Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tensions Flare At Waste Transfer Stations

Calmer Heads Prevail After Tensions Flare At Waste Transfer Stations
Tuesday June 23, 2009 Staff

Things were a bit calmer Tuesday at the city's waste transfer stations, after
shouting matches and tensions erupted at several depots across the city 24 hours earlier. It was the first fallout from the CUPE workers' strike, a walkout that's put an end to garbage collection, daycare, road repairs and other vital city services.

A dispute over banking of sick days is only one of the issues in the job action, and so far there's been little progress in reaching a resolution. A notice from both Local 416 and Local 79 indicates they're back at the bargaining table but that the thorny issue of concessions is holding up progress.

Residents and business owners showed up at the Bermondsey station at sun-up early Tuesday, one of two locations that are open 24 hours a day. Picketers were blocking their way as they had on Monday, but this time, the exchanges were a lot more civil, with workers helping some people carry their trash to the proper spot, without allowing them to drive inside.

The waits were about 15 minutes, but everyone seemed to come with their own ideas about what to do.

And even the union appeared to be playing games. When CityNews turned on its cameras, they immediately ended their delaying techniques and allowed everyone through almost right away. When we left and waited around the corner, those who were offloading their garbage told us things abruptly changed.

"They tried to get me to drop it off in the pile in protest, but I don't want to make more of a mess than what it is, so I went over to the blue truck," explains a resident named Calibrina.

While the tension was high between the public and the strikers, there was also some nasty ribbing aimed at managers, who were on duty at the scene trying to bring order to the chaos and do some clean-up.

"You guys would get fired!" one yelled at their bosses.

"Incompetency," screamed another.

"The best garbage man can carry two or three at a time," shouted a third.

But not everyone was in a fighting mood. One man with a plan pulled it off to perfection, arriving with coffees for the strikers. They wound up helping him dispose of his garbage.

They promise to help any elderly people who may come to the site, but they won't pledge to stop the delays, although you should eventually get through. How long that "eventually" lasts is up to their mood and yours, and whether you can hold your garbage, your nose - and your temper.

Things were also more cordial at a location on Commissioners St.

Strikers have set up a new protocol they're using to let trash be deposited at the site. "Today, we're allowing residents to dump their garbage," explains picket captain Bill Steele. "They're allowed three bags, it's a 10 minute per car wait and they can walk up to the picket line and throw it over the picket line and management is taking it and they're disposing of it inside."

There are seven transfer stations you can use to dump your trash with only a minimum of hassle.

Garbage Drop Off Points

Bermondsey Transfer Station (24 hours)
Eglinton and Victoria Park

Ingram Transfer Station (24 hours)
Keele and Eglinton Ave. W.

Scarborough Transfer Station (7am-7pm)
Markham Rd & Sheppard Ave. E.

Remember that if you plan to drive your bags to a disposal site out of town, officials there are now requiring proof of residence before they'll take it.

Disco Transfer Station (7am-7pm)
Dixon Rd. & Carlingview Dr.

Dufferin Transfer Station (7am-7pm)
Chesswood Dr & Sheppard Ave. W.

Victoria Park Transfer Station (7am-7pm)
Victoria Park Ave & Finch Ave. E.

Commissioners Street Transfer Station (7am-7pm)
Lake Shore Blvd. E. & Logan Ave.