Jump to content

Female sanitation workers

Recommended Posts

For a few decades now, here in NYC, we have stopped calling them “Mail Men”.  We now are enlightened enough to be calling them “Mail Carriers” because females have been increasingly doing this mail delivery job in greater numbers.  


Not so much with the “Garbage Men.” I’ve never seen a female doing this particular job, though I’m sure there must be a few out there somewhere.


A few months ago, on some random Jamkazam Old Time session, I brought this little factoid up in conversation. The next day, two folks there, independently, ran with the idea and were inspired to each write themselves a song about her and her smelly job. So now there are two songs about female garbage collectors (sanitation workers?) or whatever you call them. Perhaps there are more of these musical tributes out there... I don’t know.


Anyway... to bring you up to date...


Tonight, I again randomly connected with this same Jamkazam bunch. They were very excited to have me back with them because they wanted to share with me their new songs based on my off-hand comments months ago. We sang together about Yolanda and Yvonne and had a blast! Just wanted to share these lead-sheets.


Here is the first song featuring Yvonne:

Sanitation Engineer (Yvonne).pdf
And here is my favorite featuring Yolanda:


Edited by Jody Kruskal
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In Aberdeen (Scotland) they are known as Scaffies, which is derived from scavenger, the old name for refuse collectors. It is not gender specific although gender is implied by the make up of the workforce. Had that term been in use these songs might never have been written.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, Richard Mellish said:

I don't understand the point of specifying chords but not the melody.

It is quite common, perhaps more so in American music, where the rhythm is given by the words and the overall direction of the melody by the chords, and a number of standard harmonic options fills in what's missing.  2 singers may sing the same song to a slightly different version of the melody, but they'll harmonise.  I don't know if that's the case here, but it is a common approach.


Similarly, in English folk music, you often find just the melody line written down with no chords, but a knowledge of the style gives you the chords.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice story, Jody, and two nice songs that came out of it!

In my experience, it's not uncommon for a chance remark or allusion to trigger a lyric, a poem, or even a story.

At least you in the US and UK can still have a harmless chuckle at gender-speak. In German-speaking countries, due to the structure of the language, in particular the declension of the definite and indefinite articles, statements about peoples' occupations have nearly doubled in length ...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/4/2020 at 7:12 AM, Jody Kruskal said:

Not so much with the “Garbage Men.” I’ve never seen a female doing this particular job, though I’m sure there must be a few out there somewhere.


There are few round here (Cambridge UK), indeed the crew that came round our street this last Wednesday had a youngish Yolanda, doing a good job of hauling green bins to the lorry/truck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...