Memphis-Area Sanitation Workers Went On Strike After Having Pay Withheld, Being Deprived of Time to Don Safety Gear, and Other Issues
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sanitation workers at Republic Services/Allied Waste in the greater Memphis area returned to work today. Nearly 200 drivers and helpers had been on strike since Monday, Jan. 28, in protest of numerous unfair labor practices by Republic/Allied [NYSE: RSG].
The unfair labor practices by Republic/Allied Waste include withholding contractually-obligated safety bonuses, disallowing workers from putting safety gear on at work, and ending the practice of allowing workers to bid on family vacation time. The workers are also working under an expired contract, and there are several issues the company has so far failed to address in negotiations.The striking sanitation workers are represented by Teamsters Local 984 in Memphis. At a news conference yesterday, Aaron Belk, a representative of Local 984, discussed what caused the strike and what must happen next. "Our members are returning to work because our community is counting on them. Republic Services is based in Arizona, but we live here," Belk said. "The company better start respecting this community, and it can start by respecting the men and women who work here. This short strike was a wake-up call to Republic that it must stop breaking the law and start treating its workers and our communities fairly." Corey Hayes, a container delivery driver at Republic Services, addressed the press conference. "This is dangerous work," Hayes said. "We have an important duty to protect everyone from the dangerous things we come across every day. We take this responsibility very seriously and we receive bonuses under our contract for being safe. After breaking the law in other ways many times over the past few months, last week this company chose to cheat us out of our safety bonuses. We decided we'd had enough of their bullying, so we went on strike."