WASHINGTON, April 26, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Waste workers employed by Republic Services at McDonough, Georgia., voted overwhelmingly yesterday, five to one, to ratify a five-year agreement. The drivers, helpers and mechanics are members of Local 728 of Atlanta and have been working without a contract for almost two years. The agreement contains better wages and stronger protections and guarantees feedback for the unit of 40 workers.
Republic workers overcame an aggressive anti-union campaign by management throughout the bargaining process, said Renard Henley, residential driver for Republic Services who is also a shop steward for Local 728.
âIt took a long time and a lot of pressure to finally get the company to negotiate in good faith for a fair contract,â said Henley. âThe longer our fight lasted, the clearer it became that we all had to unite and stand up to the company. We refused to back down until a solid deal was made and ratified. We are all proud of that. we have done. accomplished in this new contract. ”
Another point of contention during the negotiations was the retroactive payment, which the company had initially agreed to before reverting earlier in the year. After outside support from local elected officials and union allies in the community, Local 728 got retroactive pay and effectively converted daily rates with an incentive structure into hourly wages.
“It’s a great victory and a great feeling. It’s also a relief. It has been a long and endless process and a very hard fight,” said Vample Huey, a residential driver who will mark 20 years at the McDonough skidding site in July. “We’re a strong group. And if we hadn’t been as strong as we have been, we wouldn’t have gotten the great deal we got. We are grateful.”
Ratification of the contract in McDonough follows the April 10 ratification vote for Local 728 members at Republic Services at Cumming, Georgia. The issues facing workers in both locations garnered support from local elected officials and union allies, who sent letters to the company expressing concern for workers’ rights and urging the company to bargain in good faith. .
âThese workers sent a powerful message to the company. The results speak for themselves. We left the company with no choice but to listen and negotiate a deal these workers have long deserved. “, did he declare. Chuck stiles, director of the solid waste and recycling division of the Teamsters. âI would also like to thank our friends, elected officials and allies in the community for helping to win these workers a fair contract. I especially want to thank the Atlanta-North Georgia Labor Council for all of their help with outreach and for their continued support in achieving justice for workers in the waste industry. ”
Stiles noted that the contract victory also follows a legal victory for McDonough workers earlier in the year. At February 27, Local 728 reached a settlement in federal court against the McDonough Town for obstructing the distribution of union materials during the 2019 workers’ strike at Republic Services. The settlement sets a precedent for the city and will allow workers to have their voices heard while expanding First Amendment rights.
âWe have stepped up our fight on all fronts,â Stiles said. âNo matter what Republic Services tried to throw us, our members just got stronger. I want to thank the amazing team at Local 728 and the Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling division for their hard work, and I want to applaud this amazing group of workers for never backing down and always being strong. ”
The Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling division represents more than 7,000 Republic Services employees across the country.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million working men and women across United States, Canada and Porto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org or more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like us” on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
Contact: Kara deniz, (202) 497-6610
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters