UPDATED 4:45 p.m. Montgomery County says a strike at one of its trash pick-up contractors shouldn’t have a big impact on service today.

Workers from Potomac Disposal, Inc., one of the county’s three trash/recycling contractors, went on strike on Monday morning to protest an immigration enforcement threat from the Gaithersburg-based company.

The workers last week agreed to negotiate for health insurance, which the company does not offer. On Friday, Potomac Disposal attached new I-9 employment eligibility verification forms to employee time cards.

The union says the company should have I-9 forms from when the employees were hired and the move seems like a threat to employees who want health insurance and better wages.

In a statement on Monday afternoon, an attorney for Potomac Disposal said the company asked for I-9 forms after conducting an audit of its personnel files and realizing it needed to have all of its employees update their I-9 documentation.

Trash collection truck drivers make between $120 and $130 a day, while those who load trash into the trucks make between $60 and $70 a day, according to the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

The county’s Division of Solid Waste Services on Monday afternoon said the company has assured them Monday trash and recycling pick ups would be made:

“Potomac Disposal has taken steps to help ensure that their County customers due forMonday service — in portions of the Potomac and Silver Spring areas — have their trash and recyclables picked up today,” Director of Solid Waste Services Dan Locke said.

Locke said residents with Tuesday trash/recycling service from Potomac Disposal should put out their trash and recyclables by 7 a.m. as usual.

Any residents that haven’t had their trash picked up by 7 p.m. should call 311, Montgomery County’s Customer Service Center, on Tuesday morning.

The union claimed the strike on Monday disrupted trash and recycling operations for about 12,000 homes in Silver Spring, Wheaton, Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Rockville. The union said the strike will affect about 18,000 homes in the River Road area of Bethesda and Potomac on Tuesday.

The full statement from Potomac Disposal follows:
Please be advised that despite the Union’s irresponsible decision to strike without notice, all trash collection obligations will be satisfied during the strike.  Your trash may be collected later in the day than usual, but it will be collected on your normally assigned day!

Potomac Disposal is disappointed by the Union’s decision to abandon our customers.  The Union is striking because Potomac Disposal conducted an audit of its personnel files and realized it needed to have ALL employees update their I-9 documentation.  While Potomac Disposal is willing to work with any employee who needs more time to gather the necessary documents, we cannot avoid the federal mandate that all employees provide documentation verifying the employee’s legal authorization to accept employment in the United States.
Flickr photo via Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services