The Voices of American Workers
From an office manager in Chicago to a waste truck Latino driver: The Atlantic interviewed more than 100 American workers about their work: the pivotal moments in their career, the times they've succeeded or struggled to make it, what their job has taught them about how to treat people, and more.
The story contains the full interview to Angel Veloz, a waste collector in Florida for 17 years. He works at Waste Pro, one of the largest of the private companies that handle waste and recycling collection in the Southeast, and has won his company’s safety award several times.
Refuse collection is one of the top five most dangerous jobs in America. Waste workers deal with heavy and dangerous equipment daily, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the fatal injury rate for waste collectors is 33 per 100,000—ahead of policemen, construction workers, and miners.
"The night before, I'll call dispatch and say, "Look, tell me what I've got for tomorrow's schedule." I'll get loaded—putting the roll-off container with garbage on the truck—for my first load of the day or my second load of the day. That way, if there's any kind of bad situation first thing in the morning—a truck breaks or things go bad—you're loaded. If you don't fall behind, you can finish dumping the loads at a very good time. Then, as the day goes on, I've got about seven to nine customers a day. My shift runs about 12 hours."
Read more interviews to American workers in The Atlantic.