Sanitation Worker Lockouts As Disastrous as NFL Referee Lockouts, Workers Say
(Miami/Chicago) – On Sunday, Nov. 11, Teamster members protested Republic Services/Allied Waste at two NFL games in Miami and Chicago. The Teamsters protested Republic’s attempts to strip workers of their pensions in many locations, and the company’s tactics of intimidation across the country.
The workers distributed handbills at Sun Life Stadium and Soldier Field that read, “Republic Wants Miami to Lose Good Jobs” and “Republic Wants Chicago to Lose Good Jobs,” respectively. An airplane banner flew over Sun Life stadium that read “Republic Wants Miami To Lose.” Republic Services does waste collection at Sun Life and Soldier Field stadiums.
In May, Republic/Allied Waste locked out 80 members of Teamsters Local 215 in Evansville, Ind. for six weeks when the workers refused to accept the destruction of their pension. Out-of-state replacement drivers damaged people’s homes, vehicles and even power lines during the lockout.
“We see this happening all over the country. Republic holds the community hostage by threatening a public health and safety crisis to try to get workers to accept substandard conditions,” said Robert Morales, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division. “This 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 and they deserve dignity and respect.”
This type of behavior isn’t new for Republic. In March, the company walked away from a ratified contract with Teamsters Local 991 in Mobile, Ala. Local 991 members were forced to strike to protest the company’s illegal behavior and finally secure a contract.
Morales continued, “Just as the NFL lockout of referees and use of replacement referees was a disaster for the NFL, it’s a disaster for the community when Republic locks out sanitation workers and uses replacement drivers.”
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 over 220 percent. This resulted in a 7 percent quarterly dividend for shareholders such as Bill Gates. As the largest owner of the company, Gates owns approximately $2.15 billion worth of stock, or about 24 percent of the total worth of the company. In May, the same month it locked out workers in Evansville, the company approved a death and disability benefit for its CEO valued at over $23 million.