Allied Waste Workers Hit the Picket Line

Sanitation workers at Republic Services/Allied Waste in Youngstown walked off the job at midnight Thursday because of what they said are unfair labor practices.

The 110 members of Teamsters Local 377 went on strike after the union and Allied officials failed to reach a contract agreement. The group of sanitation workers has been working without a contract since October.

Truck drivers and other Republic-Allied workers are honoring the sanitation workers’ picket line and are refusing to work. A local manager said some trucks were out Thursday picking up trash, but pickup at other locations could be delayed by one day.

“We learned this morning that members of Teamsters Local 377 decided to go on strike. We are learning more details and want to assure our customers that we are committed to meeting their waste and recycling needs in a timely manner and appreciate their patience as we move forward,” general manager of Republic Services/Allied Waste Doug Dunn said in an emailed statement.

Workers are picketing at the Allied Waste offices at 3870 Hendricks Road in Austintown as well as the Allied location at 8100 South Stateline Road in Lowellville, and the Carbon Limestone landfill on Thacher Lane in Youngstown.

Other Teamsters unions are striking in Evansville, Ind., and Urbana, Ill., in support of the Youngstown union.

Teamsters Local 377 secretary-treasurer Sam Cook said other Allied Workers in Pennsylvania went on strike too. Cook said their dispute is not about wages.

“We haven’t really got to wages in the contract negotiations,” Cook said. “It’s unfair labor practice.”

Republic Services-Allied Waste officials said earlier this month that their employees’ Central States Pension fund will be insolvent in 10 years. They tried to encourage employees to take a lump sum payment and re-invest in a 401(k).

The national Teamsters in a statement on their website said workers went on strike because Republic changed working conditions without bargaining with the union. They also said the company refused to provide “pertinent information related to bargaining.”

The Teamsters claim Republic/Allied Waste’s total revenues topped $8.2 billion in 2011 and made $589 million in profit. The statement said billionaire Bill Gates is the primary stockholder in the company, with a $2.4 billion stake, about 25 percent of the company’s total worth.

“For more than a year now, Republic has been trying to squeeze every last cent out of their workers by cheating them out of pay, ignoring health and safety protections, raising their health care costs, and cutting their retirement benefits,” said Ken Hall, Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer, in a statement.

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