Teamsters March In Atlanta To Demand Justice For Sanitation Workers
ATLANTA, Jan. 22, 2013
Republic Services and Dekalb County Workers Joined at March by Workers From
1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike
ATLANTA, Jan. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At the annual Martin Luther
King Day march yesterday, more than 400 sanitation workers and Teamster allies
joined workers from the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike to demand that Republic
Services/Allied Waste [NYSE: RSG] treat its workers equally and with respect.
They were joined by sanitation workers in Dekalb County who are fighting to
form a union.
The sanitation workers marched together to honor King's legacy of defending
workers' livelihoods and to remind us that the dream of economic and social
justice must be fought every day. Their banners and signs read "Justice for
Sanitation Workers" and "Sanitation Workers United."
Republic Services/Allied Waste is attacking its workers all across America. In
some cities, workers are cheated out of a day's pay or more when they work
overtime. In others, Republic is trying to destroy workers' retirement
security, and to force workers to give up their right to a trial under the
Civil Rights Act if the company discriminates against them.
Republic sanitation workers from Atlanta and McDonough, Ga., represented by
Teamsters Local Union 728, as well as Republic workers from Brewton, Ala. and
Pensacola, Fla., represented by Teamsters Local Union 991, marched together
yesterday. They were joined by Republic workers from Memphis – represented by
Teamsters Local Union 984 - who traveled by bus yesterday for the march.
Two sanitation workers from the 1968 strike, Baxter Leach and Alvin Turner,
also traveled from Memphis for the march.
"This is the first time I have been to Atlanta since 1968 when I attended Rev.
King's funeral. I traveled here today to stand up for the rights of waste
workers whose livelihoods are threatened," Turner said.
"The Rev. King came to our hometown 45 years ago to support us, and I am
honoring his memory by fighting for today's workers who are facing some of the
same issues we faced," Leach said.
Frontline sanitation workers perform the fourth-most dangerous job in the
country. Teamsters employed by the Republic/Allied Waste are standing up to
demand that the company stop these abuses now.
"I rode a bus all the way from Memphis because I wanted to honor the Rev. King
and his message of fighting for justice and dignity for all workers," said
Ilya Hamilton, a residential driver at Republic Services in Memphis. "This
hugely profitable company should treat its workers with respect, and pay us
for all the work that we do. As Rev. King said 45 years ago, 'What good is
having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can't afford to buy a
Dekalb County sanitation workers who are organizing to become Teamsters joined
Turner and Leach and the Republic workers at a news conference prior to the
Republic's attacks on its workers have increased in the last year. In May,
2012, the company locked out 80 members of Teamsters Local 215 in Evansville,
Ind. for six weeks when the workers refused to accept the destruction of their
pension. Out-of-town replacement drivers damaged people's homes, vehicles and
even power lines during the lockout.
Last March, the company walked away from a ratified contract with Teamsters
Local 991 in Mobile, Ala. Local 991 members were forced to strike to protest
the company's illegal behavior and finally secure a contract. Workers in four
other cities across the country honored their picket lines before the company
came to its senses a little over a week later. During the lockout in
Evansville, workers in five cities honored picket lines before the lockout was
Also yesterday in Seattle, Republic Services workers also took part in the
annual Martin Luther King Day march. Republic workers called on Bill Gates to
stop discriminating against waste workers. As the primary shareholder of
Republic stock, Gates owns approximately $2.4 billion worth of stock, or 25
percent of the total worth of the company.
Republic/Allied Waste's total revenues were more than $8.2 billion in 2011,
with profits of more than $589 million. In May 2012, the same month it locked
out its workers in Evansville, Ind., the company approved a death and
disability benefit for its CEO valued at more than $23 million.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4
million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and
Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us at
www.PickUpTheGarbage.com, on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Contact: Galen Munroe, +1-202-624-6904, email@example.com
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