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Brookhaven trash contracts questioned by labor leader

A plow is used to move waste at

A plow is used to move waste at the Brookhaven Town landfill in May 2015. Credit: Barry Sloan

A labor leader has questioned Brookhaven Town’s decision to award trash-hauling contracts worth $15.8 million to nonunion companies.

Long Island Federation of Labor executive director Roger Clayman said at a town board meeting Thursday he was disappointed that Maggio Sanitation of Medford and Dejana Industries of Port Washington did not win contracts to collect trash and recyclables in four town garbage districts. Both companies employ union workers, Clayman said.

The contracts, each for seven years and collectively worth $15,783,621.20, were awarded to European-American Waste Disposal Corp. of Ronkonkoma and Jody Enterprises of Medford.

“I think this is unfortunate,” Clayman said. Maggio and Dejana “have provided good services to Brookhaven Town,” he said, adding that union jobs are “a pathway to the middle class for many people who have them.”

Brookhaven officials told Clayman they are required by state law to award the refuse deals to the qualified companies that submit the lowest offers in a competitive bidding process. Officials said the town is not allowed to favor union firms over nonunion companies.

“All of our contracts are competitively bid,” Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine told Clayman at the meeting. “Normally, we’re very supportive of our contractors paying fair wages.”

Matt Miner, Brookhaven’s chief of operations and commissioner of the Department of Recycling and Sustainable Materials Management, said Dejana and Maggio submitted bids that were “much higher” than those from at least six other companies, including European-American and Jody Enterprises.

Miner said the Jody and European-American deals will save the town about $2.5 million next year.

European-American bid $4.55 million, $5.28 million and $3.65 million for the three contracts they won. Jody submitted a successful $2.3 million bid for the fourth contract.

The town board voted 7-0 Thursday to approve the Jody and European-American pacts. Trash collection contracts for the town’s 31 other garbage districts had been approved for five companies on May 3.

Clayman said European-American and Jody don’t pay their workers as much as union companies, adding he believes the nonunion companies’ costs ultimately will prove to be higher than their bids. Miner said those companies are “in compliance” with state rules requiring government contractors to pay prevailing wages to employees.

He added Jody and European-American “have been serving the town for 10 years” under previous contracts.

Officials from European-American and Maggio Sanitation declined to comment. Jody Enterprises and Dejana officials did not return calls for comment.

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