Teamster, Electrical, Ironworker Union Members All Honor Picket Line
MILPITAS, Calif., June 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sanitation workers who have been locked out of their jobs by Republic Services/Allied Waste in Evansville, Ind., extended their picket line to a Republic hauling yard, landfill and recycling facility in Milpitas, Calif., early this morning. The workers are not on strike—their picket line is a protest in response to Republic's lockout.
The picketers carried signs that read "I AM A MAN," a replica of the signs carried by sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968. Those workers, who were joined by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the picket line before he was assassinated, were fighting for respect and fair treatment on the job after two co-workers were killed by unsafe equipment.
More than 200 workers who work at or deliver to the Milpitas facilities chose to support their locked-out brothers and sisters by voluntarily honoring the picket line this morning. This includes the drivers, mechanics and sorters who are members of Teamsters Local 350, members of Teamsters Local 70 who drive for Republic/Allied out of Alameda County, members of Teamsters Local 350 who work for other area companies and deliver to Republic's Milpitas facility, and members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Ironworkers Unions who are constructing a new recycling facility at the site.
Representatives from Teamsters Local 665, which does not have contracts with Republic, walked the picket line with the locked-out members of Local 215 this morning.
On May 8, Republic locked out 80 of its workers who are members of Teamsters Local 215 in Evansville, in an attempt to starve the workers into giving up their pensions. Local 215 had been in negotiations for a new contract with Republic since March 2. The workers and their union wanted to continue negotiations, but Republic locked them out instead.
"Republic is going to save millions over the next 20 years if they force their workers to move from a pension to a 401(k)," said Chuck Whobrey, President of Teamsters Local 215.
"Republic is betting on its workers not being able to afford to take money from their paychecks for retirement. And when that happens, Republic's profits will grow even larger."
Republic Services/Allied Waste is America's second largest solid waste and recycling company. In 2011, Republic earned $8.2 billion in revenues and declared profits of $589 million, up 15 percent per share from 2010.
On May 17 Republic Services held its annual shareholder meeting, where the Teamsters Union spoke out against Republic's estimated $23 million in benefits earmarked for the estate of Republic President and CEO Donald Slager should he die or become disabled during employment.
"This is one of the most dangerous jobs in America, and these workers put their bodies in harm's way every day to protect the public health," said Robert Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division. "It is outrageous that the Republic CEO's estate will get $23 million if he dies, but in the meantime the company wants to throw out the pension of the men and women who do the work that earns it millions."
The Teamsters represent approximately 9,000 employees at Republic Services and its subsidiaries at more than 150 facilities throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.
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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 on Twitter @Teamster.
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters