They work long hours, their gloved hands outstretched towards a ceaseless stream of cars as city residents line up to dump their trash.

“We are here seven days a week; vacations are cancelled,” said one of 3,000 workers reassigned from their regular job to handle garbage at drop-off sites as the city-wide strike continues.

The worker, like the others interviewed for this article, did not wish to be identified.

In addition to handling garbage, non-union city staff and managers are working in social services, operating animal shelters, cleaning city facilities, working in men’s shelters and staffing water treatment plants to ensure the city’s supply is up to standards.

While there are no hard and fast rules about how long people have to work at the temporary jobs, those at the garbage sites typically work 12-hour days. For most, that means a serious lack of a personal life and a lot of sore muscles. One worker has lost 12 pounds.

City spokesperson Kevin Sack said some staffers at water treatment plants have been “practically living in there” since the strike began. “You can’t take any kind of a chance at being delayed by a picket line.”

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