AFSCME Explains Support for Automated Trucks

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(Memphis) The AFSCME union says more sanitation workers are killed on the job than any other city worker.

The union says new automated garbage trucks could not only save lives, but also save tax payers money.

Others aren't so convinced.

The city says it will save $1.6 Million by switching to automated garbage trucks.

AFSCME says the move could cost about one hundred sanitation jobs, but workers won't necessarily be cut.

“You have over one hundred positions that are not filled currently. So, if you lose a hundred, those vacant positions would just go away,” said AFCSME Director Chad Johnson.

Johnson says he has no proof that's where the city would eliminate positions, but he's hopeful, “I've asked. They seem to affirm that yes if we need to shed a hundred jobs and there are one hundred eleven openings then no one should lose their job. But there's been nothing in writing."

The city has twenty automated trucks,  the last one was bought in 2007.

Johnson says sanitation crews would be able to work faster with the trucks that pick up trash cans by themselves.

He expects about eighty percent of the routes could be served by automated trucks.

The trucks need pretty big streets to work, so not all routes would be automated.

Johnson says the move could also be an opportunity for new trucks or to create a schedule to fix old trucks, “We don't have a single consistent standard or level of service that is out there proving services."