PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh’s garbage collectors are refusing to do trash pickup, claiming they are not being protected during the coronavirus outbreak.
Workers gathered Wednesday morning outside the Pittsburgh Bureau of Environmental Services building on Railroad Street in the Strip District.
“We’re playing Russian roulette with every garbage bag that we’re grabbing,” employee Sheldon White said. “Half the people don’t tie their bags, so when the stuff spills out, they tell you to pick it up. There’s Kleenexes that people blow their nose and cough in.”
Workers said they want protective equipment and hazard pay.
The workers were sent home with pay Wednesday morning and were told to come back Thursday, when normal service is expected to resume.
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The city of Pittsburgh released a statement, which said, in part:
Officials said the wife of an employee had a presumptive positive test result, which was reported Tuesday. As a result, the Environmental Services headquarters was cleaned and sanitized, the report was registered, and medical professionals were contacted to ensure CDC protocols were followed.
The worker is in self-quarantine, officials said, though he and his wife are not showing symptoms.
Starting Monday, Pittsburgh will suspend pickups of bulk and yard waste to help with staffing.
City residents are reminded of these tips:
- Help limit exposure to germs by setting trash out for collection in substantial, leak-proof bags tied up and without tears.
- Please stay back 50 feet from refuse and recycling vehicles
- Slow down and look for workers before you attempt to go around any truck
- Follow the proper set-out guidelines to prevent work-related injury
- Do not include any prohibited materials in your curbside trash
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