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Saint John resumes garbage collection 24 hours after halting service


Less then 24 hours after suspending all garbage collection services, the City of Saint John, N.B., has resumed waste pickup on a limited capacity.

On Tuesday afternoon, the city put out a release announcing all waste collection services had been forced into a full stoppage due to illegal strike activity by members of CUPE Local 486.

“Yesterday we actually asked for police assistance,” says Mayor Donna Reardon, claiming picketers would not allow garbage trucks to get on the road. “A staff sergeant came over and we able to get one truck rolled out, but they are already a day behind with Monday, they had one truck out for Tuesday, so yesterday they just suspended garbage pickup until we can get this situation resolved.”

“It’s unfortunate that the narrative is out there that out members are illegally picketing and forcing a suspension on garbage collection,” says CUPE Local 486 President Brittany Doyle. “That’s not the case, our members have been picketing in that area. We can impede traffic but in no way can we block or stop traffic.”

“In the social media post that the city put out yesterday you can see those vehicles are parked on the side of the road, there are no people in them and they are not moving.”

CUPE Local 486 represents around 140 inside works for the City of Saint John, and have now been on strike for three weeks.

Since September 12, the city of Saint John has put out multiple releases blaming union picketers for waste collection delays. On September 18, the city suspended all recycling and compost pickup, with no timeline on when the service will resume.

“The point of a strike obviously is to cause some disruption,” says Doyle. “It’s not comfortable for us and it’s certainly not comfortable I understand for the citizens. We understand their level of frustration but the point is we are trying to get this resolved quickly.”

Resident Brian Wilson says he fully supports the union and their strike action, but is getting tired of seeing the garbage pile up around the city.

“It’s very disappointing when we have to look around and see our garbage,” Wilson admits. “It’s piling up pretty quick I’m tired of cleaning up after racoons.”

The two sides met at the negotiating table for eight hours on September 22, and another four hours on September 24. While some progress made during talks, there is still no deal in place.

“The city is not coming to the table with the cost of living and not with their wage escalation policy,” Doyle says. “We have made movement and they have, but it’s not something that we feel we can bring to our membership.”

“There’s still a gap but it’s encouraging,” Mayor Reardon says. “Negotiations is always what are you willing to give up, what are you willing to take, and it’s only going to happen with talk. We are all going to be looking forward to this being over.”

There are currently no plans to resume contract talks.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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