WAILUKU >> Maui County Mayor James "Kimo" Apana has signed an agreement with the United Public Workers union to move toward automated pickup of trash on Maui.
Maui signs trash
Automated collectionBy Gary T. Kubota
would begin next year
with UPW truck crews
The agreement, signed yesterday, calls for starting automated service in Kahului starting July 2002.
The move requires no layoffs or forced department transfers of the 42 trash-pickup employees and allows workers with seniority the first opportunity to become drivers of automated equipment and earn more pay.
Union leader Gary Rodrigues said the agreement was in the best interest of the county and workers and part of a growing trend toward automation.
"We did not want to hide behind the trees and pretend automation will not come," Rodrigues said.
Several years ago, the union filed a lawsuit effectively halting a move by then-Maui Mayor Linda Lingle to hire a private contractor to move toward automated trash pickup and curbside recycling.
Lingle planned to transfer most trash employees to different departments. Rodrigues praised Apana for working with the union toward automation.
Trash pickup workers earn $12.42 an hour, and trash drivers $14.30 an hour. Under the agreement an employee, after automation training, could be earning about $15 an hour, county public works director David Goode said.
Goode said through automation, his department would not have to occasionally use four to five county highway workers as substitutes to pick up trash.
The agreement also allows the county to work with the union to develop curbside recycling of green waste.
"Our goal is to provide more service with the same amount of people," Goode said.
Goode said the department plans to buy two automated trucks at between $175,000 and $200,000 each and about 4,000 trash cans for about $375,000, which would include parts and repair training.
He said he expects some areas with narrow streets will be unable to convert to automated service and that those areas will continue receiving manual trash pickup.