Union rep: City workers helped their own cause in defeating privatization plan for garbage pick-up

Bloomington solid waste collection
Union workers who pick-up garbage in Bloomington helped persuade the city council to reject privatization of the government service. (WJBC file photo)

By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – Union workers who pick up the garbage in the city of Bloomington were relieved by the city council’s vote against exploring privatization of solid waste pick-up.

Renee Nestler, staff representative for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 699, appealed to aldermen to vote against outsourcing, and instead back higher fees for long-term solution to cut costs.

Nestler said workers have built up a lot of goodwill over the years.

“All the credit in the world goes to our members who do the job day in and day out, and where the citizens appreciate the services they do and the quality work,” said Nestler.

“They’re spoken highly of, and that helped them,” Nestler added.

Nestler said workers can now focus helping city staffers come up with ways to make the service more efficient, and help overcome the government’s $2.9 million deficit.

Among the ideas is to reduce bulk waste pick-up to just a couple of times a year and brush collection to once a month or every quarter. The city might also create morning and evening shifts for garbage pick-up to allow for more efficient use of department vehicles.

Other options are to cut bulk waste pick-up to just two times a year and reduce brush collection to once a month or every quarter.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at howard.packowitz@cumulus.com

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