Republic Services Teamsters End Strike Over Company's Unfair Labor Practices
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan. 31, 2013
Memphis-Area Sanitation Workers Went On Strike After Having Pay Withheld,
Being Deprived of Time to Don Safety Gear, and Other Issues
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Sanitation workers at
Republic Services/Allied Waste in the greater Memphis area returned to work
today. Nearly 200 drivers and helpers had been on strike since Monday, Jan.
28, in protest of numerous unfair labor practices by Republic/Allied [NYSE:
(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100127/IBTLOGO )
The unfair labor practices by Republic/Allied Waste include withholding
contractually-obligated safety bonuses, disallowing workers from putting
safety gear on at work, and ending the practice of allowing workers to bid on
family vacation time. The workers are also working under an expired contract,
and there are several issues the company has so far failed to address in
The striking sanitation workers are represented by Teamsters Local 984 in
Memphis. At a news conference yesterday, Aaron Belk, a representative of Local
984, discussed what caused the strike and what must happen next.
"Our members are returning to work because our community is counting on them.
Republic Services is based in Arizona, but we live here," Belk said. "The
company better start respecting this community, and it can start by respecting
the men and women who work here. This short strike was a wake-up call to
Republic that it must stop breaking the law and start treating its workers and
our communities fairly."
Corey Hayes, a container delivery driver at Republic Services, addressed the
"This is dangerous work," Hayes said. "We have an important duty to protect
everyone from the dangerous things we come across every day. We take this
responsibility very seriously and we receive bonuses under our contract for
being safe. After breaking the law in other ways many times over the past few
months, last week this company chose to cheat us out of our safety bonuses. We
decided we'd had enough of their bullying, so we went on strike."
Hayes said the company's comments regarding the strike were outrageous.
"Republic told the media that the strike was unnecessary because it had the
checks waiting for us if we had gone to work on Monday morning," Hayes said.
"We were picketing 20 feet away from their office for three days – why didn't
the managers just come outside and give us our checks? They forced us into the
streets and kept the people in this community from getting their garbage
picked up because they didn't want to walk 20 feet? "
Joseph Wyatt, another Republic worker, also spoke at yesterday's press
"Republic/Allied Waste violated the law and needs to rectify the outstanding
violations immediately," Wyatt said. "We're asking them to stop breaking the
law, and to treat us like human beings – employees – instead of slaves."
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. 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
Republic/Allied Waste's total revenues were more than $8.2 billion in 2011,
with profits of more than $589 million. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the
primary shareholder at Republic Services. Gates, whose personal assets total
$66 billion, owns approximately $2.4 billion worth of Republic stock, or 25
percent of the total worth of the company. Gates' investment officer Michael
Larson sits on the Republic Services board of directors.
Sanitation work is the fourth-most dangerous job in America. In May 2012, the
same month Republic locked out its workers in Evansville, the company approved
a death and disability benefit for its CEO valued at more than $23 million.
SOURCE Teamsters Local Union 984
Contact: Matt Brown, +1-901-603-8003
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