Trash/recycling pickup on MLK Day: Ironic & wrong

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trashtruckOn Martin Luther King Day this year [2016], I was surprised to see the trash and recycling trucks clanking down my street in suburban St. Louis.

It seemed odd and rather inappropriate that the trash pickup and recycling workers would be required to work on the MLK holiday, as the holiday commemorates the life of Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated while in Memphis, trying to get better working conditions for that city’s sanitation workers.

Bankers got the day off. School children and teachers got the day off. Federal employees everywhere got the day off. But the workers who have a direct connection to the efforts of Dr. King did not get the day off here in Creve Coeur, Missouri [population 10,000+]. This is an injustice and an insult to sanitation workers, as well as to the legacy of Dr. King.

Does my little city council see the irony? I have learned that other St. Louis area municipalities [Kirkwood, for example] honored the holiday by suspending trash/recycling pickup. Why is Creve Coeur different?

When other federal holidays occur on my designated trash-collection day [Mondays, so it happens a lot], I get a notice from the city that pickup will take place on a day-late schedule. I can wait the extra day, no problem. But, if that accommodation can be made—as it is every year– for other federal holidays, why not for MLK Day?

If this is a matter of contractual terms with the vendor who does the trash and recycling pickup [Republic Services], the terms need to be renegotiated to honor MLK Day in the same way that New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Christmas Day are. And, by the way, what does New Year’s Day commemorate [hangovers?] that makes it a more important holiday than Martin Luther King Day?

I’ve just written a letter expressing these thoughts to my two city council representatives, the mayor and the city manager, hoping that they’ll recognize the problem and do something about it. It’s just not right.

Gloria Shur Bilchik Gloria Shur Bilchik (644 Posts)

Gloria Shur Bilchik is a freelance writer and community volunteer in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the editor of Occasional Planet. She views the preservation of democratic values and progressive programs as vital to making the US a humane, livable place for her children and grandchildren.