Teamsters at Republic Services Strike in Greater Memphis Area
(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) – Sanitation workers employed by Republic Services/Allied Waste [NYSE: RSG] began an unfair labor practice strike at midnight in the greater Memphis area to protest the company’s violations of federal labor law. Workers at Republic/Allied Waste’s hauling yards in Memphis and Millington, Tenn. raised picket lines early this morning.
The 175 drivers and helpers who are members of Teamsters Local Union 984 in Memphis are exercising their legal right to strike in protest of Republic’s violations of federal labor laws that protect workers’ rights.
Republic broke federal law when it suddenly started cutting the paychecks of commercial and recycling drivers. Some workers began losing up to $200 per week in their paychecks when the company made this unilateral change. The company also broke federal law when it began spying on its workers and their union representatives.
“I’m on strike because this giant waste corporation thinks it can break the law and starve us into submission,” said Cornelius Finley, a residential driver in Memphis. “Republic has been cheating us out of pay for the work that we do, and we have had enough. We support the workers who are on strike in Ohio and in Georgia, and now there are fellow sanitation workers in Memphis and across the country who are supporting us.”
“I’ll be out here as long as it takes,” Finley said.
The work stoppage is expected to affect trash and recycling services in Shelby County and Fayette County, Tenn.; Eastern Arkansas; and Northern Mississippi.
In Ohio, 23 workers at Republic’s Carbon Limestone Landfill outside Youngstown began an unfair labor practice strike on March 27. They are members of Teamsters Local Union 377.
This week, they extended picket lines to Republic facilities in six Ohio and Michigan cities, and more than 600 Teamster members are refusing to cross the picket lines.
In Georgia, workers at Republic’s hauling yard in McDonough began an unfair labor practice strike yesterday. They are members of Teamsters Local Union 728. This group of workers chose Teamster representation in 2011, but Republic continues to refuse to fairly bargain a first contract with them.
Over the past year, Republic/Allied Waste has forced multiple lockouts and strikes, disrupting trash collection for hundreds of thousands of people across the United States and putting communities at risk. Republic earned profits of more than $572 million in 2012. The company’s primary shareholder is Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, the second richest person in the world.
“Bill Gates is worth $66 billion. Republic earns more than $8 billion each year. So why are they cheating workers out of money they need to feed their families? This is unconscionable behavior,” said Robert Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division.
Republic/Allied Waste’s total revenues were more than $8.1 billion in 2012. Gates is 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. Michael Larsen, Gates’ investment manager, sits on Republic’s board of directors.
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 @RepubTeamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RepublicServicesTeamsters.