Instead of returning empty trash cans to their proper receptacles at the end of the day, residents of Great Neck Estates, Kensington, Kings Point, Lake Success, Russell Gardens and Saddle Rock returned home to find filled pails last week as workers from their refuse service, Meadow Carting, went out on strike on Monday, April 3, for higher pay and other benefits.
The Westbury-based company provides service through the Town of North Hempstead for Great Neck Estates, Kensington, Lake Success and Russell Gardens, while Kings Point and Saddle Rock also use Meadow Carting but are independent garbage districts with their own commissioners and independent contracts. Three villages were unaffected as the Village of Great Neck provides its own service, Great Neck Plaza uses Progressive Waste Solutions and Thomaston engages Dejana Industries.
Residents expressed concerns for the disposal of their trash as they prepared for upcoming Passover and Easter celebrations. According to Meadow, normal garbage collections resumed on Friday, April 7, and recycling pick up was back on schedule on Monday, April 10.
“Please be advised that Meadow Carting is having some labor issues,” said Saddle Rock Mayor Dan Levy, MD, in a letter to the community on Monday, April 3. “The management is hoping to resolve the issue ASAP.”
Levy thanked residents for their cooperation and apologized for any inconvenience. “Please bring your garbage back to your trash storage area, so the wild life in the neighborhood will not have a major feast,” he continued. “We are hopeful that garbage should resume normal schedule by Wednesday, April 5.”
On April 4, Councilwoman Anna Kaplan explained, “The town has been notified that Meadow Carting, which collects garbage for five of the town’s garbage districts, is experiencing a work stoppage by some of its workforce. As a result, there have been disruptions in regular collections. Meadow is hiring additional workers to supplement those on strike. Residents are advised that your garbage collection may be delayed as Meadow Carting works to complete its routes.”
Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth added, “Meadow Carting’s work stoppage continues. [Since] Meadow picks up residential garbage for the town in parts of Great Neck and also has contracts with many of our villages and commissioner-operated special garbage districts, the work stoppage is affecting a lot of town residents,” she continued. “Meadow has told us that they are trying to end the strike and to cover their routes. It is obvious to all of us that they are not maintaining anything close to normal pick-up schedules. The town is monitoring the situation closely. If possible we will contract with another garbage company to pick up garbage while the strike continues.”
In a letter the following day, Saddle Rock’s Mayor Levy explained, “Please be advised that Meadow Carting is still struggling with labor issues. They are trying to get it resolved. They promised to have a pick up of our garbage today.”
Mayor Susan Lopatkin reported a similar experience in Kensington. “We didn’t have any garbage picked up Tuesday, our regular day,” she said. “Meadow Carting was here Wednesday at about 6:30 p.m., but was only able to do a small portion of the village. I was told they will come back tomorrow morning to finish. I understand that negotiations with their employees are ongoing but have not been settled.”
Similarly, Great Neck Estates informed residents, “The village has been advised that Meadow Carting is experiencing employee strike issues. They have now retained new crews and expect to be in the Great Neck Estates area today. They are making every effort to return to regular pickup scheduling as soon as possible.”
At 10 p.m., annoyed residents were posting comments on Facebook like, “Still no pick up in Lake Success.”
Late that evening, Levy reported that garbage was collected from Saddle Rock. “As of half an hour ago, I was promised by management that Friday pick up will be normal.”
On Thursday morning, Kathleen L. Santelli, village administrator of the Village of Great Neck Estates, said, “I have been informed that the strike is over and they expect regular service to resume by Monday.”
Levy also reported the good news in a letter, “Meadow Carting has resolved their internal labor issues. Our garbage pickup will resume at normal time tomorrow morning, Friday, April 7. Meadow Carting apologizes profusely for the inconvenience it has caused all of us.”
Bosworth also explained, “Meadow Carting, which collects garbage for the town’s garbage districts and several of the town’s incorporated villages and independent garbage districts, has settled the work stoppage by some of its workforce. Over the course of the next three days—April 6, 7 and 8—Meadow Carting will be collecting garbage until it is all removed, so please leave your garbage out during this time. If you have recycling at your curb, please bring it in and put it out next week on your regularly scheduled recycling day.”
By midday on April 6, representatives from Meadow Carting reported that the work stoppage by a portion of their workforce, which had resulted in delays in service provision, had officially ended. The company said that since Monday morning’s partial walk out, Meadow management had been sending out a partial collection team made up of those members of its collection staff who did not strike. As a result, most households have experienced only partial and sporadic collections at best. Now that the strike has been settled, and all of Meadow’s workers have returned to collections, residents were asked to leave their garbage out. To allow Meadow to focus entirely upon regular trash pick up, residents were asked not to set out their recyclables until next week when full regular collection services will be restored. Through Saturday evening, Meadow had its full collection workforce focused entirely upon trash collections until they completed it.