Teamsters Converge On Memphis To Coordinate Response To Republic/Allied Waste's Attacks On Health Care, Job Security And Workplace Safety
Local and International Officers, Republic/Allied Members Make Commitment To Stick Together To Demand Respect And Dignity On The Job
MEMPHIS, Tenn., March 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamsters from across the country met in Memphis yesterday to plan a coordinated response to Republic Services/Allied Waste's efforts to impoverish their workers, ignore important health and safety protections, increase employees' health care costs and halt retirement benefits. While priority issues differ from city to city, everyone agreed that now is the time to send the message that Teamsters are united in their resolve to change the way Republic [NYSE: RSG] treats its employees.
"I'm astounded by the issues our members face in all these cities. From paying poverty wages, to charging employees outrageous health care costs, to discriminating against union supporters, Republic's behavior is deplorable and won't be tolerated by this union," said Ken Hall, Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer.
"Sanitation workers put their lives on the line every day to protect the public health. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Republic doesn't seem to understand this, but we will do everything in our power to make sure they do," said Robert Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division.
More than 2,000 Republic sanitation workers across the country are working under expired contracts, meaning they can strike at any time. Additionally, Teamster-represented employees in several other cities have the contractual right to honor picket lines at their facilities, meaning Republic/Allied Waste could face service disruptions in several dozen cities affecting millions of customers across the country.
Republic's strategy of disrespecting and endangering workers also extends to the communities in which it operates. During the past year, Republic/Allied Waste has forced multiple lockouts and strikes, putting communities at risk in an effort to maximize profits for shareholders such as Bill Gates.
In March 2012, Republic/Allied Waste refused to honor a binding contract with its sanitation workers in Mobile, Ala. The workers were forced to strike to protest the company's illegal behavior, and took their picket lines to other cities across the country. Fellow Republic/Allied Waste workers refused to cross picket lines in: Buffalo, NY; Columbus, Ohio; and Seattle, Bellevue, Kent and Lynnwood, Wash.
In May 2012 in Evansville, Ind., Republic Services intentionally left the city without reliable trash service for six weeks, locking out its workers just to teach them a lesson. Despite high costs to the city's citizens and a political embarrassment for local elected officials, Republic had little incentive to resume regular service. Out-of-town replacement drivers damaged people's homes, vehicles and even power lines during the lockout. After being locked out without pay for a month, the Indiana workers took their picket lines to other cities across the U.S. Fellow Republic/Allied Waste workers refused to cross picket lines in Wayne, Mich.; Urbana, Ill.; and Richmond, Milpitas and Long Beach, Calif.
Republic's record of endangering communities is worsening. An ongoing fire at Republic's Bridgeton, Missouri landfill is of increasing concern. The fire is next to a Superfund site where radioactive waste is buried. Missouri has just ordered Republic to pay for testing for dioxins, hydrogen cyanide and sulfur dioxide in the air around this landfill.
A planned natural gas fracking project on the site of Republic's Youngstown, Ohio landfill has residents concerned about air pollution that will be generated from the industrial process of oil and gas production. Local environmental groups are worried about a drilling rig located near youth playgrounds.
Republic/Allied Waste's total revenues were more than $8.2 billion in 2011, with profits of more than $589 million. In May 2012, the same month it locked out its workers in Evansville, the company approved a death and disability benefit for its CEO valued at more than $23 million. 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. In addition, Gates' investment advisor 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.
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters