Deal Reached in Chicago Garbage Strike
Oct. 09, 2003
CHICAGO (AP) _ Striking garbage collectors reached a tentative agreement early Thursday to end an 8-day-old walkout that left stinking, rat-infested piles of trash throughout the Chicago area.
The Teamsters union was set to vote on the deal later in the day and said garbage trucks could start hauling away the rubbish by nightfall.
The 3,300 union workers handle garbage for 17 private waste haulers that serve Chicago's high-rises and the suburbs.
During the walkout, Mayor Richard Daley sent city sanitation workers to clear away the trash around Wrigley Field, where the Cubs are hosting the National League Championship Series.
The settlement between the union and the Chicago Area Refuse Haulers Association was reached after a nearly 20-hour bargaining session with a federal mediator.
The deal gives garbage collectors a 28 percent increase in wages and benefits over the next five years.
``We believe it's a fair proposal. It addresses the needs of our members, and we are very grateful to the mediator,'' Teamsters Local 731 spokesman Terry Hancock said.
Hancock said if the deal were approved, garbage trucks would work through the night until all the trash was picked up.
The Teamsters went on strike after talks reached an impasse over wages, benefits and the length of the contract. The workers make $10 to $21 an hour.
During the strike, trash collection stopped for about 200 of Chicago's 600 public schools. Most of the 200 have trash compactors, but garbage was piled high in the bins for the 82 that do not.
Some restaurants, government buildings and skyscrapers downtown, including the 100-story John Hancock Center, had to store their trash in their loading dock areas. In many alleys, chains were used to help keep the bulging lids on trash bins.
The city sanitation department handles trash removal at smaller buildings and single-family homes.