Friday, June 15, 2012

Waste Management hires scabs, prepares to lock out Teamsters

Waste Management would rather spend money on scabs and security than bargain fairly with its own employees in King County, Wash.

Teamsters Local 117 tells us talks broke down between recycle drivers and the company, which refused to bargain in good faith. A mediator ended the talks after the company ignored the Teamsters' proposal.

Meanwhile, Waste Management flew in out-of state strikebreakers to prepare for a lockout. It has also hired scabs from Huffmaster, a company that specializes in lockouts and strikes.

Tracey Thompson, secretary-treasurer of Local 117, said yesterday:
Waste Management did not come prepared to bargain today. We came back to the table to avoid a public health crisis but it’s clear that Waste Management wants to provoke a labor dispute. 
Waste Management is spending thousands of dollars on wages, plane tickets, rental cars, and hotel rooms for out-of-state strike breakers and security guards. That’s money that could be used to match proposals made by its major competitors.
Local 117 says if the company locks out its workers, King County’s landfill system will be disrupted when trucks begin stacking up at county transfer stations.

A lockout would also put replacement drivers on the road who don't know the area.  In 2007, when Waste Management locked out 500 sanitation workers in Oakland, Calif., garbage piled up in East Bay communities for nearly a month.

Said Thompson,
We want to keep bargaining to avoid a labor dispute. This community should not have to suffer because a $13 billion dollar company like Waste Management wants to turn a higher profit.
Read more about the dispute here.