Memphis sanitation workers struggling with city over bulk waste service

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis and AFSCME, the union representing sanitation workers, are going back and forth over who is to blame for services that are falling behind.

Bulk waste service is one of four concerns the two have been discussing.

AFSCME claims crews are unable to complete the current bulk service - which offers pick-up once every two weeks.

The newest president of the union says they don’t have the resources needed to keep up.

He claims the model is failing certain neighborhoods, and only working for half the city - specifically East Memphis.

Resident Erica Jeffries says she’s been waiting for bulk service for months.

“The garbage is just constantly piling up,” said Jeffries. “It’s been out here for months. We have called 311 and they were like they’re behind. Something needs to be done. It makes it looks like we’re just trash. And if you go in another neighborhood just like out east they don’t have stuff like this, but we have to deal with it. We all pay the taxes. They need to come out and put it up.”

In response, the City of Memphis insisted the bulk plan works, and pointed to the city adding $15 million in equipment when the new model began in 2019. Other concerns being discussed between the city and union are one-day delays during holidays, overtime pay, and tablet usage.

The bulk waste issue is on the agenda for the Memphis City Council Tuesday afternoon.

Below is a PDF of communication between Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Adrian Roger, President of AFSCME: