More Garbage Lock Out

Again and still, from 7-14-07 email newsletter District 4 City Council Member Jean Quan:

1.  City Files Legal Action on Waste Management Lock Out
How many Waste Management replacements does it take to pick up one third of our trash?

A:  About four in place of our regular one-person. After this man in front fumbled for about 4 minutes, the driver came out to help him. The two guys in the red car behind them (security?) mostly drank coffee. They only picked up the brown cans and left the gray and green cans overflowing.

   As the City’s representative to the Alameda County Waste Management Board, I can tell you that the 8 jurisdictions affected by the Waste Management (WM) lock out were as angry as we are. Both the Recycling Board and the County Authority Program Committee passed resolutions asking WM to resume full service including recycling. The Davis Street recycling sorting facility has been closed down and it appears everything is going into the landfill in violation of most City agreements.  Several cities will be following Oakland’s legal actions announced this week.

   In mid-week we ( Tribune photo right) announced legal demands that WM fulfill its contract and filed for an injunction; we hope to be in front of a judge Monday.  Your emails and reports were part of our proof of non- performance and public safety hazards.  If WM fails to perform, the WM contract has a $37M performance bond and we may be forced to hire other firms to pick up our trash.

WM ads claimed this week that service was normal and that they will resume full service on Monday.   How can you help and what  should you do?

  1. Keep your unemptied garbage on the curb, all 3 cans.  WM’s information cannot be trusted.  Most of the operators answering the phones are from around the country, their 200 replacement workers are clearly not well organized and are missing streets, blocks and homes everywhere (hills & flatlands). Some people have had no service, others have had one (brown), two or all three cans picked up. There is no clear pattern. They say they will be working through the weekend and they may pick-up on a day other than your regular day.  Note:  Those of us who live north of Lincoln Avenue have uninterrupted  recycling (gray bin) services from California Waste Solutions, they are not affected by the lock out.  Also, NorCal also picks up commercial food waste (stores & restaurants) and is not affected by the lock out.
  2. If Waste Management fails to provide collection by the end of your regular service day, report the service failure to WMAC Customer Service at 510-613-8710.
  3. ALSO, report the failure to pick up to the City at our Recycling Hotline 510-238-SAVE (7283) or  We will use this information for documentation in our legal actions, including possible rebates of your garbage fees. The hotline has increased staff to handle calls and has gracefully handled a flood of calls.
  4. AND, call Alameda County Environmental Health Department at 567-6700 where there is a health hazard. The County needs calls from residents so that they can declare lack of trash pick up an official health hazard.
  5. When you see a particularly bad build-up of garbage, please also contact the and copy us.  We are especially concerned about apartment buildings and restaurant/commercial areas and any other situation where health and safety will be affected.  This week council staff worked to help get pick-ups for nursing homes, blocks where garbage obstructs passage, dangerous piles near schools and playgrounds.
  6. If you cannot wait and must haul your own garbage to the Davis Street Station, 2615 Davis St, take your WM garbage bill and they are suppose to waive the fees.  One constituent was charged and we made arrangements to have the fee rebated.
  7. Please call the the PWA Call Center at 615-5566 if you notice any illegal dumping on the streets.
  8. Find updates on our Oakland Recycles webpage.

Yup, that’s pretty much what I’m seeing as I drive around Oakland.  Service is absolutely not normal.  You’ll be able to knock me down with a feather if full service is up Monday.


1 Comment

Filed under Oakland

One response to “More Garbage Lock Out

  1. kmom

    And now Monday is here… How’s it looking? Your work takes you around and about a fair bit–have you called to report anything yet?
    Does Oakland have the option of boycotting WM? Cancelling their contract? Going with another company? Can they get other cities to do the same–or at least not renew the contracts? Seems like WM is trying to save on salaries–if so, I say “Out with them!” Not their workers, though; oops, ethical dilemma.

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