Facing Community, Teamster Opposition, Florida County Decides Against
Privatizing Its Public Landfill
(WASHINGTON) – The Teamsters Union is lauding the Putnam County (Fla.) Board of Commissioners today on its decision to reject Republic Services’ [NYSE: RSG] bid to buy the Putnam County landfill.
The Putnam County Board considered privatizing the local landfill, but ultimately voted Tuesday night not to accept Republic’s offer.
“Given our extensive experience with Republic Services, we sent the Putnam County Commissioners information about the company to assist them in their decision, including our report, “Republic Services Toxic Investments,” said Robert Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division. “Republic’s abhorrent treatment of communities across the U.S. should give any municipality pause when considering entering into a relationship with this company.”
At Republic’s landfills in Ohio, Missouri, California, South Carolina and other states, communities have been exposed to landfill fires, years of noxious odors and environmental violations for which Republic has been fined and sued for millions of dollars. Republic has locked out its workers and forced strikes that have led to major trash pickup disruptions. In San Angelo, Texas, Republic is being audited for charging “environmental recovery fees” that were not authorized by the city’s contract. And in Polk County, Fla., Republic recently paid $2 million in settlements after overcharging the county for six years.
“We informed concerned business owners and residents of other communities’ experiences with Republic,” said Chuck Stiles, Assistant Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division. “We kept them updated on the most recent developments in Missouri, where Republic owns a landfill that is on fire next to buried radioactive nuclear wastes, and where the state attorney general is suing Republic for its environmental violations at the landfill.”
In Missouri, the West Lake Superfund landfill contains 8,700 tons of World War II-era radioactive waste, and there is an active underground fire growing closer to the nuclear wastes. Last month, Republic Services announced a preliminary settlement of more than $6.8 million to settle a 2013 federal class-action lawsuit filed by residents enduring foul odors from the landfill. Another lawsuit was recently filed alleging that the radiation has spread to nearby properties.
Republic Services/Allied Waste is America’s second largest solid waste and recycling company. Its total revenues were $8.4 billion in 2013, with profits of more than $589 million.
Republic’s largest shareholder is Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, who owns nearly 25 percent of the company’s shares through Cascade Investment LLC – about $3 billion worth. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also owns 1.35 million shares of Republic stock. Michael Larson, chief investment officer at Cascade Investment and investment manager for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has been a Republic Services board director since 2009.
The Teamsters represent approximately 9,000 employees at Republic Services and its subsidiaries at more than 150 facilities throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.
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Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @TeamsterPower.