Sanitation Workers Ask Bill Gates, Primary Owner of Republic/Allied Waste, to Stop Destroying Their Retirement Security
(Atlanta, GA) – On Nov. 21, members of the Teamsters Union and Atlanta Jobs with Justice protested Bill Gates at Georgia Tech, where the billionaire addressed more than one thousand students and faculty. The protesters called attention to Republic Services’ environmental destruction and mistreatment of employees. Gates is the primary owner of Republic Services, the second largest waste company in North America.
Two protesters displaying a banner that read “Republic/Allied: Don’t Trash Our Communities” were forcefully removed from the event after attempting to ask Gates why he refuses to stop his attack on workers and their retirement security. Republic/Allied Waste workers in Atlanta are represented by Teamsters Local 728 in Atlanta, Ga.
“Sanitation work is the fourth most dangerous job in the country. These workers literally put their lives on the line every day to protect the public health,” said Eric Robertson, Business Agent for Local 728. “It’s outrageous that Bill Gates says he supports public health programs, and yet he’s the primary owner of a company that locks out its workers and creates public health crises in American communities.”
Other protestors at the event distributed “Billy Bucks” that contained the contained the following slogans:
- “Starvation wages? Melinda and I have a charity for that!”
- “I gave the CEO a $23 million death benefit; the workers get to die.”
- “Your Trash is Green to Me”
- “Environmental destruction? We have a charity for that, too!”
Republic/Allied Waste earns exorbitant profits through operating greenhouse gas-emitting landfills, is profiting from fracking operations on its landfill property in Ohio, and operates a Missouri landfill that is currently on fire next to a nuclear waste site.
In May, the company approved a $23 million death/disability benefit for its CEO Don Slager while 80 of its employees in Evansville, Ind. were locked out because they refused to let the company destroy their retirement.
Republic/Allied Waste’s total revenues were more than $8.2 billion in 2011. It earned $149.2 million in 2nd quarter net profits in 2012, up from $46.5 million in the same period of 2011, an increase of more than 220 percent. This resulted in a 7 percent quarterly dividend for shareholders such as Bill Gates. As the primary owner of the company, Gates owns more than $2.4 billion worth of stock, or about 25 percent of the total worth of the company.