Drivers fired, hired for local garbage pickup

 

June 11, 2019



By TOM LAVENTURE

tlaventure@yourdailyglobe.com

Ramsay — Recent disruption of garbage pickup to six municipalities has led to the dismissal of two drivers and hiring of their replacements, according to the supervisor’s report of the Bessemer Township Board on Monday.

“We have two new hires,” said Jeffery Randall, supervisor of Bessemer Township. “They will be officially sanctioned at a special board meeting Thursday night.”

The two former drivers were dismissed from the Gogebic Range Solid Waste Management Authority, the garbage pickup firm owned by the six member communities of Marenisco Township, the city of Wakefield, Wakefield Township, the city of Bessemer, Bessemer Township and Ironwood Township. They were the only drivers with a commercial drivers license to operate the two garbage trucks and that disrupted service, Randall said.


There agreement with the drivers, at their request, was to work holidays that fall on weekdays to have the weekends off, he said. Neither driver showed up for work on Memorial Day Monday and reportedly refused to come in when contacted, citing being overworked and understaffed, he said.

The drivers also did not come in the two days following, further disrupting service and requiring the hire of temporary service drivers, Randall said. Two more new drivers were hired to operate the dumpster trucks that do not require the CDL license, he said.

Randall said there usually is a third part-time driver for when the main drivers need time off. There were no drivers with a CDL license available for part-time work at the time, he said.

Randall, who also serves on the Gogebic Range Solid Waste Management Authority Board, said if the drivers had brought their grievances to the authority’s board or their union, it would have been dealt with differently. The drivers were both union members and understood the process of a bargaining unit, he said.


The new drivers have no one with experience to train them on the routes, Randall said. They have lists and maps and are now working on maintaining consistent routes, he said.

The supervisors voted 3-0 to approve sending a letter to the five other owner-municipalities, to thank them for patience during the disruption.

The supervisors approved allowing Randall to proceed with putting together a call for bids to dig a swimming hole in Ramsay Memorial Park. The project is part of ongoing work to restore the area of a former swimming pool and structures near that was washed out by a 1992 flood.

The supervisors approved the annual Gogebic Range Water Authority’s drinking water report for the townships of Bessemer, Ironwood and Wakefield, and the Indianhead and Blackjack ski resorts. The consumer confidence study monitored water from Jan. 1 through Dec. 1, 2018 and showed no toxicity level violations in 14 areas tested.

“There was nothing out of the ordinary,” Randall said.

Additional lead and copper testing showed very low presence and no violations in all 20 of the volunteer sample homes, he said.

In other business, the Township Board approved:

—$7,690 for Crane Engineering to replace brackets and other materials that support the water pumps at South Anvil Lift Station.

—$1,800 in screened topsoil to seed grass where needed in Ramsay Memorial Park.

 
 

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