NEW YORK — For days, residents in certain pockets of the city have complained that their trash is not getting picked up.
The head of the city’s sanitation department is trying to deal with the problem.
"We definitely have pockets of the city, Staten Island and pieces of southern Brooklyn primarily right now, where we are experiencing a service delay,” said Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson. “One to two days behind."
The commissioner said eight community districts have been affected, that includes all of Staten Island and five districts in Southern Brooklyn, including community boards 10, 11, 14, 15 and 18.
Within those neighborhoods, some sanitation trucks are returning to their transfer stations with about half of their normal load.
The commissioner directly attributed the lack of productivity to the upcoming vaccine mandate for all city employees. On Monday, sanitation workers will be suspended without pay if they are not vaccinated.
"To be honest with you, the mandate is in effect, we had normal routine pick up last week and this week we do not,” Grayson said. “And that is the reality of it. With regard to the amount of tons on every truck, if normally you go out and you pick up 10 tons on every truck and now the trucks are coming back at the end of a work tour with only five tons on it, clearly we have to figure out what that is."
About 64% of sanitation workers have gotten the shot. Grayson, so far, has not called the delays a coordinated slowdown. For now, it’s a “miscommunication.”
"We're definitely talking to the work force and trying to engage the labor partners, doing everything we can to clear up, if this happens to be somewhat of a miscommunication on what's happening as we near the end of the week with the mandate coming into play," he said.
Already workers are pulling overtime to try to make up for the missed trash pickups. Should a large portion of the workforce remain unvaccinated, that double duty could get worse.
The same goes for other agencies: 72% of the NYPD is now vaccinated.
"We have to prepare as if this were going to go into effect Friday evening, and that's what we're doing,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told NY1 on Tuesday. “Anyone at this point in time, unless something changes, will be put into a leave without pay status."