Monday, March 18, 2013

Teamster solidarity shuts down Waste Mgmt in CA

Photo by the California Labor Fed.
More than 200 Waste Management workers belonging to the ILWU successfully shut down three California facilities Friday morning because Teamsters and Machinists honored picket lines.

Teamsters refused to drive the company's trucks that collect trash and recycling each morning from residential and industrial customers. Members of the Machinists Union refused to report for maintenance and repair jobs during the strike.

Frying Pan News reports,
ILWU members organized their picket lines beginning at 3 a.m. outside the company’s headquarters in Oakland, a recycling facility in San Leandro and the massive regional landfill in Livermore/Altamont. The job action was sparked by the company’s blatant law-breaking against employees, including retaliation that targeted immigrant workers. 
In the days leading up to the strike, workers filed formal charges against Waste Management with the National Labor Relations Board that include:
• Threatening and intimidating employees;
• Implementing workplace policies without bargaining with the Union;
• Mistreating immigrant workers.
One particularly nasty episode involved Waste Management’s improper and illegal use of the federal “E-Verify” system to retaliate against immigrant recycling workers who were organizing for their rights on the job. Workers and community supporters have made several appearances at the Oakland City Council to protest Waste Management’s abusive behavior.
Fred Pecker, secretary-treasurer of ILWU Local 6, said:
America won’t work if big companies like Waste Management can break the law with impunity and violate workers’ rights. All workers deserve respect on the job and the right to be free from illegal threats.
Waste Management locked out 500 Teamsters from Local 70 in 2007 for a month. With the support of the Alameda Labor Council and the city's leadership, the Teamsters and the company went to federal mediation. Ultimately, a contract was ratified.

Talks with Waste Management and the ILWU are expected to continue.