To Protest Federal Labor Law Violations, Republic Services Employees on Strike in Massachusetts Travel to Cumming, Georgia to Extend Their Picket Line
(CUMMING, Ga.) — Sanitation workers on strike at Republic Services [NYSE: RSG] in Marshfield, Mass., extended their picket line to Republic’s operations in Cumming, Ga., early this morning. Republic Services workers in Cumming who are members of Teamsters Local 728 refused to cross the picket line in solidarity.
Trash service for over 70,000 residents in the communities of Cumming and Alpharetta were affected by this action today. Trash pickup for businesses and construction sites in Milton, Johns Creek, Roswell, Canton and Woodstock are affected as well.
The Massachusetts workers who are members of Teamsters Local 25 in Boston have been on strike since August 29 of this year. They are on an Unfair Labor Practice strike to protest Republic’s violations of federal laws that protect workers’ rights.
“Republic Services makes millions in municipal contracts, yet it refuses to negotiate contracts with workers and their unions,” said striking Republic employee Michel Banel. “We voted to form our union a year ago, yet Republic is refusing to negotiate in good faith with us at the bargaining table. We just want a voice on the job and a better life for our families.”
Banel continued, “Municipalities should require that waste and recycling contractors treat employees – their own community members and constituents — with dignity and respect.”
“These sanitation workers put their lives on the line every day to protect the public health in the fifth-deadliest job in America,” said Sean O’Brien, President of Teamsters Local 25 and Teamsters International Vice President. “This for-profit trash company is taking taxpayer dollars but refusing to bargain with workers as required under federal law. Due to its illegal behavior in multiple places, Republic employees have gone on quite a few strikes in U.S. cities over the past few years.”
O’Brien continued, “The Georgia Teamsters who are honoring our picket line today went on a one-day unfair labor practice strike against Republic back in September to protest the company’s violation of labor law. They extended their picket line to McDonough, Ga. and Evansville, Ind. at that time.”
The Teamsters represent over 7,000 Republic Services workers across the country. Recent calculations show that workers in 10 cities with a combined population of over 1 million residents are currently in contract negotiations with Republic Services, and that Teamsters in 31 cities with a combined population of over 6 million residents have the right to honor picket lines.
Republic Services earned $10 billion in revenue and almost $3 billion in profit in 2018. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the company’s principal shareholder, is paid over $100 million in shareholder dividends every year. Gates’ personal investment manager, Michael Larson, sits on Republic’s Board of Directors.