On Saturday, December 11, 2021, more than 400 sanitation workers employed by Republic Services facilities in Anaheim and Huntington Beach -- and members of Teamsters Local 396 – will continue their strike that began on December 9th in response to the company’s unfair labor practices committed during bargaining for a fair contract, including making unilateral changes without bargaining and threatening reprisals against employees who participate in union activity. Teamsters Local 396’s contracts with Republic Services expired on September 30, 2021, and members voted to authorize a strike on November 23, 2021
These frontline sanitation workers -- overwhelmingly Black and Latino employees who worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their communities safe and clean -- have made it clear from the start that their strong preference was to reach a fair agreement with Republic Services instead of going on strike. However, instead of providing these workers with fair pay and a fair contract that addresses their concerns, including excessive working hours and constant harassment on the job, Republic Services has responded to the employees’ union activities with unfair labor practices, leaving them with no choice but to strike.
Teamsters Local 396 members proudly serve Orange County cities such as Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, and major tourist attractions, including Disneyland. The strike has disrupted waste hauling during the holiday season, impacting both residential communities and businesses.
In 2020, Republic Services’ CEO’s total compensation totaled over $12 million. The CEO’s pay was 154 times the pay of an average worker. Rather than investing profits into higher wages or new trucks, Republic Services has spent more than $736 million buying back its stock. Meanwhile, waste and recycling collection is the fifth most dangerous job in America, composed primarily of immigrants and people of color.
Republic Services’ refusal to agree to fair terms with its workers has resulted in nationwide contract expirations, including for members with Teamsters Local 350 in San Jose, CA, and Local 542 in Chula Vista, CA, whose contracts just expired on November 30, 2021. Additionally, last month, members of Teamsters Local 270 in New Orleans held a three-day strike after their contract expired on May 25, 2021.