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Rhode Island Stericycle Teamsters Edge Closer to Strike


Local 251 Members Hold Practice Pickets; Healthcare, Retirement and Covid-19 Protections Are Main Issues in Contract Negotiations

(Pawtucket and Woonsocket, R.I.) – Nearly 50 workers at two Stericycle-owned businesses, represented by Teamsters Local 251, engaged in a practice strike demonstration at Stericycle and Shred-it locations early this morning.

Woonsocket workers voted more than a year ago to join the Teamsters, and in Pawtucket the one-year mark is coming up soon. Both units are currently in contract negotiations for a first contract.

“We are frustrated at the slow pace of negotiations for our first contract and the company’s latest position that it won’t offer better health insurance benefits, improve its retirement plan or provide relief to workers who test positive for Covid-19,” said Chris LaFlamme, a 23-year Shred-it driver.

“Negotiations have been difficult at times and up until now we have been able to work through many issues during the bargaining process,” Teamsters Local 251 Secretary-Treasurer Matt Taibi said. “We’ve agreed to have a federal mediator join negotiations. We’re hopeful we can get a fair contract soon, but we are very close to a labor dispute.”

Stericycle has the only licensed medical waste treatment facility in Rhode Island, and Shred-it has contracts for on-site shredding of confidential documents. A strike at these facilities could cause major issues for hospitals, medical facilities, state and municipal governments, and private employers across the state.

“We have worked nonstop during the entire pandemic,” said Nate Monteiro, a 14-year Stericycle driver. We put ourselves at risk every day. Many of my co-workers have caught Covid, including myself. We deserve better health insurance, a secure retirement, and a way to protect our wages until the pandemic is over.”

Stericycle, Inc. collects and disposes regulated substances, such as medical waste and sharps, pharmaceuticals and hazardous waste. Shred-it, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stericycle, Inc., provides confidential shredding services to businesses across North America.

In 2020, the Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division launched a union-wide campaign to organize Stericycle and Shred-it workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. This fall, Ohio workers at Local 377 and Local 20 went on strike to protest the company’s anti-worker behavior at Stericycle. In December, Local 469 members at Shred-it went on strike to protest the company’s unfair working conditions and unwillingness to negotiate a fair contract.

Stericycle workers in Woonsocket conducted a strike authorization vote, which passed overwhelmingly. Shred-it Pawtucket had previously approved a strike authorization by a unanimous vote from the Local 251 members.

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 for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at