Here in San Francisco picking up a garbage costs about $37/can per week.
A contractor I know got fed up, canceled his service as did his neighbor. They simply loaded both houses garbage into his truck, took it to the dump and paid the $40 to get rid of it. He charged his friend $10.
As a contractor he had to go to the dump all the time anyway. Pretty soon he had a small business, neighbors paying him $10 instead of $37, a difference of over $1400 per year or the price of a vacation or plasma TV for the family.
He sorted their garbage and turned in the recycling for more money. Normally the neighbors had to keep two cans, sort their garbage themselves and the Garbage monopoly took all the recycling fees anyway.
Pretty soon he hired a couple of neighborhood kids and his crew of 3 did both sides of residential streets at the same time. If you had an old monitor or TV, motor oil, or paint to get rid of he'd take that too, sometimes he'd charge you $5 + what the dump charged for the special item. Need an extra pickup? No problem. He'd work from 5am to 8am and he was earning $200 per day and his workers $75.
The amazing thing he kept telling me was that the larger the truck you had the more money you could make. He was amazed that with only a modified large pickup truck he could make money at a third of what the Garbage company charged.
When the local garbage company and its union found out about "Joe" they complained to the city. Within a year a law was passed stating that garbage service was now mandatory for all residents at the price the city's monopoly charged, which was shortly raised. And Joe? For a while he still took our recyclables until he was fined $4000, even though he had our permission. It appears our household recyclables are owned by the Garbage company, not us, as it subsidizes our low cost of garbage service!
It is clear that monopolies are bad in business or unions and monopoly unions exist to enrich a class of privileged workers at the expense of ordinary workers.
In regards to trash hauling wages in Seattle, many people wondered how Waste Management arrived at the figure of $109,553 per employee.
As I stated in the first link, $109,553 is simply preposterous, yet the union complained and even authorized a strike.
Trash collection can easily be done for a third of what the union gets as "Joe" in San Francisco proved. Thus, a total compensation packaged for hauling trash for $50,000 would be extremely generous. Yet the union complains about compensation totaling $109,553.
Seattle should put the contract to a genuinely competitive bid as should San Francisco. Taxpayers should not have to put up with union thugs or corrupt politicians buying votes.
No doubt some will crow this example proves privatization does not work. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed "San Francisco Joe" proves privatization would work in spades if given a chance.
Corrupt politicians in Seattle and San Francisco simply bought union votes and taxpayers were screwed by this unholy alliance.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com