Crushed to Death and Discarded: The Invisible “Third Men” of New York’s Garbage Industry

NY Garbage Workers There are eight million stories in the Naked City, and some of them — like this one — you’d never believe. After all these years, I’m the stories of the work people — especially immigrants — do in this country continue to amaze and sicken me.

This is a ProPublica and Voice of America investigation by Kiera Feldman into the death of Mouctar Diallo, age 21, a Guinean immigrant crushed to death 5:08 a.m. on Nov. 7, 2017 by a 40 ton garbage truck.  The drivers, employed by Sanitation Salvage, claimed that Diallo was just some crazy homeless person who jumped on the truck and then fell off.

It was only months later that the authorities learned that Diallo was actually a “third man”

Such third men, according to interviews with 15 current and former workers, often got paid off the books, either directly by the company or out of the pockets of drivers and main helpers. The drivers and main helpers were then sometimes reimbursed by the company, according to current and former workers. Such informal payments were a testament to how impossibly long the routes were. A typical route at another company in the Bronx would be around 200 stops. At Sanitation Salvage, many routes had close to 1,000 stops, if not more.  Third men could make anywhere from $30 to $80 a night, for shifts as long as 18 or 20 hours, according to workers.

Read the story.   And two previous stories of New York’s garbage workers:  Trashed: Inside the Deadly World of Private Garbage Collection about the night time “army of private garbage trucks from more than 250 sanitation companies zigzag across town in ad hoc fashion, carting away the trash and recycling from every business — every bodega, restaurant and office building in the five boroughs. Those private carters remove more than half of the city’s total waste.”

And then your children who want to grow up to be garbage collectors can follow a driver’s route in One Night on a Private Garbage Truck in New York City.

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