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.