Trash collectors protest proposed privatization ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

November 10, 1992|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Staff Writer

Dozens of Annapolis trash collectors packed the City Council chambers last night to tell the mayor and aldermen that a proposal to privatize the city's garbage collection service stinks.

A council committee that studied collection issues told the full council last night that privatization would save city taxpayers money and would help boost recycling efforts.

But union officials said privatization also would cost 36 city workers their jobs.

More than 50 garbage collectors and their supporters, wearing stickers that said, "Save Our Jobs," turned out to protest the committee's recommendation, which was outlined in a written report last week. But most of them will have to wait.

Seeing the controversy over the privatization plan, the council decided to schedule a public hearing on the proposal Nov. 23.

If last night's meeting is any indication, the mayor and aldermen will get an earful then.

Tom Newquist, vice president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3406, which represents the garbage collectors, said the union believes privatization of garbage collection service on Jan. 1, 1993, would unlawfully break the employees' contract.

Other speakers made a more personal appeal. "I'm in the process of buying a house. I just got married," one worker said. "You've got enough people on welfare."

A few private citizens also spoke on behalf of the garbage collectors. "If you do this, I'm not voting for you, my wife's not voting for you, my daughter's not voting for you and my mother-in-law is not voting for you," threatened Ken Rossback.

The recommendation, made by Aldermen John Hammond, Dean Johnson and Wayne Turner, calls for privatization of both the city's trash and recycling programs. The committee also recommended mandating recycling and suggested expanding the effort to include newspapers and plastics in the collection program.

Committee members also recommended increasing recycling pickups to once a week, reducing the twice-weekly trash collection to once a week and discontinuing funding for the Spa Road drop-off center.

They said privatization should be put into effect the first of next year.

Annapolis has been under pressure to find ways to handle residential garbage because the permit to operate the city's landfill expires Dec. 31. After that, all refuse must be taken to Anne Arundel County's Millersville facility.

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