SAN JOSE, Calif. and FREMONT, Calif., Sept. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanitation workers on strike at Republic Services [NYSE: RSG] in Marshfield, Mass., extended their picket line to California early yesterday morning. Republic Services/Allied Waste workers at the company's Newby Island Resource Recovery Park in San Jose—including recycling, organics, mechanics, collection and administrative employees—exercised their right to refuse to cross the picket line on Thursday morning.
Then early this morning, the striking sanitation workers from Massachusetts extended their picket line to a Republic yard in Fremont, Calif., that services residential and commercial customers in Fremont, Newark and Union City. The drivers and mechanics there are refusing to cross the line. In addition, the picket line was extended to a Republic Services yard in Fall River, Mass., this morning, where Republic employees there refused to cross the picket line.
The striking workers, members of Teamsters Local 25 in Boston, began their strike on August 29, 2019, to protest Republic's refusal during contract negotiations to offer comparable wages, health care and retirement security that workers at other area Republic facilities receive.
The Fremont employees who are honoring the picket line of their striking colleagues today are members of Teamsters Local 70 in Fremont. These workers have the right under federal labor law to refuse to cross picket lines in support of striking workers at other Republic Services locations.
The Newby Island employees who honored the picket lines of their striking colleagues yesterday are members of Teamsters Local 350 in Daly City. In addition, transfer drivers who are members of Teamsters Local 315 who haul to Newby Island from Richmond and Martinez, Calif., refused to cross the picket line. Transfer and collection drivers from other locations who are members of Teamsters Local 350 honored the line as well.
"Sanitation and recycling work is the fifth most dangerous job in the country, yet Republic has chosen to nickel and dime its employees at every turn," said Chuck Stiles, Assistant Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division. "At a time when it can't hire enough drivers to service accounts, Republic is spending hundreds of millions on stock buybacks and dividends, rather than investing in their workforce and the equipment they operate."
Republic Services spent $700 million on stock repurchases in 2018. After receiving approximately $190 million in tax savings through the Republican-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the company dramatically expanded its buyback program, spending $644 million on buybacks in 2017 compared to $400 million the previous year. Over the past five years, the publicly-traded company spent $2.5 billion on stock buybacks.
"While front-line employees do the difficult, dangerous work that earns Republic billions, the company is refusing to negotiate fair contracts that provide affordable, quality health care, family-supporting wages and a dignified retirement," said Sean O'Brien, Teamsters International Vice President and President of Teamsters Local 25. "The working class of this country deserves a fair return on their work, and Teamsters everywhere understand that an injury to one is an injury to all. We will stand together in solidarity until Republic changes its behavior."
"This group of Republic drivers and helpers, and their local union, have our full support," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "This is about corporate greed run amok, and we back these workers in their struggle against it."
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 and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RepublicServicesTeamsters.
Kara Deniz, (202) 624-6911
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters