Latest Dirt


Labor groups say ‘sham unions’ undercut other organizations to the benefit of themselves and employers

LIFE 890’s latest target is Teamsters Local 813 at a Queens company called Planet Waste. The owner, Tom Tolentino, indicated he had high hopes his roughly 15 hired hands would vote out Local 813 and bring in LIFE 890 during an election called for March 22.

He told the Daily News in a March 12 interview he might have to close up shop if he couldn’t get out from under the Teamsters’ pension plan. He insisted, though, that his workers were free to vote however they chose. More…

“Trash Kingpins of NYC” site exposes private waste industry record of abuse

A new website launched today, called Trash Kingpins of New York City, exposes the corruption, racist and sexist comments, environmental damage, and labor abuses of some of New York City’s worst private sanitation companies.  Many of the documents and violations on the website have never been reported on before.  The website is a project of members of the Transform Don’t Trash NYC coalition.

Among the “Kingpins” featured on the website are:

  • David and Gerald Antonacci of Crown Container, who frequently posted racist and sexist messages on Facebook – all while promoting their companies as uniquely sensitive to the needs of Chinese immigrant communities where they do business.
  • The Bellino brothers of Liberty Ashes, who recently signed an agreement with an unaffiliated union of questionable legitimacy. The agreement undermines workers’ ability to recoup stolen wages in court, and still includes an $8.00/hour starting wage.
  • Christopher Antonacci of Crown Waste, whose company spent significant sums at casinos, steakhouses, and horse training facilities shortly before declaring bankruptcy.


Labor board blocks union election at Planet Waste carting plant

Teamsters Local 813 filed upwards of six complaints with the NLRB alleging Tolentino was trying to sway his workers toward LIFE Local 890 — an unaffiliated union that operates from the Brooklyn townhouse owned by its president.

On Friday, the NLRB said it found enough circumstantial evidence to support the Teamsters’ charge that Planet Waste was in violation of labor law for threatening to retaliate against the workers if they went with the Teamsters.

Health hazards plague New York communities home to waste stations

Even on the sunniest day, a dark cloud lingers. It is the veil of exhaust and stench of garbage that hovers over northern Bushwick.

Osiris Arias and his wife, Marina, have endured it since they moved to the Brooklyn neighborhood in 1995, and it has only gotten worse, they say. The source of their problem stands a few hundred feet from their home: a waste transfer station.

Operated by Five Star Carting, the transfer station is one of 15 privately-owned facilities in the area. Nearly half of New York City’s daily mountain of trash is trucked in, sorted, and trucked out from those facilities.

Where Trash Makes a Stop in Brooklyn, Neighbors Want It Gone

When Diamond Torres was growing up in North Brooklyn four decades ago, drug dealers and prostitutes walked the streets at night and crime was endemic.

But at least she could open her window.

However bad the situation was years ago, she said, it was better than what exists now: a neighborhood ruled by the rhythms of a trash transfer station and the rumble of trucks cruising through the streets day and night.

The unseen world of New York’s private waste industry

On a wet, cold spring night, well after sundown, the ordeal begins.

About 4,000 people, mostly young black and Hispanic men, climb waste collection trucks in various states of repair and race across the five boroughs to pick up the 10,000 tons of trash pushed out onto the curb by New York City’s businesses every night. More…

New York City’s Private Garbage Collectors Are Treated Like Trash

If you were shopping at A&M Discount market in Staten Island last fall, the waste produced at the store where you bought your milk, eggs, and cat food may have contributed to Sidney Marthone losing part of his middle finger when he picked up the garbage the morning of November 10.

“I tried to empty the containers in the back of the truck,” says Marthone. “They were damaged, they slipped, and my finger got caught between the broken container and the back of the truck. It cut the end off.” More…

City commercial recycling rate plummeted as low as 19%, according to new study

You might as well just toss that paper into the plastic bin at work.

The city’s already abysmal commercial recycling rate has plummeted to as low as 19%, according to a new study that will be released Friday to coincide with Earth Day.

That’s well below the national average of 34%, and 10 points lower than the city’s own average of 29% in a 2004 study, the report from the environmental coalition Transform Don’t Trash found.

Brooklyn residents hope to shut down waste transfer station

Bushwick residents who live around a busy waste transfer station on Thames St. are on a mission to get the facility shut down — claiming the noxious odors and fumes are enough to make people sick.

“They’re supposed to keep the garage door closed and their trucks off the sidewalks,” said neighborhood activist Ben Weinstein. “Their trucks are only supposed to idle three minutes — instead they do it for hours. They’re not following the laws.”