Republic Sanitation Strike Impacting Hundreds of Thousands

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Cordova, TN) A sanitation workers strike is affecting hundreds of thousands of you and the garbage is piling up.

But it's not city sanitation workers that are on the picket line.

These garbage collectors pick up trash for a private company called republic, and communities from Lakeland to Germantown are affected.

But so too are sections of Cordova in the city of Memphis, and that has people recently annexed by Memphis pretty upset.

When the city annexed parts of Cordova last summer they promised better services in exchange for higher taxes, but people out there say the city is falling down on their part of the deal.

Joe O'Shields is one of the near 40,000 people in the city impacted by the Republic sanitation strike, but there are hundreds of thousands of people in the suburbs who are also being impacted.

“If I had to leave my trash sitting out here for two or three days or it goes on into next week and it starts backing up then I would have a serious problem with that,” said O’Shields.

O'Shields lives in Cordova, and his neighborhood was annexed last July.

He says since the annexation his property taxes have almost doubled, and the waiting bags of trash at his house don't speak well to the change in services.

“When we were annexed we expected to have our garbage picked up in a timely fashion. We had that luxury before annexation and I think we have the right to that expectation right now,” said O’Shields.

City sanitation workers also want to know why they haven’t taken over those recently annexed parts of the city.

Director of Public Works Dwan Gilliom says this strike is eerily similar to the sanitation strike in 1968 because workers are demanding better pay and working conditions.

However, Republic workers make on average $20,000 more than city sanitation workers' $36000 a year.

“The strike has placed the City of Memphis in a very peculiar position as we work to ensure we are not faced with a health or welfare situation involving garbage and trash piling up in certain parts of the city,” said Gilliom.

He says the city is trying to stay out of it leaving it to Republic and the sanitation workers' Union to work out a deal.

No one knows when the strike will in so Republic is bringing in emergency crews from around the country to pick up trash.

If you live in the parts of Memphis served by republic, or in the many Memphis suburbs like Collierville or Germantown who also have contracts with republic, the company says you should still put your trash out on your normal pick up day, but it may take a few extra days for them to get to you.

The company is bringing in relief workers should be caught up by this weekend.