Montgomery, Howard counties’ trash crews go on strike following Christmas pileup

LAUREL, Md. — At a time many homes are littered with wrapping paper, boxes and leftovers, trash haulers have gone on strike.

Workers at Unity Disposal & Recycling serve about 40,000 households in Montgomery County and another 20,000 in Howard County.

“This whole next week are some of the worst and heaviest days of the year,” says Steve Lanning, an organizer with the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

“They do provide a valuable service, and people will certainly recognize that when their trash is not picked up timely,” he says.

In a statement, the company says it continues to operate successfully and has not incurred disruptions despite the strike.

It contends the union has ignored new proposals and the strike is “more about a show than about achieving an agreement for the employees.”

Damion West usually works the back of one of the trucks, making pick ups at up to 2,000 homes per day.

“That’s about 15 to 20 tons of heavy lifting that I’m doing manually,” he says.

Friday morning, he joined the picket line to make his point.

“There are a lot of real nice neighborhoods are out here,” he says. “We play a vital part. We’re just asking these people to pay us fairly.”

Montgomery County advises residents in the affected service area to put their trash and recyclables out regardless.

Unity Disposal intends to make collections, but the service may take longer than usual.

View a map of the service area:

Service Area Collectors May 2014

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