Garbage Pickup Missed Your Street? NJ Labor Shortage Hits Sanitation
This really stinks.
The ongoing New Jersey labor shortage is now causing problems with garbage pick-up in towns across the Garden State because there aren’t enough drivers, technicians, and truck workers.
“We’re hearing it more and more that municipalities that have outsourced, privatized or sub-contracted garbage pickup are being confronted with delays or no pickup,” said Mike Cerra, the executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities.
He said when the pandemic started winding down no one really had any idea this was going to happen so now “pick-up is being delayed or isn’t occurring or is significantly being delayed, which obviously creates other issues as well in terms of public health.”
Cerra said the problem is not confined to one specific area of the state.
“Municipalities choose to deliver the (garbage collection) service in a variety of ways, those that have kept it in house, through the department of public works, are less affected by it than those that have contracted it out,” he said.
He said if a garbage pickup company doesn’t have enough workers, there’s not much a town is able to do to try and solve the problem.
John Hambrose, the Greater Mid-Atlantic Area communications manager and regional spokesman for Waste Management, said to fill vacant positions his company is holding special job fairs, including one on Wednesday in Toms River.
“We are offering eligible qualifying drivers and technicians a $7,500 signing bonus,” he said.
Hambrose pointed out the company is also looking to hire route and fleet managers, truck supervisors and workers, clerks and secretaries, and another inducement being offered is “a benefit that will pay up to $12,000 a year for our team members to finish their high school diplomas or to get certificates or bachelors degrees.”
He said this benefit can also be used to study for certain master’s degrees, and next year it will be extended to spouses and children of team members.
“We think that’s a tremendous family-changer, we think this can change people’s lives,” he said.
Cerra said if your garbage pickup is not taking place on a normal schedule, use common sense, which means when it comes to putting out trash you might consider “double bagging, making sure things are closed, sealing your containers and things of that nature. Those are the short term fixes as we weave our way and try to solve the problem in the midterm."
The Waste Management event is being held at 1298 Industrial Way on Wednesday in Toms River between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.