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Trash pickup in Virginia Beach is back after workers protested hazard pay

On Thursday, an employee for Waste Management in Virginia Beach said he felt heard after having a conversation about hazard pay with City Manager Patrick Duhaney.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Crews started picking up trash in Virginia Beach again on Thursday.

Waste Management in Virginia Beach canceled trash pickup Wednesday due to a shortage of employees who protested and voiced their concerns demanding hazard pay under the CARES Act.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Waste Management employees, including James Dancy, have continued hitting the road and making sure the community’s trash is collected.

“We’ve been out here grinding since day one, no complaints out of us at all,” said Dancy.

But Wednesday was a different story.

Kristi Rines, a spokesperson for Waste Management in Virginia Beach said many of them didn’t show up to work. Those who went to work stood at the Waste Management facility along Holland Rd., where they voiced their concerns to management and Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney.

“The frustration was just not being included in certain aspects,” said Dancy.  

While public works and public utilities employees are essential, they’re not considered "first responders" and city leaders determined those particular employees aren’t eligible for hazard pay under the CARES Act guidelines.

City Manager Patrick Duhaney wrote a letter to the mayor and members of city council on Tuesday. In it, he proposed a one-time payment of $1,000 for essential workers who are ineligible for hazard pay. Waste Management employees would be among those to receive the one-time payments.

Crews may end up receiving even higher payments. On Thursday, councilmember Aaron Rouse announced an ordinance, in which he proposed providing essential workers with a one-time payment of $1,500.

City spokesperson Julie Hill said the city council is set to vote on the issue next Tuesday.

In the meantime, trash collection is a day behind schedule in Virginia Beach. 

Wednesday's trash was to be picked up Thursday. Thursday's scheduled trash pick-up will be collected Friday. Friday's trash will be collected Saturday. 

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