Is garbage man a good job....if you don't mind the labor?

If you don’t mind picking up the trash and throwing it in the truck, is being a garbage man a pretty good job or not?

Does it pay well? Do they receive good benefits? Do they work good hours or is it very demanding?

I’m curious because despite most people saying it looks like a bad job, I’ve always thought it might be cool.

Anyone know much about it?

In big cities, where the garbage collection is unionized, it pays very well and has good benefits. Garbage collector unions were a longtime stronghold of organized crime, but AFAIK that is no longer the case.

Also, I don’t even think it’s that filthy or degrading a job anymore - hell, in my neighborhood the guys never even touch the garbage; the truck picks up the cans with a fork and dumps them directly into its bin. Those guys could wear suits and ties to work if they wanted. :slight_smile:

I don’t know first hand. I had a teacher in High School who claimed he made as much in the summer as a garbage man as he made all year as a teacher.

I believe it is a good line of work if you like unionized type stuff. There is a pretty substantial risk of small injury on a daily basis and the weather where you live would be a big factor.

I used to work with a guy that had been a garbage man back when we had garbage cans, before they changed over to dumpsters. He said many times that those dumpsters cost him one of his favorite jobs of all time. Of course we were working on a drilling rig at the time, so collecting garbage might have seemed like the proverbial walk in the park to him right then.

And there’s also first dibs on all the good leftovers!

(I kid, but I also remember that, in college, lots of students would throw out perfectly good stuff right at the end of the spring semester, when they moved out. I once found a perfectly good full length mirror sitting next to the dumpster that ended up, after being windexed, on the back of my bedroom door).

When I was a kid I used to feel sorry for all the poor garbage men. I thought, how sad they are forced to be trashmen and be dirty all day and deal with smelly trash.

But now that I’m all growed up, I was thinking just the other day how good they’ve got it! They get to be outside, not all cooped up in an office all day. Their job seems pretty straightforward and simple, I can’t imagine they have to deal with “trashman” politics. Sure there are the days where the weather is bad–rainy, cold, snowy, whatever. And there is probably the random stray dog to deal with every once in awhile. But I’m sure they get paid well. The trash guys we have are often friendly, wave to us and pet our dog sometimes. I’ve come to the conclusion that it must not be that bad a job after all.

Now, instead of feeling sorry for them I feel a twinge of jealousy!!

Depends. I deal with garbage men on commercial properties. They pull in 50k after a couple years. Not only that but if they get done with their run then they can literally fuck around for the rest of the day. Lots of the guys I deal with blast through their route in 5-6 hours and then hit the bars. You are outside and you stay in pretty good shape. You don’t really deal with your boss, annoying coworkers or customers.

When I was a kid, I wanted to ge a garbage man when I grew up.

Back when I had a stand at an antique market, several other dealers were garbagemen. It’s amazing what people will throw out.

So are the sexual concubines only a union thing, or is this true of all garbage collectors?

I used to work for the city one summer and it was said there that the garbagemen had a whole gym in their headquarters set up from discarded exercise equipment that they found on the job.

Growing up, one of my best friend’s dad was a garbage man.

By the time he retired at 65, he had a sizable pension, and was making $65k/year, and this was in a small town. While he was working, he had an excellent health insurance plan for him and his son, and he got all government holidays off, plus two weeks paid vacation every year.

The perks that weren’t covered by the city wasn’t so bad either.

A 48" tv, that was fixed with a $1.50 part picked up at Radio Shack. This was back when a 48 inch tv ran $10k and up.

Blades. Everything from antique razors to broad swords. Many in excellent condition.

Movies. He would bring home 50 to 60 vhs tapes a week, ranging from Disney movies to porn. In most cases, nothing was wrong with them.

Tape decks, cd walkman, cd players, vcrs, stereos and speakers galore. We could never figure out why these were thrown out, considering the ones he brought home always worked. He’d make an extra $200 to $500/week selling these things at a flea market on the weekends. The ones we didn’t keep that is.

There were dangers though. Having to get out and empty cans in thunder storms. Dogs as mentioned above. He had to go through a neighborhood where being white could get you shot. Slipping on ice was a good possibility in the winter, and he did so many a time. (Not that he tried for worker’s comp, that man worked through anything, including a heart attack.)

I’d certainly say it’s worth being a garbage man, if you don’t coming home smelling of garbage every day. You will too, even if you just sit in the truck all day.

Being a union job, I’d imagine that not only are the pay & benefits pretty good, I’d also bet it’s a pretty hard job to get, without knowing the right people.

I forgot to add that my friend’s dad was not a member of a union. That town’s garbage men didn’t unionize until after he had retired.

My uncle was a garbage man, and I think he did pretty well and enjoyed his job. In our city, it’s a big union environment, which makes a difference. Great benefits and lots of vacation/time off. Because of the weird hours, employees were rotated on various shifts with different trade-offs … I remember the shift with the worst hours was paid out at full time, but for four workdays instead of five. The worst routes had the best hours. Stuff like that.

It is a very physical job, even with the forks and things that lift the bins, so you would have to like that and be hardy enough to do it.

IANAGC, but I was an accountant for a trash company for about a year. This was in a pretty rural area (SE Kansas crossing into SW Missouri and northern Arkansas). It was not union, in fact the company was very proud of it’s union-busting activities. The drivers made shit pay, worked long hours in an incredibly filthy environment, and had lousy benefits. It was only marginally better than working in the slaughterhouses that were the other real job options in the area. Oh, and they regularly picked up from said slaughterhouses, but only the carcasses that were so far gone that they were useless even as pet food. I will never eat another Butterball turkey…

So I guess it depends on where you are looking for a job. Sounds like in a union shop you can get decent pay and wages. Oh, and even though I was techincally in a white-collar job, my office was at the transfer station, where all the garbage was dumped before being bulldozed into huge trucks and taken to the landfill. My office window was on the second floor and was often covered by giant mounds of rotting trash by early afternoon. And yes, in that area at that time, it was the best job going, although I narrowly missed out on a job at the Precious Moments theme park. I think the trash company was actually preferable.

Here are salaries for some NY City jobs. Sanitation is fifth one down.

I’m pretty sure it’s one of the more dangerous jobs.

In and out of a truck all day, on the street. Rinse and repeat.

I’ve always wondered that- are garbage men allowed to keep things they find in the garbage, or is it forboden, but some do it anyway?