Five-Year Agreement Covering Nearly 160 Workers Sets Standard for Other Waste Disposal Companies
Negotiations for a new contract to cover nearly 160 sanitation drivers, transfer station drivers, dispatchers, and container delivery drivers at Republic Services went down to the last minute and nearly ended in a strike – but the strike was averted when the parties reached an incredibly strong contract that will set a new standard in the solid waste and recycling industry for the next five years. The new contract covers Teamster members at Local 174 in King County and Local 38 in Snohomish County. Members had made clear they were willing to fight hard to win major victories, and the new contract delivered.
The achievements in this newly negotiated agreement are too numerous to list. Workers won strong new language penalizing mandatory overtime, which has been a lingering and consistent problem in the sanitation industry. All newly-hired employees will now be given 30 minutes with a Teamster shop steward to learn some of the ins and outs of being a Union member and worker. We also achieved stronger language protecting bid drivers from being moved off their routes or sent to different areas, and premium pay for drivers who complete their work and are required to perform extra work when the operation is not properly staffed. The addition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday is a tremendous display of awareness and recognition by Republic Services, given what has been going on in our nation.
On the economic side, the achievements around wage and pension increases once again set a new area standard for the other haulers in King, Snohomish, Whatcom and Skagit Counties, including full maintenance of benefits on union-provided health care for the life of the agreement. Even more significant, Republic Services Teamsters will now be eligible for the Retirees Welfare Trust’s new XL Plus plan, which will allow workers to retire with union health care for themselves and their families for a fraction of its former cost, thereby opening the door for workers to afford to retire when they reach PEER-eligible status.
“This contract represents what workers can accomplish when they stand together and show their employer they are willing to fight for what they deserve,” said Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer and Joint Council 28 President Rick Hicks. “Our members knew they were meeting on Sunday to either ratify a contract or authorize a strike, and negotiations came right down to the wire – but ultimately, working together, we were able to get where we needed to be. The overwhelming ‘yes’ vote on this contract stands as evidence that our members’ goals were met.”
“Republic Services delivered for their employees and for the communities they service. In the very near future, other garbage haulers will need to rise to meet this new industry standard for their employees and the communities they currently service,” Hicks continued. “I hope they are ready to reward their workers the way Republic Services has.”
“Solidarity was on full display throughout these negotiations and in this final contract,” said Teamsters Local 38 Secretary-Treasurer Steven Chandler. “By teaming up with Local 174 and bargaining this master agreement together, we were able to gain better leverage to get a contract that will be life-changing for our members. Republic Services Teamsters are proud to work under this agreement.”
Founded in 1909, Teamsters Local 174 represents 8,600 working men and women in Seattle and the surrounding areas. “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamstersLocal174.
Founded in 1928, Teamsters Local 38 represents 4,000 working men and women in Snohomish County.