Sanitation Workers Strike: When will hoppers return to work?

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO)- Striking garbage workers, known as hoppers are standing their ground. The messy problem continues but, many are hopeful that the issues will be resolved soon.

As of Wednesday, some strikers have returned to work, while others are still holding out.

The issues seems to be the hoppers want more money for their services. Since Metro Service Group signed a low bid contract with the City of New Orleans, there is not much room for an increase in pay.

Now, all parties involved are working to find a solution and fix to the problem.

In the heat of a pandemic, when most of the world is being told to stay home, there are still soeme services that must go on. It’s inevitable that problems arise at the same time.

“Metro Service Group was surprised to see that there was a small group of hoppers who were subcontracted through, People-Ready who decided not to work that day and protested for a number of things,” explained Daniel Davillier, attorney for Metro Service Group.

Without any notice on May 5, in the middle of the pandemic, several People-Ready employees went on strike. The workers striker are the hoppers. They are the ones who hop on and off the trucks, collecting the trash.

Since 2017, Metro Service Group and the City of New Orleans have been in a low bid contract to provide sanitation services. According to Davillier, this means Metro Service has little to no wiggle room on increasing pay or giving hazard pay.

“The real party that should be deciding what’s our priority, ‘how much do we want people to make,’ the City needs to decide that. Then the City can decide, is the $24 a month that the residential costumers pay now for services, is that sufficient to cover this or should that be increased,” said Davillier.

“I think the fix is kind of partner with them,” reasoned Davillier. “How can we go after this hazard pay together to ensure that they are treated like the frontline workers that they are and get compensated appropriately.”

Metro Service Group, the strikers, Councilman Jason Williamson and People-Ready are planning to have a meeting this week or next. All parties have agreed to come to the table to work on the issues. There is talk about possibly lobbing together to get hazard pay at the Federal level.

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