JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — More than 8,000 individual waste and business waste collections have been missed throughout March; whether it’s just simple garbage or yard waste, trash troubles are evident in Duval county.
During the month of March alone, the city of Jacksonville told me there were 8,875 missed collections.
- 6,495 have been handled.
- 3,038 have not been completed.
- 342 are still in progress.
Action News Jax asked the city about this ongoing issue, they provided the following statement:
“As is the case with a multitude of industries across the country, private solid waste companies are struggling to find and keep employees. The companies we contract with have expressed difficulty with being properly staffed, and tell us that is leading to delayed pickups. In addition, we are now seeing a large increase with yard waste which causes trucks to fill up faster than in the winter months. Despite these issues, in the month of March only 1% of customers experienced delayed service. Regardless, we understand this can be frustrating for customers and we are working on solutions. In the meantime, many City employees in our Solid Waste division are working seven days a week to fill the gaps. We greatly appreciate the patience of our citizens during this time.”
Republic Services, Waste Pro and Waste Management are three major services the city uses on a contract basis, and the city confirmed with Action News Jax they have fined all three.
- Waste Pro was fined $72,400.
- Republic Services was fined $31,075.
- Waste Management was fined $2,100.
In total over $100,000 in fines for missed collections.
Action News Jax reached out to Waste Pro for comment. They said staffing shortages of qualified drivers have hit them hard. The full statement is below:
“We are navigating through unprecedented times surrounding staffing and like other industries we are not immune to the nation-wide driver shortage. The demand for qualified drivers currently outpaces supply. Enhanced requirements at the federal level, such as the DOT Drug Clearing House and more stringent review of driver CSA scores, has further narrowed an already shallow pool of eligible, licensed, professional drivers.
“In addition to a nationwide shortage of drivers, our local markets are also experiencing a shortage of willing and qualified labor. Unskilled laborers fill a position for Waste Pro called “helper” - the second person that staffs our Horticulture and Bulk routes. Recent and ongoing changes to unemployment benefits, combined with stimulus checks and other enhanced government assistance programs, makes it more attractive for many people to not work rather than to get up daily and work in a manually labor-intensive environment, such as ours,” the company said in its statement.
Waste Pro is actively working to recruit and train new drivers and helpers to cover existing routes and to manage the volume changes.
“We have increased our efforts in local job fairs, increased advertising efforts, launched retention bonus plans as well as new driver referral bonuses,’ the company stated.
Action News Jax has reached out to the other two companies on the fines, they haven’t commented yet. The city says it understands the frustration and that some workers are at it 7 days a week to help fill the gaps.
Action News Jax also told you about issues with trash pickup in Clay County, you can read that story by clicking HERE.
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