(CUMMING, Ga.) – Sanitation workers went on strike at Republic Services [NYSE: RSG] here this morning to protest the company’s violations of federal laws that protect workers’ rights.
The employees on strike at Republic Services are members of Teamsters Local 728 in Atlanta. In addition to the primary strike line at Republic’s Cumming facility, workers also extended their picket line to Republic facilities in McDonough, Ga. and Evansville, Ind. The Republic Services employees in Indiana and Georgia – members of Teamsters Local Unions 215 and 728, respectively – are exercising their rights under federal law and are refusing to cross the picket lines.
Additionally, workers at a nonunion Republic yard in Winder, Ga., set up their own picket line and refused to work for several hours this morning, in solidarity with their striking brothers and sisters in Cumming.
Republic employees in Marshfield, Mass. who walked off the job Aug. 29 are still on strike as well.
“Republic Services has a long history of violating workers’ rights, and our members are sending a message that we’re not going to take it. In Cumming, Republic has been unilaterally changing workers’ pay and work assignments, in direct violation of federal law. Our members felt they had no choice but to strike in order to send Republic a wake-up call,” said Randy Brown, President of Local 728.
“Sanitation and recycling work is the fifth most dangerous job in the country,” said Chuck Stiles, Assistant Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division. “Yet Republic is spending hundreds of millions on stock buybacks and dividends, rather than investing in their workforce and the equipment they operate.”
“There have been many, many complaints from Georgia residents about Republic’s trash service recently, which comes as no surprise. Republic can’t attract enough drivers to do the work, and its trucks are in dire need of replacement,” said Ben Speight, Organizing Director of Local 728. “It is also a slap in the face to Georgia sanitation workers to refuse to include Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as one of their holidays. King, an Atlanta native, was assassinated in 1968 while supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis. The federal holiday where we honor MLK is extremely important to our local sanitation workers, and we find it enormously disrespectful that the company is telling workers to give up another holiday in order to be able to honor Dr. King.”
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 on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RepublicServicesTeamsters.