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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 11:23 a.m., Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Labor dispute suspends Mililani curbside recycling

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

The city is suspending its pilot recycling project in Mililani at the end of next week, citing a labor dispute with city refuse collection workers who are represented by the United Public Workers union.

City officials said they plan to discuss the unspecified labor problem with the union in hopes of restoring the service as quickly as possible.

Mayor Jeremy Harris, who has championed the city's recycling efforts, said the UPW would not agree to continue the Mililani project on a month-to-month basis while discussions are under way about extending the recycling service island wide.

Under the Mililani pilot program, glass and plastic recyclables were collected twice a month from city-furnished bins, while green waste was gathered on alternating weeks.

Green waste collection will be collected manually in accordance with a schedule that existed before the start of the pilot program, city officials said.

"It is unfortunate that the labor union will not allow the city to continue this very popular curbside recycling program in Mililani while union negotiations and labor issues are being resolved," Harris said. "It's perplexing to me that the union would take issue with this excellent environmental program that adds — not reduces — the number of employees in our solid waste collection program," Harris said.

Survey results presented to the City Council March 10 indicated about 68 percent of the Mililani homes in the pilot program area were participating in the project, resulting in a recyclable "capture rate" of about 33 percent.

UPW officials could not be reached immediately to comment.