After big actions, Allied Waste Services members ratify contract

After months of negotiations and nation-wide actions against the Republic Services, Teamsters Local 350 members at Allied Waste Services of Santa Clara voted unanimously to ratify a new five-year contract. Among the various improvements were substantial increases in wages and pension contributions, full maintenance of benefits, and the protection of adequate staffing levels that Republic Services sought to eliminate.

The group of 87 drivers and mechanics work out of the Newby Island Resource Recovery Park, which encompasses both the landfill, recyclery, and hauling operations. Local 350 also represents the clerical and material recovery units at this location, which is one of the largest landfills in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bargaining began in June and, after several meetings, there was virtually no movement on the demand that wage compensation match the area standard. Across the nation, Teamsters in the Solid Waste and Recycling Division were actively taking actions to combat the unwillingness of Republic Services to compensate its workers fairly. When Teamsters Local 25 in Boston, MA extended pickets, Teamsters Local 350 members, along with Teamsters Local 315 and Teamsters Local 70, who dump at this location, held the line. Ultimately, this group of members voted unanimously to authorize a strike on September 21.

“Negotiating with Republic Services is not an easy task. The strength comes from the membership who work at this facility. When Teamsters Local 25 extended pickets into Newby Island for 12 hours, all members at this facility and all of our Teamster-represented units upheld their union and labor principals and chose not to cross the picket line. This gave our members the courage to give a unanimous vote for strike sanctions if they did not get what they wanted,” said President and Lead Negotiator Sergio Arrañaga. “Our members knew that a shutdown would have a significant impact at Republic’s facility at Newby Island. This was a critical factor in negotiating a robust economic package and language protection for our members.”

An integral part of the negotiating process was the work of members Javier Barragan, Mike Mulder, and Conrad Lacanale who, together, have over 80 years of experience in the solid waste industry.

“When this unit unanimously authorized strike sanctions, I wanted Republic Services to hear the message loud and clear,” said Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer John Bouchard.

“Our members were not going to accept anything less than the area standard and were prepared to do what was necessary. Clearly, Republic Services heard the message, as the members gave unanimous support for the wage and pension package we negotiated,” he added.