On his June 15 pickup day, Robert Miller observed his purple recycling bin was still about halfway full, but he didn’t think much of it.
A day has passed. Then there are two. It quickly grew to seven people. The trash was being collected, but the recycling can was still full. As a result, Miller, 32, & his partner loaded at least 2 trash bags with recyclables and dumped them outdoors their Kessler Stevens house.
Miller had submitted two complaints with Dallas’ 311 service center during the wait, which lasted until the last week of June. He stated he called with a city sanitation worker, who told him the missing recycling was due to a temporary staff shortage to assist city employees with garbage collection.
“There were no realistic solutions, just an accepting of difficulties,” said Miller, the property manager who added that the same thing had happened to neighbors and tenants in the region. “It’s simply inexcusable.”
1000s of Dallas residents have called the city’s 311 number to report missing garbage and recyclables. As per city service request data, June had the greatest complaints since at least Oct 2019.
Due to a shortage of temporary sanitation workers, city official announced this week which pickups, notably in recycling, would be delayed for many weeks. waste pickups may also be affected, via the city is prioritizing rubbish collection due to the increased volume and stench.
Residents should call if garbage or recycling is not picked up 2 days after the scheduled collection day, according to Tim Oliver, Dallas’ temporary sanitation services director.
Years of vacancies over several dozen truck drivers position, as well as poor starting rates for city & temporary workers, have contributed to the situation.
Last month, the city announced the hiring of a new head of sanitary services. On July 14, Jerome Council, who supervised Sacramento’s recycling & solid waste division Management, will begin work in Dallas.
According to Oliver, the city offers garbage, recycling, & bulk trash service to 250,000 residents in the Dallas area. Stops are made every day at 800 to 1,300 residences, and two temporary workers normally accompany municipal driver on collection trucks.
According to Oliver, single-family homes account for more than 95 percent of clients, with duplexes, townhomes, and small apartments accounting for the remainder.
To reduce delays to a minimum, crews will work 7 days a week & throughout the evenings, he said.
A labor Scarcity
The city has a contract with Results Staffing Inc., a temporary labor agency based in Dallas. According to city records, the firm has earned $59 million from the town since June 2013 to provides 210 employees every day to complement sanitation staff.
In March, the City Council agreed to spend extra $4 million to prolong the contract, which is set to expire on Aug. 15. The city mandates that contractors pay their employees at least $12.38 per hour.
As per the MIT Living Wage Calculator, to make a living wage in Dallas, workers must earn at least $15.21 per hour.
The city and the corporation are currently discussing a new contract, which will most likely include a salary boost for the contractual workers, according to Oliver.
According to him, the company typically sends roughly 175 employees every day to pick up garbage & recycling on the backs of pickup vehicles. The city has received between 125 and 145 people in recent weeks.
About half of the city’s collection trucks are equipped with automated features that can be operated by just one city driver. According to Oliver, the other half of the jobs usually require three people: a city driver & 2 temp workers. In recent weeks, it has been customary for those crews to have only 1 temporary worker.
City truck drivers are likewise subject to staffing shortages. According to Oliver, the city has about 125 trash & recycling truck drivers, with up to 35 positions unfilled for at minimum the last three years.
A city driver’s starting compensation is $16.50 per hour, although the local industries standard is $18 to $20 per hour. A private sector garbage & recycling truck driver with experience could make up to $30 per hour.
In next budget, which won’t be finished until September, the Town Council will have to approve a wage raise.