Friday, August 23, 2013

Georgia sanitation workers set to join Local 728

Their effort to join the Teamsters is on the cusp of being approved.
Months of rallies look to have paid off for DeKalb County sanitation workers.
Some 450 Atlanta-area sanitation workers are on the brink of joining the Teamsters. The DeKalb County Commission is slated to take a final vote next month to officially recognize the workers as members of Local 728 after years of attempting to organize.

The looming decision to change local law so the union can be recognized comes after workers attended many county commission meetings in recent months to urge DeKalb officials to allow them to join the Teamsters. Ben Speight, an organizer with Local 728, said the move has already paid benefits as the country recently approved a three percent raise for the workers.
Dejuan McDaniel, a 13-year department employee who drives a front-end loader and is a member of the organizing committee, said 80 percent of employees backed the move to organize. He said the strong support for the union comes from the desire to have a say in the workplace:
We have been without a serious voice for so long. We had safety issues that have been unheard. We had pay issues, mistreatment of employees. It was long overdue.
Fellow front-end loader driver and organizing committee member Charleen Anthony, who’s been with the department for five years, said the union will improve the workplace:
We really need the representation for when the guys go in to talk to their supervisors. If we had representation of the union, it would be a much better organization.
McDaniel said he was proud that he and his fellow workers are part of a long movement of sanitation workers fighting for better wages and conditions going back to when Memphis workers marched with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the eve of his assassination in April 1968:
It is a continuing saga. I look at it like we are picking up [the] torch.
We look forward to officially welcoming our new brothers and sisters to the Teamster family!