Justice for Athens Environmental Workers

  • Posted on 8 December 2019
  • By Madhu Velumani
Sanitation is a necessary job if we want to have a clean city. And just like the environment we live in is important to us, the environment we affect is just as integral. 
On December 10th, the City of Beverly Hills is considering giving Athens Environmental a no-bid contract extension.The proposal has stated to decrease their diversion requirement 60% to 53%—a major problem seeing as this sets the city and the LA county back with their environmental goals.
One issue with Athens is that it promotes single stream recycling or dirty MRF’ing—a method of mixing all solid waste, recycling, and organic waste into one bin. It can cause contamination in recyclable material, leaving it to be thrown into landfills. For example, on January 15 of this year, while bidding for an exclusive contract in Manhattan Beach, Athens Environment’s parent company, Athens Services, claimed that they would be able to achieve high diversion rates through dirty MRF’ing. This backward method is concerning as it shows that our sanitation services are still not up to standards.
In addition, workers at Athens Environmental have been fighting to have a voice on the job, and to be treated fairly and with respect. These workers are mostly men of color, who service one of the wealthiest zip-codes in LA County, and who work in our nation’s 5th most dangerous industry. 
Sanitation workers are absolutely necessary to keep the city clean and the environment unpolluted. These workers are an irreplaceable need in our county. For this reason, we as a community must stand with Athens Environmental workers in their fight for higher wages, affordable health care, and a voice on the job. 
Athens Services has a lot to fix and we must keep them accountable. As a community, we must address these issues with our city leaders.  
If you want to show your support to Athens Environmental workers, be sure to call the City of Beverly Hills and urge them to keep Athens accountable. We must not go back on our diversion rates and workers should be treated fairly. 
City of Beverly Hills: (310) 285-2400 
Follow upo the story, check the UPDATE ON ATHENS WORKERS after the December 10th hearing. 
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