Friday, June 1, 2012

CA Teamsters honor IN picket line extension

California Teamsters honor the picket line extension from Indiana. Solidarity!

We'll say it again: Teamster solidarity is a beautiful thing.

Today locked-out Republic Waste workers from Evansville, Ind., traveled to a Republic transfer station in Richmond, Calif., and extended their picket line. California Teamsters from Local 315 refused to cross the lines set up by Local 215 Teamsters to protest their lockout.

The dispute began on May 8, when Republic locked out 80 of our brothers in an attempt to starve them 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.

Chuck Whobrey, Local 215 president, excoriated the company:
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). These are not high-salaried workers, so many of them won’t be able to afford to take money from their paychecks for retirement. And when that happens, Republic’s profits will grow even larger.
Sanitation work is extremely dangerous, but it's Republic's CEO and president who gets $23 million in benefits if he dies or becomes disabled. The Teamsters Union spoke out against a payout to the CEO at Republic's shareholder meeting on May 17. Whobrey also lashed out:
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. It is offensive that the Republic CEO’s estate will get $23 million if he dies, and in the meantime the company wants to throw out the pension of the men and women who do the work that earns it millions. 
Robert Morales, Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries division director, sees a pattern:
In the last year, Republic has increasingly tried to intimidate, harass and bully its employees. Back in March, Republic Services workers in Alabama were forced to strike in response to Republic’s labor law violations, which included backing out of a negotiated contract with Teamsters Local 991 in Mobile.
Stand strong, brothers!