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Mushak: City Carting recycling truck left debris all over street

City Carting Norwalk
A City Carting recycling truck works the Brookside area recently.

NORWALK, Conn. – An alleged trail of recyclable materials strewn upon a Norwalk street has been described as “growing pains” in the relationship between the city and City Carting.

A City Carting worker said he didn’t have time to empty his overflowing truck Tuesday morning,, according to Golden Hill resident Mike Mushak, who told the Public Works Committee that he had spent an hour cleaning up the street after the truck had come through.

While Councilman David McCarthy (R-District E) said he had been observing the work done by City Carting and hadn’t seen an issue other than an errant bottle here and there, Councilman Bruce Kimmel (D-At Large) confirmed that there are occasional problems.

“It’s growing pains. We have to figure out how to solve these problems,” said Kimmel, who helped to negotiate the outsourcing contract with City Carting, which included the switch to single stream recycling last summer.

Mushak’s problem stemmed in part from the use of mechanical arms — which Kimmel called “crabs” — to pick up the large recycling bins.  But Mushak said City Carting’s work habits were to blame.

“I talked to someone at City Carting who said they have a time limit,” Mushak said. “They don’t have the time to get out of the truck and pick up the trash, but in the old days, when the city did it, it was so neat and clean, the garbage cans — there was never any garbage on the street. … I would hope that City Carting would put two people on the truck. That would solve the problem. When we had the city doing it they really took pride in their work.”

McCarthy said the city had never picked up recycling materials. Department of Public Works Director Hal Alvord confirmed that, saying that Waste Management began that work in 1991.

McCarthy said Mushak could call customer service and have a sweeper truck sent out, but Mushak said a sweeper truck wouldn’t get the trash from people’s lawns.

Kimmel asserted that Mushak’s claim had merit.

“It’s complicated, that’s all I’m saying,” he said. “Some streets are perfect. Some streets can be a mess. It depends on whether there’s holidays and all kinds of things, how full they are, what’s on top. There’s a variety of factors involved here that we should look at and discuss. It may be that adding a person is not the right solution to the problem because I have seen many times, as I would go out for a run in Cranbury, there was nothing at all. When I campaigned, there was nothing at all; but sometimes you would see it.”

There’s been a learning curve, he said.

“Then there was the issue with how much can a resident pack it,” he said. “If you have so much to recycle and it’s (filled to the top), it’s going to fly all over. You’ve got wind, you’ve got all kinds of things that we are beginning to figure out how to address on those issues. No street should have the debris.”

“The truck was filled and the guy said he didn’t have the time, his boss wouldn’t allow him the time to go empty the truck because he had no time,” Mushak said. “It was literally falling out of the truck as he went down the street.”

Comments

49 responses to “Mushak: City Carting recycling truck left debris all over street”

  1. Norewalk Lifer

    The ironic statement “growing pains”, ridiculous!, this is a sanitation service, what do they do? remove material!, and Mr. Kimmel says this is growing pains?

    We pay too much in Norwalk for this kind of incompetence!, maybe the bid from City Carting on bulk removal is “TOO LOW”! maybe the truth is this contract required more scrutiny than it got.

    To be quite honest, I’ve seen the same thing on my street; I pay too much in taxes to allow a city service to take my money and ALSO create blight!

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  2. Mike Mushak

    Here is a clarification of my comments in the article. When I said it was better when the city did it, I meant that the city sanitation crew would pick up trash they saw in the street or around the cans. There was also manual collection of recycling from the old smaller blue bins, by City Carting or Waste Management as McCarthy said, but it was neater as you had workers on the ground looking around and seeing the mess. City workers often followed the recycling pick up and would pick up trash they saw lying around from either the earlier recycling pickup or from trash bin overflow. They acted about what they were doing and we never had trash left behind on the streets when they passed by.
    .
    We often had and still have the recycling picked up first, and in the old days it was the DPW crew that made sure they left a clean street. This does not happen now for two reasons: the automated arm for the large recycling bins often leaves trash flying out of the bin or the truck without the driver noticing or caring or even looking in his mirror and getting out and cleaning up the resulting mess, and then the City Carting crews that come by later to pick up the garbage just ignore the trash left by the earlier recycling pickup or for whatever reason, trash that used to be picked up by the city crew who we can safely took more pride in their work based in the evidence.
    .
    I applaud the single stream recycling and the larger bins, although I wish they were the neutral beige color that Stamford has instead of the bright blue that is visual litter in and of themselves especially in our urban neighborhood with absentee landlords and tenants, who often just leave the large bins on the sidewalk or on their front lawns all week with no enforcement of the existing trash rules by the city that require cans be pulled behind the front setback and screened from view the same day they are picked up, and not put out again until the evening before trash pickup day.
    .
    Many folks especially in the many rental units in our area who are more transient or who don’t know the rules or who just don’t care are now using the blue bins for regular trash, which is also unenforced by the city or not dealt with through any educational efforts such as bi-lingual flyers. It is just chaos out here now, and the trash left on the streets from City Carting’s sloppy work habits just adds to the sense that we have a failing system at work here. I don’t need city officials telling me in a condescending way and despite all the evidence that there may just be an occasional errant milk bottle, as McCarthy states above. We just want to hear McCarthy for once say he’ll look into it and try to fix it. Isn’t that why he was elected, to solve problems, instead of arrogantly dismissing complaints like mine, or telling the guy on Dry Hill Rd with the busted up sidewalk left behind by the city after all his neighbors got new sidewalks that he should just power wash his sidewalk? The dismissive attitude towards the public by McCarthy, especially when defending his precious DPW and City Carting against any criticism, is getting old fast and is not what we expect in an elected Chair of the Public Works Committee. It’s embarrassing really. City Carting has a real problem here in a delivery of poor service, and it is unacceptable and must be fixed. End of story.

  3. To say the city workers were so perfect is a joke – I remember them leaving garbage all over the street along with the lids and pails thrown around the street and lawns.
    Days of the city hauling trash and having it all rainbows and gumdrops – I don’t think so.
    City carting has done a much better job.

  4. Ryan

    Do you people EVER check a source? Have you looked at Mr Mushak’s precious Golden Hill area on a Monday a day before pick up? The residents are slobs and that is not the contractors fault.

  5. Mike Mushak

    Ryan and Lily Deacon, probably one in the same, are refusing to deal with the real issue here. City Carting is leaving trash all over the street from their sloppy work, as witnessed by our entire neighborhood including 5 of my neighbors yesterday who were standing there watching this fiasco as the truck returned up the opposite side of the street after leaving a trail of trash and broken bottles on their first pass. We have the evidence and the witnesses. Stop pretending like this didn’t happen. That’s classic McCarthy/Alvord strategy. We have poor service. We need to have it fixed. End of story.

  6. Mike, why do you set yourself up to look [bad] again? To throw out that “Ryan” and I are one in the same – you are just saying that so that it makes you look like you have that much stronger of a point… which you don’t […]

    The city workers were SLOBS when they threw the garbage pails and lids anywhere they could — and did. As for the debris left behind -don’t kid yourself Mushak, they were the worst at it. They had to get so much done in so much time so that is where they cut corners.

    As for City Carting, I can DEFINITELY say they are MUCH NEATER and leave behind a respectable area. So Mushak, you can take your fingers out of your ears and stop stamping your feet – City Carting is way more effective than the city workers.

    (This comment has been edited to comply with our policy against name-calling.)

  7. And as witnessed by the neighbors in my area – City Carting has been doing a fine job of picking up garbage.
    See Mike, everyone can play the neighborhood game.

  8. Ms Ruby McPherson

    Either way it was dump of the previous Mayor and Hal to give this company a 10 year contract. Taxpayer money is begin thrown in the trash. What service we get from out sourcing, not just City Carting but also Parking around town.

  9. Suzanne

    This must be a resource allocation problem where neighborhoods with greater density and more recycling are not getting enough trucks assigned to their area (the “full” truck when there was no time to empty, for example.)

    *
    I find the mechanical arm that picks up the bins fascinating – you could tell that, at first, the driver (we had another person assisting in the beginning) had to learn to bring the truck into alignment and then the robotics kicks in.

    *
    But, our street also must consistently pick up after the recycling truck empties the bins. This was not an issue with the first two or three pick-ups when an additional person was riding on the outside of the truck. Now, there is always debris left in the form of paper and plastic. I see each neighbor methodically removing from the street and driveways the recycling after the recycling.

    *
    Whoever is doing this job, whether it be the Waste Management of the past or City Carting now, it should be done right. That is, the term is “recycling” and items placed appropriately in the bins should be “recycled” and not left behind on the street, no matter how fascinating the mechanical arm might be.

  10. Ryan

    Mike…..WOW! You really are out there my friend. Let me ask, have you called customer service to voice your concerns or not? My experience has been when I’ve called they’ve come right out, they have to it’s in the contract. Period. With regard to the 10 year contract does anyone realize they do with 3 trucks what the City used to do with 4? That City Carting had to buy 3 brand new trucks at a cost of over 200,000.00 a piece? That City Carting had to buy 28,500 recycle toters for the conversion? A private company cant fall back on tax increases everytime it has an expenditure like Gov’t can so the cost was spread out over ……..10 years! End of story. Find someone else to pick on.

  11. Mike Mushak

    Thank you Suzanne. Facts are facts. There will always be people out there who pretend like there isn’t a problem when it is staring at them right in their face, and then personally attack whoever shines a spotlight on it. I am used to it, but it is still childish and unnecessary. Our entire neighborhood bears witness to the fact that the streets are much filthier after the City Carting trucks drive through, with trash they leave behind and don’t bother to pick up. We have photos to prove it. This never happened before the City Carting took over. In fact, we knew the guys on the trucks on a first name basis and they took pride in their work. Yes, empty cans would sometimes blow around in high winds in the old days just as they do now. But trash was never left behind by the city crews, in 15 years of careful observation. It is much worse now, and City Carting needs to fix it. End of story!

  12. Oldtimer

    When City DPW employees were doing the job, they were paid to get the job done, with three men on each truck, and they were finished work for the day when the route was finished. This encouraged them to move along quickly. They knew they had a good deal, full day’s pay for less than eight hours work, and were careful to avoid spilling trash to protect that arrangement. City Carting is a very different for-profit company. Their people are paid strictly by the hour and encouraged to keep moving, with their jobs at risk if they take longer on a route than the bosses allow. The result is exactly what Mushak describes. City Carting runs a very efficient operation to ensure the most profit with no allowance for picking up anything that gets spilled. There is a provision for spills to be picked up by somebody else, if customer service is called, but that doesn’t happen very often. Unless the customers call every time there is a problem, nothing is going to change.
    What we are seeing is the difference between City employees working under a good union contract and at-will workers doing the same job under tough management with no union contract. In theory there could be lower costs, but some of us do not expect to see any savings passed along to taxpayers. The City Carting Co boss at Meadow St drives a Ferrari.

  13. Oldtimer

    The truck in the photo is not a brand new truck City Carting had to buy, the name of the previous owner is still visible on the side of the truck. Alvord must have been misinformed.

  14. John Hamlin

    There is clearly a problem and the current system is not working and it needs to be addressed. But the notion that the old system with city unionized workers was so much better is absurd — throwing cans all over creation to get done a few minutes sooner — and with their life tenure mentality there was no incentive to do a decent job. We shouldn’t go back, we should find a productive way forward.

  15. Dawn

    i kow that this winter my lawn was dug up by the plows and that had never happened before. every time the plows passed they tore up the curb and the grass. not sure who it was but it was a mess this year and last.
    ther are usually lots of leftovers after the garbage passes these days.

  16. Don’t Panic

    I’m not sure why “We have to figure out how to solve these problems,” as Mr. Kimmel puts it. We DID have this figured out, with city employees and city equipment. We chose to outsource to a vendor who assured us that we would save money for the same service. Yet, at the beginning, we didn’t even foresee the problems of not having a holiday trash pickup schedule. These are the sorts of “growing pains” than an experienced contractor should have long since figured out in the other municipalities they were already serving. Instead we have a “gotcha” contract where, if we weren’t prescient enough to ask for something at the outset, it is up to us to tell City Carting that they have deal with it, and tell them how. Is it really that hard to figure out that the next two weeks after a long holiday weekend in the summer, you are going to have more trash to pickup and that three trucks might not be sufficient for the whole city? How is the resident supposed to see the problem of trash falling out of a full truck and call customer service during business hours when they are likely to be at work themselves? Does City Carting ever send out its own supervisors to independently inspect the work being done?

  17. Peter Parker

    City Carting has nothing on the old sanitation crews! At least the prior crew seemed to give a dam. I can count at least 5 times since City Carting started that my recycling has not been picked up! I can’t remember even one event of missed collection with the old city crews.
    >
    Now after every collection there are papers and bottles strewn along the curbside, left behind by a poorly executed pick up, by an understaffed City Carting!
    >
    With all due respect Mr. Kimmell is a nice man, but he needs to grow a spine! The taxpayers shouldn’t have to experience growing pains to compensate for City Carting’s incompetence, and history of dubious conduct as seen in Westchester County!

  18. John Hamlin

    Aren’t we committed to City Carting for 10 years? Remind us who insisted on and agreed to that length of contract?

  19. Hobbes.the.Calvinist

    People get the government, and the contracts their GOP majority push through, that they deserve.

  20. One and Done.

    Listen to the Union supporters here. We should cut $18 million from the school budgets or stick it to the taxpayers so they can go back to their 2 hours of work a day jobs and pick up where they left off on their moonlighting activities. We should cave in as the few bloggers here would have us do.

  21. Suzanne

    One and Done, your entries are usually ridiculous but this one takes the cake. Yes, unions are, at times, out of control in their demands and wages. But, unions were established to protect workers from exploitation by employers who wanted to make more money at the expense of a living wage, health care, etc. I don’t know of a single union worker who works as few hours as you claim nor runs away with tons of benefits for not doing their job. Union workers are contract workers with obligations. Again, they may be overpaid and they may get better healthcare than you do but that does not mean that all union workers are lazy nor that all unions are bad. (I grew up with the realities of farm workers and exploitation. It made the UFW’s request for pit toilets and housing on $1.00 per unit of work completed look pretty good.)

  22. LWitherspoon

    @John Hamlin
    .
    According to Bruce Kimmel, who is one of our most thorough and diligent Council members, the ten-year contract with City Carting can be canceled by the City at any time for any reason, without penalty. This is referred to as “termination for convenience”.

    As such, I would think that City Carting has a huge incentive to keep the City happy. Municipal employee unions and those who carry water for them are looking for any reason they can to give the work back to Union people. It has also been reported that City Carting purchased brand new trucks for their new garbage hauling contract with the City of Norwalk. If the contract is cancelled during its early years, City Carting could have brand new trucks sitting idle and, presumably, difficulty paying back their lenders.
    .
    I agree with you that it may be necessary to press City Carting to fix whatever problems exist. Let’s also look at complaint statistics received by the City’s customer service department. It’s easy for politically motivated individuals to create the appearance of a problem in the media or in online comments.
    .
    Whatever the case, Mayor Rilling promised during his campaign that he would take a hard look at the contract with City Carting to see whether or not the promised savings were real. Has that happened yet? What were the results?

  23. One and Done.

    Suzanne missed the part where the city workers who used to do this were allowed to leave after finishing their routes well short of the 8 hour workday us evil taxpayers would have them suffer through. Most if not all either had side jobs or businesses that they would work at for the balance of the 8 hour day we were paying them for. I never said they were lazy. Suzanne also missed the part where our workman’s comp liability was as much as the salaries we were paying them due to excessive injuries, many of which might have been the cause of rushing to get the job done so they could knock off and go to their side jobs.

  24. Peter Parker

    Good Question LWitherspoon, but if you want to find this Mayor, you’d do best to lure him out with a camera and the promise of a photo shoot for some fluffy news event that isn’t too controversial. Unfortunate and sad, Mayor Rilling only seems to materialize for such events, so it seems apropos that his political career has already begun to dematerialize like a faded old polaroid!

  25. J.B.A

    This story is so typical of today’s liberal ageanda -disagree at all with them they shout you down, they attack you and give no room for general exchange of ideas and spoken word. Mike Mushak takes the cake, followed by Watts (as seen by his actions – clownish, boorish behavior that is best served on a playground). This Suzanne is running a close 2-B. Repression reigns on NON. Isn’t the idea of “Leave a reply” to stir discussion, not silence it, Mike?

    ..
    I don’t understand what all of you are afraid of hearing? Please enlighten us.

  26. Robert J. Sodaro

    I would like to respond to Mr. Mushak’s comment that “…in the old days, when the city did it, it was so neat and clean, the garbage cans — there was never any garbage on the street.” I have lived at my current Norwalk address for over 20 years and hardly remember a week that I didn’t have to go pick up trash that never quite made it from my trash/recycle containers into the respective trucks.

    The trash/recycle collectors (whether they are city employees or private contractors) have one job, to pick up the trash/recycle. If “They don’t have the time to get out of the truck and pick up the trash…” (that is to say — do their job properly), then perhaps some would care to explain to me (and the rest of Norwalk), why we are paying them.

  27. Ryan

    JBA – The truth. And the truth is that City Carting does a better job at a lower cost than the City of Norwalk ever did.

  28. Casey Smith

    Wow! Obviously this is the hot button topic of the week.
    .
    Personally, we’re good with City Carting. The bigger recycling bins work for us because they have an attached lid. It’s kept the paper from blowing around. In the past, we did have times when the garbage bins would be flung far and wide, it hasn’t been a problem lately.
    .
    God alone knows how many times we’ve cleaned up garbage from the front lawn, and originally we thought it was the sanitation crews but found out that it was happening after the school bus dropped the kids off. We’ve also seen our neighbors just tossing bags of garbage out on the curb, which end up getting ripped and having stuff migrate, but that’s inconsideration on the neighbor’s part, not City Carting’s fault. Yeah, it’s disgusting, but it’s also a part of living in a community. Would I like to have neighbors that put their garbage bags in cans and kids walking by that don’t toss their potato chips bags and candy wrappers on our front lawn? Yep. Is it likely to happen? I don’t think so.
    .
    I’ve lived in other communities where we had to do the garbage runs ourselves. We had it down to a fine science, but there were still others who acted the same way. So, I’m not going to get all worked up about it. It’s not worth throwing a temper tantrum or getting an ulcer over.

  29. I guess saying that looking foolish is in the realm of name calling…

    @Mushak-
    Those of us with good service aren’t “pretending” ANYTHING – it is the truth and sorry if that goes against your agenda to have people jump on your bandwagon but maybe if YOU open your eyes and see that it maybe, could be just one team that isn’t living up to snuff than to condemn the entire organization. What about that thought???

  30. Suzanne

    Actually, JBA, whatever 2-B means, I am not afraid of a single comment on this forum nor do I have any particular ax to grind other than my opinion which, I believe, is allowable and encouraged. To take to task each person personally does not really address the issue at hand.

    *
    I have said I do not care who picks up our recycling as long as it is done right with a minimum of recycling products ending up on the street.

    *
    It was not clear to me that One and Done was specifically addressing the waste management workers as I have no knowledge of them. I simply replied to what I believe the advantage, not always realized, of unions are. I gave the example of the UFW when farmworkers in my day were treated like chattel. The UFW helped workers out in the fields picking food for you and me by ensuring they had a place to go to the toilet, adequate water in the Central Valley sun, appropriate work hours and better pay.

    *
    Not all union members are great workers, not all union members are lazy (irrespective of what One and Done says was a universal characteristic among waste management workers), not all unions serve to protect, not all unions are fair in their demands, not all unions provide the services they should. But that does NOT mean unions are bad.

    *
    I would also suggest, Ryan, that the truth is highly subjective depending upon the commentator’s point of view.

  31. Mr. Bachigalupe

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned those lovely red and green plastic bags filled with newspaper. At least once or twice a week somebody drives by and DELIBERATELY throws this bag of garbage in my driveway. City Carting may make mistakes but at least they don’t appear to be done deliberately.

  32. John Hamlin

    On the discussion herein of unions, I think we need to distinguish between private employee unions and public employee unions. Private employee unions are the choice and right of those who work at non-government employers, and they serve a valuable purpose and impact only a private or publicly traded company — if the company treats and compensates its employees well, it can avoid a union. Public employee unions are political organizations that exist to fund political candidates who in turn vote to increase union wages and benefits — one of the most corrupt and damaging systems in our society. Public employee unions bargain against taxpayers — they are adversaries of taxpayers — and the burden they place on society stifles economic growth. The system demonstrates the stupidity of taxpayers — who in Connecticut vote to allow public workers to bargain against taxpayers. Private unions are a different story — they are a matter between an employer and its employees and they don’t corrupt the political process or damage taxpayers. City Carting employees could unionize if they choose — they have not done so. Most private employees do not although they have the right to do so.

  33. Suzanne

    Thank you for clarifying that, Mr. Hamlin.

  34. Suzanne

    OK. I don’t know much about public employee unions but I have done a bit of research: public unions are not “at war” with taxpayers just because they have the right to collective bargaining. It may be that they do “buy” candidates but that seems to sit with the “left” as opposed to the “right.” This is historically true if you Google “Why are there unions for public employees?” Under Governor Rolland, according to The New York Times WEB site, he laid off union employees because they were unionized (trying to save CT money and gain on the deficit) and lost the court case for his actions. In that case, it doesn’t seem like unions working at the state level anyway had much protection at all. So, I am puzzled now by your delineation of public employee unions as “bad”, as does “One and Done” and employee unions that are under the auspices of business as “so-so” or just optional. Are you saying that all political candidates who endorse unions are bought, Mr. Hamlin? This would imply that the moniker “Corrup-ti-cut” is entirely true. The early history of these unions may no longer apply but just for the sake of accuracy, began to be formed largely during the depression in order to allow government employees protection from inevitable job loss and the long food lines that existed in that time, among other things. The origination, then, of unions is protection of the worker: decent hours, decent wages, health care, etc. Has any line employee ever gotten rich off of this or are they just comfortable and that bugs people? If there were no unions in the State Government, do you think it would run better, more competitively, inside the lines of tax revenues? I think these are logical questions given your opinion.

  35. One and Done.

    The problem with public sector unions is that they place themselves above the law. The average private citizen only enjoys the protection afforded by labor laws. Giving special consideration to public sector employees is a gross violation of the 14th amendment and as others have pointed out is destroying the fabric of our civilization when it comes to fairness and equitability. If the labor laws are so deficient as to warrant special protections for public workers, then why would we not extend that consideration to all citizens. When we can figure out how wrong this system is we can begin to restore balance and right our ship.

  36. Suzanne

    How are public employee unions above the law? How are they given special consideration? And, if that is true, how is that a gross violation of the 14th Amendment? Really, “destroying the fabric of our civilization?” How is that? I happen to believe that all workers, assuming they are doing their jobs, should have a fair wage and, if performing their services to agreed upon conditions, not be summarily fired without cause. If that is the special consideration you are talking about, then by rights, it should be extended to all workers. Of course, that would be the land of Oz to even consider that a possibility. And, to come full circle, that is, in part, why unions exist. So why are public employee unions destroying our civilization again?

  37. concerned student

    City Carting treats their workers like crap!!!!

  38. John Hamlin

    Ms Suzanne No Last Name — happy to discuss off line if you are interested enough and have enough skin in the game to reveal your identity. My position is laid out clearly — and if you look at our state’s fiscal mess, a lot of it stems from the cozy and corrupt relationship between our politicians and the public employee unions. You are free to disagree with that position, but your anger suggests I have perhaps hit a nerve of truth somewhere — or perhaps you are tied in some way or have a relation who is tied to a public employee union. But we will never be able to verify that because NON allows for anonymous posting.

  39. One and Done.

    Suzanne, existing labor laws should be sufficient for public employees. By your own admission the laws are not fair to those who do not get to collectively bargain against the taxpayers with recourses of binding arbitration. They have laws rigging it both ways for them and it isn’t fair or equitable. And yes, the $100 plus trillion in unfunded liabilities that our society owes will eventually crush it. Feeding an ever growing government takes resources away from families and communities that know how to spend those dollars wisely and not on boondoggles and special favors to select constituencies. The evidence of your ideals and plans is in plain sight in cities like Detroit, Bridgeport, Hartford. Some of us care to put an end to these destructive policies and others like you are happy to continue to support them no matter how unsustainable they are.

  40. Suzanne

    Actually, I am not angry at all. I am just trying to understand what I would characterize as a “rant”, Mr. Hamlin, with no qualifiers. I am free to write in a respectful way, which I hope you have understood here, and not reveal my complete identity. I again pose the questions to you above with all curiosity as to how you came to your conclusions. (This also includes other commentators who seem to be very angry with unions in general.) Who has been bought off by the unions in this state? How have the unions colluded with the State to create our fiscal crisis? Are any union members especially rich, in CT terms, because of the collective bargaining process and union representation? Could part of this be the increased cost of healthcare and pensions (which is not an exclusive problem to this State, municipality or country?) I believe I have stated that unions can be a good thing and they can have a negative impact, that it is not an “all or nothing” proposition, especially historically. How does this relates to union positions in waste management in Norwalk as opposed to City Carting? Does it mean that the savings the City is expected to receive over ten years is directly related to privatization, less wages for the workers and less security? Or were the previous waste management workers a bunch of layabouts who didn’t do their jobs very well solely because of union representation (as often written about in NON threads?) Not to zing, but it is not up to you to verify whether I have or have not public employee unions among my family or friends. It is a defensive posture to not intelligently respond to questions well intended and, in fact, mirrors the anger you are claiming I have and do not. In any case, getting personal never really addresses the issue at hand, does it?

  41. Peter Parker

    Generalizations only further cloud the issues and don’t help the process. Unions and political parties are not really that much different, they are all lobbied in one way or another. There are good and bad apples in both barrels. It’s a two way street.

  42. John Hamlin

    We need Scott Walker to come to Connecticut and show us the way.

  43. Peter Parker

    Of course! Scott Walker will be our salvation, he will show us the way and the light! ROFL!

  44. Suzanne

    One and Done, please do not assume, by questioning, that I come down on one side or the other of this union issue. I am somewhat familiar with the history of labor unions. I do not understand the way unions are clearly reviled in this area at all. I am not from here and this was not the case where I come from. Thus, based on a historical knowledge of the effectiveness of unions, I ask questions to learn more about why people hate them so much here. Less government and more private enterprise is the Republican credo with all government incursion into citizens’ lives being bad, bad, bad. I get it. I have not equated unions with government in the past, i.e., unions in bed with government entities, integrally bonded, paying each other to continue their influence. This is what I am getting back from Mr. Hamlin, you and others. Asking details about monologues that make claims is not anger and it is not disrespect. It is called asking questions to learn more, to gain knowledge about what appears to be a central cultural and political phenomena in Norwalk. I appreciate your viewpoint in the last comment as it delineates more carefully what the objection is. I remain unaffiliated to a specific viewpoint, however, because people would rather rant or get personal than give the information that would support what they are saying. Not very useful nor insightful.

  45. John Hamlin

    To clarify — unions are NOT inherently evil. Non-government, private employer unions have a long history of representing and protecting their members who worked for unfair employers. The many protections unions have traditionally fought for have now been largely enacted into law by our federal government — and that all has been primarily a wonderful development and a key reason that most private employees don’t opt to be represented by unions anymore (union success has made them unnecessary for most workers) although they have a right and should continue to have a right to choose whether they join and are represented by a union. It’s the public employer unions that should be eliminated. They are unnecessary, and generally are political and have a corrupt bargain with certain politicians, who take money from them and then vote to increase their compensation — it’s a quid pro quo that should be treated as a RICO criminal conspiracy — to the point that public employees have benefits and protections that the taxpayers can’t afford for themselves. That’s why Wisconsin — a liberal state — has turned against the public employee unions and finally gotten their state’s fiscal house in order — and the public employees still have a sweet deal there. And why the states that are doing the best economically do not coddle or in some cases even allow public employee unions. There appears to be a clear cause and effect when it comes to public employee union strength and fiscal crisis. But private unions are not part of that problem at all — they are a worthy American tradition.

  46. Suzanne

    Mr. Hamlin, I appreciate your response and understand better the points you are making. I have done some research on the Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker (who, frankly, scares me in some of his social policy) but, also, you have given me clear and cogent reasoning to think about. Thank you.

  47. John Hamlin

    I hear you on Scott Walker and social issues. He’s too conservative on social issues. But he’s doing great things for Wisconsin economically. And if Connecticut doesn’t get it’s fiscal house in order, and its economy back on track, we won’t have any money to do the good things we should be doing for society and our citizens.

  48. M. Murray’s

    Many employees pay union scale and benefits because they want to avoid unionization of their workplace, and the employees are happy that they get prevailing wages and benefits without having to pay union dues. However if it weren’t for the potential that the employees would unionize, it is doubtful that the employers would match union scale. As far as union employees getting rich, I don’t know many city union employees living on Belle Island or Wilson Point. The highest paid union employees ofted work 70-80 hour work weeks taking many overtime or outside jobs to achieve these wages. The base salaries of union employees would make it difficult, if not impossible to own upper middle class homes in Norwalk. People on here often lament the fact that city employees don’t live in Norwalk, yet don’t want to pay base salaries that would allow them to buy here and get angry when they do work many extra hours to afford a decent home and family.

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