More than 65 workers from Meadow Carting Corp., a Westbury-based garbage company serving many North Shore municipalities, including the Town of North Hempstead, went on strike on Monday, seeking higher wages and better benefits.
Town and village officials said the strike disrupted or delayed trash collection in certain areas.
The workers, who are represented by the National Organization of Industrial Trade Unions, have been picketing Meadow’s main building at 581 Dickens St. in Westbury since Monday, when they rejected the company’s proposed contract. The last contract expired on Friday.
“We’re out here to try and get better benefits and better pay,” said Marco Garcia, a Meadow employee for 11 years. “We haven’t gotten a raise in nine years.”
Garcia said the Meadow management tells its workers, “If you don’t like it, here’s the door.”
Anthony E. Core, a lawyer representing Meadow, did not respond to a request for comment.
Gerard Jones, the president of the National Organization of Industrial Trade Unions, said the workers are fighting for $1 more an hour and for Meadow to pay a larger portion for health benefits.
“We’re trying to get the employer and attorney back to the table as soon as we can to resolve this,” Jones said. “When the workers are out of work, they still have bills to pay, car payments and insurance, and we want to get them back as soon as possible.”
Jones would not disclose how much workers earn, but some employees said they take home around $550 a week.
Meadow has hired nonunion workers to continue garbage pickup, village officials and striking workers said.
It was not clear if Meadow has resumed pickup in all of its areas.
Garbage was picked up on Monday but later than normal, a village official from Port Washington North said.
Under the Town of North Hempstead’s contract with Meadow, garbage is picked up in Great Neck and New Cassel, but villages in the town have their own contracts with the carting company.
“The town has been notified that Meadow Carting, which collects garbage for five of the town’s garbage districts, is experiencing a work stoppage by some of its workforce,” a town statement said. “As a result, there have been disruptions in regular collections. Residents are advised that your garbage collection may be delayed as Meadow Carting works to complete their routes.”
The town is providing updates on garbage pickup on its website.
Four Port Washington villages, Manorhaven, Baxter Estates, Flower Hill and Port Washington North, also use Meadow for trash pickup.
Meadow also picks up garbage in North Hills, Munsey Park, the Village of Plandome, Great Neck Estates, Lake Success, Russell Gardens and Saddle Rock, as well as other municipalities in Nassau County.
Emmanuel Plasencia, who has worked for Meadow for five years, said he and other employees work six days a week but are only paid for 40 hours of work.
“We run to get the garbage,” he said. “We don’t walk. We hustle and we do a good job.”
Plasencia said Meadow does not provide its workers with uniforms but requires certain attire and boots to be worn.
“They don’t give you anything,” Plasencia said. “No one can live on Long Island with this pay. And there is no overtime pay either.”
Workers said they expected to be striking beyond Tuesday.