It might have taken ten months, with the union soliciting support from local city officials while simultaneously filing charges of unfair labor practices through the Labor Board, but Local 315 business reps and members who work at Republic Services in Richmond finally have a contract.
The agreement includes strengthening seniority provisions and adding a bi-monthly scheduled arbitrator within the grievance language who will hear and protect the members’ rights for years to come.
Leading up to these negotiations, the Local was at a stalemate in the process of organizing and negotiating five new classifications. These were Operations and Scale House Clerks at the recycling center, and Dispatcher, Operations Clerk, and Route Auditor within the Garbage Division. Concluding the 2022 negotiations, Local 315 was able to secure full Health and Welfare, TBT Plan 1, and substantial Western Conference of Teamster Pension contributions for all newly-added positions. “This alone was a gigantic step and financial gain for the members,” said Business Rep Mike Hughes.
“The Teamsters have always stood for and fought for unity, equal rights, and equal pay. Understanding that our strength comes from solidarity, this could be considered the most historic contract this location has ever been a part of,” Hughes added. “By the end of this contract cycle, all the drivers from the divided Garbage and Recycle contracts will be at equal pay. This sets the members up for united negotiations so that the company will never be able to divide them again.”
One notable change is that, for the first time, pension contributions will extend up to 200 additional hours past the yearly cap of 2080 hours. “This means that pension contributions will be paid on overtime hours as well as regular hours,” Hughes added. “This could never have been possible without the unity of our membership, the negotiating committee, and our stewards. I believe in the end, the majority of our members came together and voted to make this union stronger as a whole—for themselves and for workers in the future. I’m just proud to have been a part of the fight.”