Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Strike spreads to 3 more sites at Bill Gates' sanitation co. as resistance grows to worker abuse

Local 377's picket line extension in at the hauling
yard in Erie, Mich., today. Nothing seems to be moving...
Hundreds more Teamsters honored picket lines today at Republic/Allied Waste sites. Lines went up in Memphis as workers went on strike. They went up in Erie, Mich., to support striking workers from Local 377 in Youngstown. And hundreds continued to honor picket lines that stayed extended to the Ohio cities of Columbus, Canton, Elyria, Youngstown and Cleveland.

In McDonough, Ga., the strike against Republic entered its second day with families joining the picket line -- and no one crossing.

Bill Gates, Republic's biggest shareholder, doesn't seem concerned about the growing resistance to the company's worker abuse and environmental violationsOver the past year, Republic/Allied Waste has forced lockouts and strikes that disrupted trash collection for hundreds of thousands of people across the United States. Republic earned profits of more than $572 million in 2012. 

The trash tycoon, however, is busy trying to get taxpayers to pay for surveillance cameras on schoolteachers. Meanwhile, thousands of Teamsters are refusing or have refused to cross picket lines in support of Local 377's 2-1/2 week strike in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee and California. 
Brother Mondrez Flemister and his daughters
on the line in McDonough, Ga. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the McDonough, Ga., strike:
The strikers are members of the Teamsters Local Union 728 in Atlanta. Union representative Huey Vample, a Republic driver, said union members are being treated more harshly than non-union members when it comes to disciplinary actions by the company and pay. He said workers are not being paid for extra hours they put in to help co-workers.
Vample, who has been with the company for 12 years, said workers in McDonough will remain on a picket line – and away from their residential and commercial routes garbage routes - until demands for fairer treatment are met. 
“We will be picketing as long as it takes,” he said.
Republic workers in McDonough will be interviewed LIVE today at 4:30pm EST on WRFG radio in Atlanta. You can stream the show LIVE online at www.wrfg.org or tune in at 89.3FM

Members of Teamsters Local 984 on the strike line this morning.
In Memphis this morning, 175 members of Teamsters Local 984 began an unfair labor strike against Republic. They are demanding fair treatment and respect. According to the Teamsters press statement,
Republic broke federal law when it suddenly started cutting the paychecks of commercial and recycling drivers. Some workers began losing up to $200 per week in their paychecks when the company made this unilateral change. The company also broke federal law when it began spying on its workers and their union representatives. 
"I'm on strike because this giant waste corporation thinks it can break the law and starve us into submission,” said Cornelius Finley, a residential driver in Memphis. “Republic has been cheating us out of pay for the work that we do, and we have had enough. We support the workers who are on strike in Ohio and in Georgia, and now there are fellow sanitation workers in Memphis and across the country who are supporting us." 
“I’ll be out here as long as it takes,” Finley said. 
The work stoppage is expected to affect trash and recycling services in Shelby County and Fayette County, Tenn.; Eastern Arkansas; and Northern Mississippi.
Brother Robert Gibson noted on the Republic Services Facebook page that AFSCME workers are honoring the Memphis picket line as well:
Hell yea, big shout out to the local afscme drivers for respecting our picket line at the south Shelby landfill in Memphis.
For frequent updates on the Republic strike, check out the Republic Services Teamsters Facebook page.