NYC neighborhoods see delay in trash collection amid vaccine mandate

Coronavirus
Sanitation truck

Department of Sanitation Truck in NYC. (PIX11)

NEW YORK — Parts of New York City are seeing a delay in garbage collection, and the mayor and Department of Sanitation are working to make sure it will not be an issue as the deadline for city workers to get vaccinated quickly approaches.

Residents in several neighborhoods in the city, including parts of Staten Island and south Brooklyn, have reported that sanitation trucks are not picking up their trash, causing a pileup of garbage on sidewalks.

The apparent slowdown comes as a deadline approaches for New York City workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Mayor de Blasio acknowledged during his Wednesday press briefing there are some issues in trash collection, but it is something the city will not let continue.

“New Yorkers need to know that their city is going to be clean, and they have a right to that. And they have a right to expect that their public employees will do their job for their fellow New Yorkers. We’re paying them to do a job, they have to do the job,” the mayor said.

The city has had a number of conversations with the sanitation union, according to the mayor, adding that there is a clear understanding of what and why the city is doing what they’re doing.

De Blasio acknowledged the issue again on Thursday, saying some of the pileup and slowdown in garbage collection may be connected to the vaccine mandate, which he said is not fair to fellow workers and those living in the city.

“It’s unacceptable,” the mayor said. “We have a right as a City of New York to ensure the safety of our employees and the safety of our people.”

There will be consequences, as well, the mayor added.

About 67% of employees with the Department of Sanitation have been vaccinated, but the mayor anticipates they “will see a lot of movement” within vaccination numbers in the coming days. 

Despite the likelihood of staff shortages amid the deadline, the mayor said they will constantly assess how it’s going, but does not have any second thoughts on the decision.

To compensate for shortages, the mayor said the sanitation department is cancelling days off for sanitation workers, requiring Sunday shifts and moving to a 12-hour schedule for workers.

The DSNY is also aware of the collection delays.

“Residents may leave their material out – 9,500 DSNY employees work to collect 12,000 tons of trash and recycling each day, in every part of the city, and we continue our work,” the department’s Press Secretary Vincent Gragnani said in a statement.

Residents experiencing collection delays may contact 311 and report a missed collection so that they can track the situation.

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