locked out 481 drivers who belong to Teamsters
Local 70, as well as an additional 360 employees who belong to
machinists and longshore and warehouse workers unions, after four
months of negotiations for a new contract were unsuccessful.
Erica Harrold, the spokeswoman for Oakland City Attorney John
Russo, said the city will go back to court Tuesday to try to convince
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Richard Keller that Waste
Management is in contempt of his ruling earlier this week that
ordered the company to collect all the trash it is required to
under its contract with the city.
Harrold said the agreement between the city and Waste Management
allows an error rate of only 0.1 percent, which is equivalent
to 20 missed collections per day in Oakland.
Harrold said the city has gathered more than 2,000 complaints
about missed collections from Waste Management customers, including
280 complaints Wednesday and 279 gripes Thursday.
"We can't wait any longer for full garbage service because
if the weather is warm this weekend as predicted there will be
a public health crisis," Harrold said.
Harrold said Oakland is in the process of hiring an outside contractor
to collect the backlog of garbage, which she said has been rotting
for three weeks in some neighborhoods.
She said the contractor could start work as soon as tonight or
If the city hires an outside contractor, it will then send the
bill to Waste Management, Harrold said.
Waste Management officials were unavailable for comment today.
After it locked out its union employees, Waste Management then
hired replacement workers to collect garbage in the communities
it serves in the East Bay.
In addition to Oakland, they are Albany, Emeryville, Hayward,
Newark, Livermore, the Castro Valley Sanitary District, Oro Loma
Sanitary District in parts of San Leandro and San Lorenzo, San
Ramon and unincorporated Alameda County.
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