Ohio Sanitation Landfill Workers On Unfair Labor Practice Strike Extends Picket Line To California On Annivesary Of MLK Assassination
Galen MunroeEmail: [email protected]
(FREMONT, Calif.) – Workers on strike at Republic Services/Allied Waste extended picket lines to five Northern California locations today, on the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., who was killed in Memphis supporting striking waste workers.
“Forty-five years later, this giant trash corporation - Republic - has been bullying its workers by locking them out of their jobs without pay, withholding paychecks, and demanding contract concessions even though it makes hundreds of millions in profits each year,” said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall.
Republic/Allied Waste’s [NYSE: RSG] workers in Daly City, Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Fremont and Fairfield, Calif., refused to cross picket lines today in support of sanitation workers on strike at the company’s Carbon Limestone landfill in Youngstown, Ohio.
The striking landfill workers, members of Teamsters Local 377, began their strike on March 27. They are exercising their right to strike in protest of Republic’s violations of federal laws that protect workers’ rights, including the company unlawfully changing working conditions without bargaining.
“Like Dr. King said in Memphis, all labor has worth,” Hall said. “Sanitation workers put their lives on the line every day to protect the public health. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”
The landfill workers in Half Moon Bay, the sanitation drivers in Daly City and the transfer station workers in Pacifica who are honoring the picket lines of their striking colleagues are members of Teamsters Local 350 in Daly City. The sanitation drivers in Fremont and Fairfield who are honoring the picket lines are members of Teamsters Local 70 and Local 315. The workers have the legal right to refuse to cross picket lines in support of striking workers from other Republic/Allied Waste locations.
During the past year, Republic/Allied Waste has forced multiple lockouts and strikes, disrupting trash collection for hundreds of thousands of people across the United States and putting communities at risk. Republic earned profits of more than $572 million in 2012, and its primary shareholder, Bill Gates, saw his net assets increase by $7 billion last year.
“Sanitation work is the fourth most dangerous job in the country,” said Robert Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division. “These workers are twice as likely to be killed on the job than police officers, and seven times more likely to be killed on the job than firefighters. Yet for more than a year now, Republic has been trying to squeeze every last cent out of its workers by cheating them out of pay, ignoring health and safety protections, raising their health care costs, and cutting their retirement benefits.”
“Communities should also be aware of what Republic is doing to put their residents’ health at risk,” Morales said. “And it’s not just trash service disruptions and accidents caused by replacement workers. Republic’s record of endangering the public is getting worse – just ask Missouri and Ohio.”
In Bridgeton, Mo., an ongoing fire at Republic’s landfill has caused an explosion and months of noxious fumes. The fire is next to buried radioactive nuclear wastes. The Missouri Attorney General has just announced a lawsuit against Republic to force it to correct its environmental violations and to provide remedies to help local residents and businesses deal with the ongoing effects of the burning waste. The lawsuit also seeks to order Republic to pay for ongoing environmental testing for compounds such as dioxins, hydrogen cyanide and sulfur dioxide.
In Youngstown, a planned natural gas fracking project on the site of Republic’s landfill has residents concerned about pollution that will be generated from the industrial process of oil and gas production. In Stark County, Ohio, odors and other environmental violations stemming from nine years of underground fires at Republic’s Countywide landfill led to a $10 million fine from the EPA and an 800-plaintiff lawsuit against Republic that was just settled in March 2013.
Republic/Allied Waste’s total revenues were more than $8.1 billion in 2012. Bill Gates is the primary shareholder of Republic stock. Gates owns approximately $2.4 billion worth of stock, or 25 percent of the total worth of the company. Michael Larsen, Gates’ investment manager, sits on Republic’s board of directors.
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 at www.PickUpTheGarbage.com, on Twitter @RepubTeamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RepublicServicesTeamsters.