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Posted on Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 7 a.m.

It's sadly ironic that Ann Arbor made city trash workers work on MLK day

By Letters to the Editor

I am writing to question the trash collection policies of the City of Ann Arbor.

The federal, state and local holiday honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was last Monday (Jan. 16). However, the City of Ann Arbor did not suspend trash collection on that day -- as it does on many national holidays. I find this unfortunate for several reasons.

First and foremost, Dr. King is a contemporary hero who did more than any person in my lifetime to improve the moral condition of this country. I find it sadly ironic that Dr. King was assassinated while in Tennessee supporting the rights of sanitation workers.

I was also dismayed that although sanitation workers in Ann Arbor had to work on Monday, the Office of Solid Waste and recycling was closed, obviously not to honor Dr. King, but to uphold supervisors’ rights to take days off.

There is no consistency on which holidays city services are postponed until later in the week to honor the person or persons which the holiday commemorates. If the city must choose which holidays it is going to honor, it would be smart and respectful to choose those holidays that honor contemporary heroes.

Warren J. Hecht
Ann Arbor



Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

The truth is, I've watched refuse work this day for the money and to avoid working Saturday. Most were black when MLK day started but today there are more whites. I alway s though of them as selling out for the money. I take the day off and remember MLK and the sad times in America that he gave his life to change. These workers sell out by working, it's not the City it's the workers.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 11:26 p.m.

The truth is how you see It? YOU "always though of them as selling out for the money." It ain't necessarily so! And just because you thought it doesn't mean it;'s right!


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.

So let me see if I understand how works... if you make a COMMENT that they feel isn't factual they'll just take it down stating it can't be verified. But if you're nothing more than an uninformed person writing based only off what you THINK is happening in the real world rather than actually speak to someone that lives in it, you can have whatever you want published. Hmm... people who spew their opinions about other city jobs without ever stepping foot in those shoes or speaking to one of them. Pretty much sums up 75% of Ann Arborites.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

onlytruth explained why this occurred at 8:43am this morning. Nuff said.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

Mr Hecht Have you ever heard of a little thing called a contract? It is an agreement between two or more parties. In this case I suspect that the sanitation workers have an agreement with the "city". Those agreements are not arbitrarily put into place. They are negotiated between the two parties hence the term "agreement". If the sanitation workers were concerned about working on this day they would not have agreed to it! Period. End of Story!

Soft Paw

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

Most people I know don't even want another holiday so soon after Christmas and New Year's.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

Is the person writing the article implying that most trash collectors are black, and should have had the day off? Is that racist, or what?


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Yes it is

Usual Suspect

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

Yes, it's extremely racist.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

It sounds like somebody thought trash pickup was going to be delayed this week, and missed their trash day.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

Sanest post in this thread


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.

•New Years Day holiday 2012 (observed Monday, Jan.2, 2012) •Memorial Day (Monday, May 28, 2012) •Independence Day (Wednesday, July 4, 2012) •Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 3, 2012) •Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012) •Christmas Day (Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012) •New Years Day 2013 (Tuesday, Jan.1, 2013) ok what holiday do you want them to take out? stores were open. people went to work. you do not need a day off to celebrate a holiday.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

And they actually don't get a day "off" in any case. Trash collection takes five days worth of pickups, so if they get Monday "off" then they work the following Saturday instead. So it's really just a matter of which day they're rather work, and per @onlytruth they were asked about that.

Usual Suspect

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

But they got the day AFTER Christmas off and the day AFTER New Year's Day off. I'd say they ahead of the game on freebies.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

Waste Management works on MLK Day.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

I think that it's sadly ironic that the person writing this article has made no attempt to do research facts on what there reporting about. I am a City of Ann Arbor Employee and worked in the Solid Waste Area for many years. About 6 or so years ago the City gave us, the employees, the choice to decide one of two options. One was to work on MLK Day and receive Holiday Pay plus time and a half, and the second was to have the day off and work the Saturday like most other major Holidays. As you can plainly see the employees chose to work on MLK Day, which you would have known if you simply asked one of us.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 2:53 p.m.

There you go with those nasty facts...


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

Stop it! Why are you messing with this guys rant with silly things like facts. You know you will make his head explode.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

Thanks for the facts. I think that pretty much settles it. Or should.

average joe

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Has this group of workers always worked on MLK day? Maybe it had something to do with the featured speaker on Friday. Don't want garbage laying around.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

USPS postal workers were working on Christmas Day. I know this because they delivered a package to me that morning. On a Sunday. On Christmas. I didn't think of it as a slight to Christians but as a business choice. I was thrilled to see that package so I believe it was a smart business choice. Plenty of businesses are open during any and all of our National Holidays. Part of the thrill of being American is that we have National Holidays. Another part of the thrill is that no one tells us what to do on those National Holidays. It's a good life.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

"It's sadly ironic that Ann Arbor made city trash workers work on MLK day . . . Dr. King was assassinated while in Tennessee supporting the rights of sanitation workers." I agree with Mr. Hecht. Quality of life in our once-progressive Ann Arbor diminishes on what seems to be a consistent and daily basis. I feel sad and ashamed about our city's Dr. Martin Luther King issue. Is Ann Arbor's leadership no better than that of Evan Mecham? Evan Mecham, former governor of Arizona, was known for being racially insensitive. He cancelled Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Mecham was also known for cronyism and misappropriation of government funds. Does anyone else see recurring themes here?

Basic Bob

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

I agree, the city should have given the holiday to workers and required them to complete their regularly weekly duties in the remaining 32 hours.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

They also got paid holiday pay, 8 hrs + time and a half.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

In answer to pbehjatnia: What would MLK himself have preferred, do you think? I don't think it's all that likely that he'd have wanted people just to take a vacation (which is what most people appear do if they have MLK Day off) on a day named after him. Didn't he value work and self-sacrifice? I think he'd have preferred to see people doing their jobs--and taking the opportunity to interact with co-workers and spread the messages he preached.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

mlk day is not a "national holiday." It is a "bankers and civil servant's holiday." Most of the rest of us have real jobs and had to work on mlk day.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

I work at a &quot;real job&quot; in a private organization and we took the day off and commemorated Dr. King's work together as a staff. It's also a National Day of Service: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

The day to recognize Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is a national holiday. The law to create this national holiday was signed by Reagan on 1983 (or 84) and the first year it was recognized was 1986. The legal definition of when the holiday is observed is determined by 5 U.S.C. 6103(a).