A Letter from Waste Connections

Trash service from Waste Connections has been iffy the past few months. City staff has been communicating (as have residents) to Waste Connections anytime there is a service issue. Waste Connections is having problems area-wide, primarily due to staffing/labor shortages. Obviously this is something impacting many industries nationally at the moment.

Waste Connections has recognized the significance of these service lapses and has apparently started to work on the issue. They sent the note below to the City Administrator earlier today:

For the past few months our company has experienced service issues throughout all of the communities we presently provide solid waste, recycle and yard waste service to; we would like to explain some of the findings to these issues and also provide to you a game plan moving forward.

Why: Recent ice storms in February exposed our headcount shortages we’ve had at this district. COVID-19 continues to impact our supply chain in obtaining truck parts and anything we send out for outside repair. Because of COVID the trucking industry as a whole has suffered. Hiring drivers during these trying times has been a full time job, we also still have to deal with job injuries, allowing drivers to take their earned vacation time and other safety concerns that might impede our route coverage. COVID has taught people to live with less and not to apply for jobs of manual labor. We also feel that some of the processes our management team was utilizing were insufficient.

What we are doing:

First and foremost since finding out about how bad our issues have become, Waste Connections corporate office has sent leaders of our company to the St. Louis market. The first decision was to make the appropriate change to relieve the current manager of all responsibilities.

Immediately they have brought in experienced supervisors and managers from other very successful Waste Connections locations to deal with routing, driver and truck maintenance issues. While these folks will be temporary, our corporate office will be picking the best of the best to be the new management team in the St. Louis market.

This week our corporate team has met with each department and gathered information on what they need changed to succeed. Today the team met with managers of all departments and rolled out a strategic plan moving forward.

Moving forward:

Operations will offer bonuses to drivers that maintain their employment with us, this will be paid on a quarterly basis.

  • We will be securing temporary drivers from other Waste Connections locations to help us catch up on service.
  • We will be renting trucks to help with our fleet reliability.
  • We will be bringing aboard a full time recruiter to help keep a fully staffed driver and maintenance crew.
  • We will be suspending payment for all yard waste customers whether individually billed or City billed for the entire month of April.
  • Communications: To properly maintain a consistent message to the cities and its residents we will have less people involved in the daily email chain with each city.
  • Starting immediately we are establishing a new point-of-contact for all trash issues.
  • We are experience driver shortages. We are making trash and recycle our main priority. Please have residents leave your yard waste out and we will have it picked up as soon as possible. We will issue credits for those who pay for the service, and will not charge for yard waste collection until we are able to provide the consistency you are used to. We appreciate your patience in this matter.

For the next four weeks we will have 25 drivers on Saturday cleaning up the week’s issues.