Victory in Lawrence


City Waste Workers Vote for Representation from Local 696

Sanitation workers employed by the city of Lawrence voted overwhelmingly, 65-1, to join Local 696 in Topeka, Kansas. The 71-worker unit is seeking improved working conditions and wages, respect on the job, and fair and consistent work rules. 

“I’ve worked here for almost 20 years and each year we lose more. Morale has been going down for years. As Teamsters, we can hold management accountable and get our pay back to where it needs to be,” said Shaun Elston, a sanitation driver. 

“This is a huge win. Already, morale has skyrocketed,” Elston said. “Now that we are officially members of Local 696, we are more united than ever and ready to continue our momentum as we negotiate a contract that will bring real change.” 

Elston helped start the campaign for sanitation workers in Lawrence, serving as one of the leading voices on the worker-led organizing committee. 

Working as a Team 

He credits his co-workers for their determination and resolve throughout the campaign to join Local 696. 

“My co-workers and I came together and worked as a team throughout the campaign,” said Rashaad Marshall, a sanitation driver who also served as a leading member of the organizing committee. “We are proud of what we accomplished and look forward to solidifying our strength at the bargaining table. Together, we will let the city know that when workers win respect, the entire community benefits.” 

This victory marks the first group of workers at the city of Lawrence to organize with Local 696. The campaign to unionize other city workers is currently under way, noted Matt Hall, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 696. 

“This is a major win for workers, and we couldn’t be prouder of this group for standing strong to win the fairness and respect that all workers deserve on the job. We will continue to fight for all workers at the City of Lawrence in their campaign to win a union voice under the protection of a strong Teamster-backed contract,” Hall said.