300 California Teamsters Choose To Honor Primary Picket Line
LONG BEACH, Calif., June 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sanitation workers who have been locked out of their jobs by Republic Services/Allied Waste (NYSE: RSG) in Evansville, Ind. extended their picket line to a Republic hauling yard and transfer station in Long Beach, 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.
About 300 workers who work at Republic's Long Beach facilities, and who are members of Teamsters Local Union 396, chose to support their locked-out brothers and sisters by voluntarily honoring the picket line 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 force the workers into giving up their pensions. Local 215 had been in negotiations for a new contract with Republic since March 2.
"Republic is trying to starve these workers into agreeing to give up their pension plan and put their families' futures at risk. While the company has guaranteed $23 million for its CEO's family should he die or be injured on the job, local workers are being treated like trash," said Chuck Whobrey, President of Teamsters Local 215.
"These workers perform one of the most dangerous jobs in the country to protect our community's health day in and day out. They don't get much recognition, but they deserve a secure retirement," said Robert Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division.
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.
"We have been trying to negotiate with Republic but they have refused. We have presented different pension options, but it appears that the company is set on stealing its workers' pension while financing its CEO's $23 million death benefit," Whobrey said.
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.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/RepublicServicesTeamsters and follow us on Twitter at @repubteamsters.
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 @Teamsters.
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters