Waste Management: Enemy of the Poor and Working Class

For those of you who check out this blog regularly (I hope there are at least a few of you) I haven't posted anything in over a week because I've been busy with my school, work, and union. Especially work. I've been embroiled in a few fights this week over safety violations being broken at my work (UPS) and shoddy company doctors lying to my fellow workers (I'm the union representative on the safety committee). But enough excuses, on with the blog.

I read a recent Chronicle article a few days ago which had the headline "Residents still mad at spotty trash collection New survey finds poor areas that have yet to see a truck."

And which poor areas were hardest hit...Hmmm...let's see...Which area could be hardest hit?...You know...An area of people that nobody really cares two shits about...

Well, the Chronicle quotes someone:
"Who is going to complain (in West Oakland)?" McKenzie said. "There are barely any city services there for the neighbors, except for the police that patrol the area, trying to protect people from getting shot or who come by afterward trying to pick up the pieces after someone does."

And the author stated:
Elsewhere in East Oakland, residents on the 9700 block of Cherry Street had reason to hope when a truck carted off furniture, rolled-up carpets and mattresses from a nearby street. They dragged bags of garbage to an apartment complex's trash bin, but no truck has arrived.

Well, let's see. West Oakland is a predominantly Black neighborhood were the Black Panthers were born and East Oakland is another predominantly Black neighborhood were many famous rappers come from as well as the hyphy movement.

For those of you who don't know Waste Management Inc. (for its past practices click here) locked out my fellow Teamster sisters and brothers just before their contract with the company was going to expire so as to intimidate them and to not let them go on strike (all thought they say that talk of strikes are off the table). The local unions affected are Teamster's Local 70 (I'm apart of Teamster's Local 270 for UPS and am a Shop Steward for Local 278), Machinist Local Lodge 1546, and ILWU Local 6.

This is another aspect and example of institutionalized and contemporary racism. Black neighborhoods are continually underrepresented in our society in way of politics, media portrayals (other than the negative that is), and are completely invisible to those who live outside of predominantly Black areas.

If one says that racism is no longer a factor in America than ask yourself this: Why is it that Black's are continually treated as subhuman in America and how come those hardest hit by natural, political, and other disasters are those of low income, and how come Black's make up a disproportionate number of those in low income neighborhoods and households?

This is just another example of how race plays out in America today. Black neighborhoods are not getting their trashed picked up by Waste Management scabs while the city of Oakland and Wast Management sit by and do nothing for these communities. Yet no one is expressly saying that they would never insist of picking up, "The trash of Negroes" as they would of forty years ago. Yet if this country is so much better off than how come no one is mentioning (aside from those actually affected by it) that race is an important factor in this whole mess? And if we are so much better than forty years ago how come if someone does bring up the race card when it comes to neighborhood development they are meet with cries of "Race card!" by their opponents?

Yet here we are, again. Another injustice is being heaped upon the Black community and no one in the mainstream media and in mainstream politics is bringing up the issue of race (as well as class, though class is easier for politicians to bring up than race) as an important factor in the development of these neighborhoods and in the company not prioritizing their trash pick up.

Image From:
San Francisco Chronicle