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Teamsters Authorize Strike at Republic Services in Atlanta

Sanitation Workers Could Go On Unfair Labor Practice Strike
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Ben Speight

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(ATLANTA) – Sanitation workers employed by Republic Services [NYSE: RSG] voted yesterday to authorize a strike to protest the company’s violations of federal labor law.

The 120 drivers, helpers and mechanics who are members of Teamsters Local 728 in Atlanta may exercise their legal right to strike in protest of Republic’s violations of federal labor laws that protect workers’ rights. Republic broke federal law when it took work away from its full-time mechanics and outsourced it to subcontractors.

"I voted to authorize a strike because this giant corporation thinks it can get away with breaking the law and intimidating us. When we do the work that earns the company billions, and it tries to bully us by subcontracting our work, it’s time for us to stand together and fight back," said Marcus Redding, a mechanic in Atlanta.

If workers decide to go on strike, it will not be the first time at a Republic/Allied Waste facility in Georgia. In 2013, workers at the company’s hauling yard in McDonough went on strike to protest Republic’s violations of federal labor laws.

Over the last several years, Republic/Allied Waste has forced multiple lockouts and strikes across the United States, disrupting trash collection for hundreds of thousands of people and putting communities at risk.

“In America, the rich rig the game, and Republic Services is one of the greediest corporations I’ve encountered,” said Randy Brown, President of Teamsters Local 728. “Republic doesn’t want any of its workers to have a voice on the job. In my opinion, Republic is breaking the law to bully its workers into accepting whatever piece of crap contract the company throws at them.”

Brown continued, “These workers put their lives on the line every day to protect the public health, in the 5th-most dangerous job in America. While Republic counts its billions — including the $190 million it just got in its corporate tax cut — it won’t even give its Atlanta employees affordable health care coverage.”

“Republic earned net profits of more than $1.2 billion in 2017, and its primary shareholder is Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the second-richest person in the world. The greed of the 1% is staggering,” said Ron Herrera, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division.

Herrera continued, “Bill Gates is worth $90 billion. The hard work of Republic’s frontline employees brings the company more than $10 billion in revenues each year. Yet the company refuses to pay its workers a fair return on their work. And now it’s breaking the law and violating some of the few protections workers in this country have.”

"I voted to authorize a strike because Republic has a long history of violating workers’ rights," said Dave Thomas, a driver in Atlanta. “Whether it’s abusing our brothers who are mechanics, or helpers, or other drivers, it’s all part of a larger pattern. When we stick together, we send a message to corporate management that we will not allow them to intimidate us.”

Republic/Allied Waste’s total revenues were more than $10 billion in 2017. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is the primary shareholder of Republic stock. Gates owns approximately 30 percent of the total worth of the company. Michael Larsen, Gates’ investment manager, sits on Republic’s board of directors.

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