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Solid Waste Workers on Cape Cod Join Local 59

By a nearly 3-1 margin, workers at Republic Services/Allied Waste, who serve all of Cape Cod, voted to join Local 59 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The vote was 22-8 and there are 34 workers in the bargaining unit.

“The workers want respect in the workplace, a collective bargaining agreement, fair treatment, improved health care and a pension instead of a less reliable 401(k) plan,” said Roger Travers, organizer for Joint Council 10 in New England.

“The workers stood up to the second largest waste and recycling company in the United States because they are tired of not being treated fairly,” said Dave Laughton, Secretary-Treasurer of Joint Council 10. “These workers serve every town on Cape Cod, putting their bodies in harms way to protect these communities and residents. They need to be treated with respect and dignity for doing such an important job.”

“We will work hard to negotiate a strong first contract for these front-load drivers, residential drivers, mechanics and container repair workers,” said George Belanger, Local 59 Secretary-Treasurer. “For far too long, they have had to endure terrible working conditions and a lack of respect. That will change immediately now that they have joined the Teamsters.”

“We want respect,’ said Ed Swale, a driver who has worked at the company since May 2011, when he returned from Iraq serving in the Army National Guard. “The workplace had really spiraled out of control. We had a new district manager who treated us poorly and nine workers left. As Teamsters, we will have the respect we deserve.”

Swale said he contacted the Teamsters after learning that 113 workers at Republic joined Local 251 in East Providence, R.I. in May.

Republic Services/Allied Waste is America’s second largest solid waste and recycling company. In 2011, Republic earned $8.2 billion in revenues and declared profits of $589 million, up 15 percent per share from 2010.

The Teamsters represent approximately 9,000 employees at Republic Services and its subsidiaries at more than 150 facilities throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.