- Waste Corporation of America (WCA) has said lax drug testing standards at recently acquired subsidiary Town and Country are partly to blame for ongoing collection issues in Kansas City, MO, according to KSHB's 41 Action News Investigators. WCA acquired the company in 2015.
- After the U.S. Department of Transportation found that status reports on drivers were out of date the agency required WCA to conduct new drug testing within six weeks. About half of the Town and Country drivers were subsequently fired because they failed the tests or refused to take them.
- WCA said it has increased compensation for drivers 25-30% and started offering health insurance in an effort to attract more qualified applicants.
The area's collection issues have been going on throughout the summer. While drug testing was previously mentioned as a factor by the company in June it didn't specify the depth of the problem and how many drivers were fired. Kansas City pays WCA about $5.8 million per year to collect waste from 94,000 units and this situation isn't good for either party.
WCA has recently partnered with non-profit the Urban League to connect with local residents in need of employment and will also be participating in a job fair next month. Local Waste Management subsidiary Deffenbaugh Industries has also been affected by the driver shortage this summer, but says the issue has since been resolved. This could be a positive sign for WCA that qualified drivers are still available.
Industry representatives say that the national truck driver shortage has had serious effects on haulers in recent years due to an overall lack of interest in driving commercial vehicles, especially collection trucks. If those that do apply to work in the waste industry can't pass federally required drug tests this will become even more difficult. The American Trucking Association has estimated that 890,000 new drivers will be needed over the next decade.