On this Earth Week, a Special Salute to Those Who Collect Our Waste at Curbside
A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted April 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – Before we get too far away from this 50th anniversary of Earth Day and this Earth Week in Canada, I want to say just a little about one group of front-line workers who I’m not sure are among the first to come to mind while we have been offering tributes to front-line workers in general through this terrible pandemic crisis.
The group of front-line workers I’m taking about makes up the people who man the trucks that roll up and down our roads every week – even while most of us stay safe in our homes – picking up our waste materials at curbside.
I was thinking about them again this week, during Earth Day, because we forget what an important role they play in protecting our environment by making sure our waste gets to the proper destinations, including to those who can recycle as much of it as possible.
I don’t know how much these people are paid to do this hard and absolutely essential work in any kind of weather, but I would not be surprised if it is now much above minimum wage, and may be minimum wage in some cases, which does not cover the cost of living a decent life in today’s world.
And yet here they are, while we are all being told to wash our hands any time we a door know or some other object outside our homes, still out there every week, handling one waste container after another.
As has been said, it is great that so many tributes are going out to these workers, to grocery store workers, to maintenance workers, and on and on, and everyone up to and including the current premier of Ontario – Doug Ford – is calling them “essential workers” and referring to them as “heroes.”
Yet when they needed a raise in the minimum wage, it was the likes of Ford and organizations representing businesses in Ontario and right here in Niagara who said “no” – cap the wages, because we don’t want to pay it.
Well, shame on them. SHAME ON THEM!
And I dare any of them to come out right now and say that these workers are not worth more than what they are getting paid to keep our communities running as well as we can expect under the dangerous circumstances.
I certainly hope that we come out of this pandemic with a new attitude about how much these workers are truly worth.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
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