Taxpaying residents and businesses deserve reliable services. Despite revenues of $8.2 billion last year, Republic/Allied Waste is using lockouts to threaten waste collection across the country in an effort to destroy the modest pensions of more than 1,000 sanitation workers.
Sanitation workers put their lives on the line every day to protect the public health. Sanitation work ranks as the fourth most dangerous job in the United States. A sanitation worker is more likely to be killed on the job than a firefighter or police officer.
For six weeks, Republic put the Evansville community at risk. Republic’s out-of-state replacement drivers navigated unfamiliar roads in 20-ton trucks. They smashed into one Evansville-area resident’s house and crushed another’s vehicle.
After being locked out without pay for a month, the Indiana workers took their picket lines to other cities across the U.S. Fellow Republic/Allied Waste workers refused to cross picket lines in:
Long Beach, CA
The workers were forced to strike to protest the company’s illegal behavior, and took their picket lines to other cities across the country. Fellow Republic/Allied Waste workers refused to cross picket lines in:
Angry customers and public officials across America are questioning Republic executives’ strategy of creating public safety and health crises in order to bully its employees. It is baffling why Republic/Allied Waste is risking community safety and its reputation. Republic is America’s second largest solid waste and recycling company. In 2011, Republic declared profits of $589 million, up 15 percent per share from 2010. Despite shareholder protests, Republic – and its largest shareholder, Bill Gates - recently gave its CEO a $23 million death benefit. Yet Republic is willing to trash the retirement and the family security of its front-line workers. Community leaders, sanitation workers and their unions will not give in. Workers and communities are showing in city after city that they're sick of being held hostage by big trash companies like Republic.
October 24-25, 2012: More than 1,000 sanitation workers in 19 cities protested Republic/Allied with “Just Practicing” picketing actions. The workers protested Republic’s attempts to strip workers of their pensions in many locations, and the company’s tactics of intimidation across the country. These pickets were intended as a wake-up call to Republic/Allied executives and local elected officials that the company's efforts to bully workers through locking them out of their jobs could instigate sympathy pickets at Republic facilities across America.
In 1968, sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee carried picket signs with four simple but powerful words: "I AM A MAN." These workers, African-American men in a segregated city, held some of the most grueling, under-appreciated but essential jobs in our society-collecting their fellow citizens' garbage. On February 12, more than 1,300 Memphis sanitation workers went on strike for fair wages, reliable work schedules, safe working conditions, recognition of their union, and, most important of all, recognition of their human dignity.
On April 4, while visiting Memphis in support of the strike, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. On the eve of his death, he gave his famous "I have been to the mountaintop" speech, in which he declared: "I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land." On April 16, the city government of Memphis agreed to recognize the union and to begin to improve the sanitation workers' wages, benefits and working conditions.
Now, more than four decades later, the same rights for which the sanitation workers struck in 1968 and for which Dr. King gave his life are under attack again in Memphis, Evansville, Mobile, Detroit, Flint, and many other communities across the country. More information about Republic Services/Allied Waste is available in this fact sheet.