A Summer Streak for Sanitation Workers


Waste Division Members Make Major Gains at the Bargaining Table

The American people are finally waking up to the service and the risks waste workers take every day to protect the public health. While improving on-the-job safety remains a top priority for Teamsters, members of the Solid Waste and Recycling Division know the best way to truly protect waste workers is at the bargaining table. 

It all began in early May, when waste workers at Republic Services in Mobile, Ala. and Salem, Ore. ratified two new contracts after hard-fought battles at the bargaining table. Republic Services workers in Oregon stood united in the face of a company-led decertification campaign. The 55-worker unit was able to beat back the anti-union effort to win a significant new agreement. 

“The workers’ effort should serve as a great example of how they can empower one another and stand up to the lies from the anti-worker, anti-union forces,” said Chris R. Muhs, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 324 in Salem. 

Likewise, Local 991 members in Alabama were also united in their efforts for an improved contract, holding negotiating sessions throughout the pandemic via conference calls and teleconference meetings to secure a strong agreement for the 24-person bargaining unit. 

“This contract will give our members stability over the next three years, and provides them with the respect and dignity they deserve,” said Jim Gookins, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 991 in Mobile. 

In less than three months, the Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division successfully helped secure a solid streak of new bargaining agreements for nearly 1,000 members nationwide. Momentum at the bargaining table continued throughout the summer, with Local 350 members at Recology Mountain View and Recology South Bay voting overwhelmingly, 70-2, in June to ratify an excellent five-year agreement. 

“Our members knew their worth, and we made sure they either kept up with the industry standard or be the leaders for their region,” said Local 350 President Sergio Arrañga, who also served as lead negotiator. Local 350, based in Daly City, Calif., didn’t stop there. In San Jose, workers at Republic were able to ratify a reopener agreement. 

Republic Services workers at Local 957 in Dayton, Ohio, and Local 326 in Wilmington, Del., followed suit shortly after. For members of Local 957, the win was especially meaningful as members stood united and fought back an anti-union decertification from management to secure an excellent new agreement that not only brought improvements for years to come, but inevitably solidified the unit’s resolve and strength as Teamsters. 

Workers at Republic Services continued the bargaining streak at Local 25 in Boston in July, reaching a major victory at the bargaining table that will ensure the more than 160-worker unit significant gains for the next five years. “It was a win-win-win across the board. We got everything we wanted, and that reflects our great leadership at Local 25,” said Brian Beaton, a 35-year driver for Republic Services and shop steward for Local 25 who played a key role on the negotiating team. 

“The ability to achieve our bargaining goals comes from solidarity and I’m proud of how these workers stayed united,” said Chuck Stiles, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division.