JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – After weeks of disagreements between Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba and City Council members about garbage collection, the mayor hosted a town hall Monday night.
During the town hall, Lumumba explained the details of the local emergency. He also discussed why he considered severing the business relationship between the city and Waste Management. According to the mayor, the negotiation fallout comes after years of unsatisfactory performance from the company.
“You don’t come in here and exploit us and think you can get whatever you want,” he said.
The mayor stated the contract negotiations with Waste Management have been unsuccessful.
“We sat down across this a year ago. I shared with you concerns that we had. You shared with me that you were going correct those concerns, and it didn’t happen,” Lumumba said.
Many of the concerns are about the way the sanitation company treats employees. This prompted the proposal for a one-year contract.
“These issues are still looming issues, so what we need to do is set a short-term contract with options beyond that,” stated Lumumba.
According to the mayor, Waste Management refused the one-year proposal. During the town hall, a former Waste Management employee spoke about the work environment with the company.
“We were supposed to pick up over 12 tons to get another man. I told them we were picking up over 13. They go in the next week at Waste Management and say, ‘Hey, you have to pick up 14 tons.’ So, we thought this is a big company, they do what they want. They took away two men after the mayor gave us two men,” claimed Calvin Cook.
He said the waste removal company abruptly increased wages once the city began negotiating with other agencies.
“That’s $15 they’re talking about. Now, it just came in. It’s $14. It just came in with in the last month or two when the FCC stuff came about,” said Cook.
The mayor stated that FCC Environmental Service won the mayor’s bid to be the next waste removal company, but the contract was voted down twice by the Jackson City Council.
“They agreed to make 100 percent of their employees, employees of FCC with an average salary of $63,000 a year with full time benefits. Other services they were going to provide was a five day a week litter and illegal dumping pick up,” Lumumba said.
Mayor Lumumba expressed that an estimated 40 percent of the sanitation employees work through a temporary staffing agency
Jackson neighbors at the town hall had mixed concerns about the services Waste Management provides the city but all hope to see a cleaner Jackson.