- City officials and waste workers' unions reached an agreement last night to end a four-day garbage collection strike in Paris. Workers had argued that wages aren't keeping up with the cost of living and too few workers are eligible for promotion.
- City hall said it "agreed to raise pay for certain workers and consider expanding promotion opportunities," according to The Associated Press.
- 45% of the city's 4,900 waste workers were on strike, trash was piling up on the streets, and 200 frustrated workers occupied a city building on Thursday to complain. The secretary general of the CGT Garbage Collectors union, Regis Vieceli, had said: "We are not asking for the moon. A promotion means 70 euros ($79) more a month." He said he earns 1,700 euros ($1,920) a month before taxes and payroll charges after 21 years as a garbage collector.
Although the city originally said it would take weeks to reach a solution, the agreement between city officials and garbage collectors eliminates some frustration in Paris, where the economy is dragging and labor tensions are high.
David Biderman, executive director and CEO of SWANA, said, "Strikes occur rarely among municipal solid waste employees in the U.S. and thankfully when they occur, they are usually very short."
He noted that "median income for waste collection workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is about $36,000. Of course, employees in large cities such as New York City are better paid than drivers and helpers in smaller towns."
Trash employees are essential to the health and welfare of populated areas, and the stinky pileup in Paris is proof of their importance.