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Residents raise a stink over lack of trash pickups

July 17, 2007|From the Associated Press

OAKLAND — City officials vowed to get a court order to force a trash company to pick up rotting garbage during its labor dispute with union workers.

The problem began about two weeks ago when Waste Management Inc. locked out drivers after negotiations broke down. The company hired substitute drivers, but residents of Oakland and east San Francisco Bay suburbs affected by the lockout have complained loudly of stinky trash piling up on the streets.

On Monday, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums met with company leaders, while City Atty. John Russo sought an injunction in Alameda County Superior Court.

A judge held a brief hearing Monday and told attorneys to file more legal briefs and return to court today.

Waste Management officials said last week they expected to have garbage service back on schedule by Monday. But complaints of rotting trash continued to come in, Russo said.

"At this point they have a credibility issue," he said.

The dispute spread to neighboring Contra Costa County when about 70 members of Teamsters Local 315 working for Valley Waste Management, which collects recyclables and yard waste for about 60,000 customers, honored picket lines in Walnut Creek set up by Teamsters Union Local 70, the group that was locked out July 2.

Waste Management spokeswoman Monica Devincenzi said the company was coming up with a plan to deal with the Contra Costa pickups.

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