Thursday, November 29, 2012

Memphis leaders to Republic: 'You're unconscionable'

Rev. Mary Edwards, Greenleaf C.M.E. Church; Dr. Elena Delavega, Asst. Professor of Social Work at the University of Memphis; Rev. Herbert Lester, Asbury United Methodist Church; and Justin Sledge, philosophy graduate student at the University of Memphis; sanitation worker Robert Walker.

Today a delegation of workers' rights leaders delivered an open letter to the general manager of Republic Services/Allied Waste in Memphis. The message: Your attacks on sanitation workers are unconscionable.

Specifically, the letter said:
We believe it is unconscionable to risk the workers’ livelihood in old age. We believe it is unconscionable to expose the workers to untold dangers. And we believe it is unconscionable to neglect the needs and the rights of the workers who perform such an important and valuable service to our Memphis community.
The delegation, along with other clergy and community leaders, attended a workers' rights board hearing earlier this month at the Gift of Life Ministries. There, sanitation workers from Republic/Allied Waste testified about Republic’s abuse of workers and Memphis communities.

Republic is trying to take away workers' pensions as part of contract negotiations with Teamsters Local 984. Last month, it flew out-of-town replacement workers into Memphis in an attempt to bully its workers.

Said Brother Walker:
We put our lives on the line every day to protect the public health, and we deserve dignity and respect. Instead, the company is threatening lockouts and trying to intimidate us.
Memphis isn't the only place where Republic abuses its own employees. In May, the company locked out 80 workers in Evansville, Ind., for six weeks because the workers refused to give up their pensions. The company’s out-of-town replacement drivers damaged people’s homes, cars and even power lines. In March, Republic/Allied walked away from a ratified contract with Teamsters Local 991 in Mobile, Ala. Members were forced to strike and finally secured a contract.

Republic is a rich company that can afford to keep its promises to its employees. Last year it made $589 million on revenues of more than $8.2 billion.

Find out more about the company's dangerous and immoral behavior at a new website: There's a video well worth watching.