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Teamsters, Allied Waste remain at an impasse



Published: Thu, November 1, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

For now, negotiations and service to continue

By Burton Speakman

bspeakman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Contract negotiations between Teamsters Local 377 in Youngstown and Republic Services/ Allied Waste have reached an impasse as the contract ended at 12:01 a.m. today, but both sides plan to continue working toward a deal and no disruption of service is expected.

The situation reached a stalemate after the union rejected a proposal to extend the contract. The rejection means the Teamsters are free to strike at any time. Allied Waste serves 8,900 customers in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

The expectation is that the union will not strike and “good faith” negotiations will continue, said Douglas Dunn, general manager for Allied Waste Services in Youngstown.

The company wants Teamsters to accept a change shifting workers from a pension fund that is part of the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund, to a 401(k) program in which the company would match employee contribution dollar for dollar for the first 3 percent of the salary, and 50 cents for every dollar for an additional 2 percent contribution from the employee, Dunn said.

This would be a reduction in the company’s pension contribution, both parties acknowledge.

The company also is offering lump-sum payments for employees to start the 401(k) account of up to $50,000 each. “The pension fund is going to be insolvent by 2023,” Dunn said.

The expectation is that when the fund is insolvent, the pension insurance program will pay only about 30 cents on the dollar, Dunn said. There is no advantage to the employees for the company to continue to fund the pension.

Allied pays more than $450 per month per employee into the pension plan. The 401(k) would cost the company less per month, although the benefit would be offset at least initially by lump-sum payments, he said.

“There is no advantage to our employees to continue to fund the pension program,” Dunn said.

There are no plans for the Teamsters to strike, said Ralph Sam Cook, secretary/treasurer of Teamsters Local 377.

“We weren’t even through the noneconomic issues when last week they brought us this economic proposal,” Cook said. “There is no company that can guarantee what’s going to happen with the pension program or that can guarantee a 401(k) will be there for us.”

As far as the union is concerned negotiations will continue, he said. The last time a contract was negotiated with Allied there were 16 months when the Teamsters worked without a contract.

Cook said Republic chose to lock out employees in Evansville, Ind., when negotiations weren’t going well. At this point Teamsters do not anticipate being locked out.

“If they lock us out they’ll bring in blue crews from all over the country to run the routes. These guys won’t know the roads or the weather conditions and they make things more dangerous for the public,” he said.

In addition to the reduction in pension contribution the company also was asking the Teamsters to accept increased health care costs.

Dunn said Republic and the Teamsters have worked well together in the past and he expects that relationship will continue.

The company has developed a contingency plan to continue to serve customers if the Teamsters strike, he said.

The Teamsters in Youngstown were part of a national group Oct. 25 that picketed at various Republic Services/Allied Waste sites around the country.

“We see this happening all over the country. Republic holds the community hostage by threatening a public health and safety crisis to try and get workers to accept substandard conditions,” said Robert Morales, director of the Teamsters Solid Waste, Recycling and Related Industries Division. “This is the fourth-most dangerous job in the country. These workers literally put their lives on the line every day to protect the public health, and they deserve dignity and respect.”

Republic Services/Allied Waste’s drivers start at about $43,000 per year — an amount that is far higher than the average Youngstown salary of $25,902, according to a statement from the company.

These workers pick up the trash at as many as 700 homes in a night, Cook said.

“They earn their money,” he said.

The Teamsters argue that Republic Services/Allied Waste has total revenues that increased more than $8.2 billion in 2001, and the company earned $149.2 million in profits in the second quarter of 2012.


Comments

1nuganuech(46 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

These nimrods get paid $43,000 a year to back down my street at 3:30 in the morning with music blaring out of the truck and the backup siren going off. F'ing reidiculous.

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2IslandMike(676 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

WOW!! A whopping 43k a year! LOL. That comes to a whopping $576 a week after taxes to be hauling your trash at 3:30am. Looks like your really grateful for what you have. NOT!

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3ytownsteelman(618 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Isn't it interesting, the difference in maturity levels of both sides. The company rep. talks matter of factly about the solvency of the pension program, and the childish Teamster talks about "holding the community hostage".

Union rhetoric is so predictable and tiring.

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4Byzantine(7 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Let's get a few things straight, here:

1. A starting salary of $43,000 for non-educated, semi-skilled work is a phenomenal salary. Be grateful

2. The era of defined contribution pensions is OVER. They're economically unfeasible, politically untenable, and public opinion -- on which most labor disputes rest once service is interrupted -- does not favor any group (teachers or otherwise) arguing in favor of defined contribution pensions.

3. Scare tactics about public safety and "not knowing the roads" will backfire. No one believes that a trash-hauler brought in from another area won't learn how to drive in snow in a couple of weeks. He's not being asked to conduct open-heart surgery.

4. Whenever you hear about "blue crews" being brought in, the union undermines its argument. The existence of blue crews means that there is a labor pool willing to work for what market conditions suggest is a fair salary, not what a Teamster thinks is a fair salary.

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5gdog4766(1255 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

First, this company couldn't pay these wages and benefits if they weren't making a profit off these workers labor. Second no Idiot 43,000 a year to collect your trash isn't excessive. Lets see you and your suckling Romney do it. And third you idiot a company administered 401k can be bankrupted and all money lost if the company goes under. Ask that idiot delphiretiree what happens when you rely on corporate America for you well being. Moron! All these Einsteins are fighting to bring down everyone's wages but their own. Then when tax revenues fall in their communities and levies appear on the ballot they scratch their empty heads and wonder why.

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6DwightK(1179 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Allied Waste charges an exhorbinant diesel fuel surcharge on it's bills. I've gone from paying $65 every three months to $90. If they're having money troubles it's because they can't manage it very well.

It wouldn't hurt them to stop leaving the cans right side up with the lids off on rainy days either.

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7osu12987(2 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

clearly no one that has posted on here knows anything about this job. 43k is not very much considering they work in ALL weather rain, snow, heat, you name it they're in it. they have to deal with traffic, over weighted cans, needles in trash, broken glass, disease, once again you name it they deal with it. these people go to work everyday to do the 4th most dangerous job in the world to make sure our communities are clean and safe. this company in youngstown alone made 5.2 million in PROFITS in the first quarter. for the unions, they built this country and if you are against the unions why dont you ask yourself if you like a 5day work week, or overtime over 40hrs, or competitive wages because if you do. THANK A UNION MEMBER. also the drivers for allied waste are best at what they do in this country and i support 110%.

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8IslandMike(676 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

C'mon man!,

Don't you people know that all union retirees live the high life and retire to Beverly Hills? It's the corporate executives who have to 'struggle.' Those executives have it tough, I mean they're often 'let go' and then they have to survive with a six to eight figure severance package. Now I see why Bush implemented tax cuts for them. Jeez, imagine the stress of being fired and having to get bye on a mere couple million dollars! Yep, it's those overpaid trash collectors bringing home a staggering $576 a week after taxes who get out of bed at 2am five days a week that keep tearing this economy apart. How GREEDY of them to want to retire after thirty years of that!

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9tvukovich(9 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

byzantine...

why is it that working class people are more then happy to
let you know that other working class people SHOULDN'T
get a pension, or are making a lot more then they should.
but the ceo, president, vp, or any other company people
deserve it.
went you get down to it, the FIRST PLACE the cuts are to
be made are at the cost of the workers.
just look around, the only thing we have as workers are the
skills we bring to the job, and without working TOGETHER as in a UNION, you will be cut loose if you try and stand up for what is right. But when we stick together you have more power in numbers.
A lot of people will say that all the Union wants are your dues. Non-Union workers pay HIGHER DUES EVERYDAY then I have ever paid in Union Dues. It is in the way of Lower Wages and little if any Ins. So the next time you want to tear a working girl or guy down, just remember that some things roll down hill and you could be the DITCH.
Have A Wonderful Day. PROUD UNION MEMBER!

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10osu12987(2 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

@ the ones who say garbage men are uneducated and can't find a real job...my son is employed at allied waste and has a collage degree!!! If it wasn't for our garbage men what would all you lazy people that leave a disgusting mess on your curb every week do with your trash??? It's easy to give opinions when you sit on your butts behind a desk and have no clue the danger or the stress on your body of this job...our union workers are why you make what you do...if there wasn't any union to make employers competitive with wages we would all be working for minimum wages!!! As for the one who called them nimrods.....you are welcome not to sit your garbage out every week so they won't have to stop...let me know how that works out for you...

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11WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

your/you're Island. Look it up.

I know a guy that works as a "garbage man." He also has a degree and makes a good living. Works at BFI.

I know another guy that also is a "garbage man" and has a degree. He owns the company now and still collects the trash. He laughs all the way to the bank.

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12trashydriver(1 comment)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

I work for this company. It is the best company that I have worked for. The only reason why the "Blue Crew" is sent out in situations like this is so we can service our customers without a disruption of service so the union workers have a job to come back to. If it wasn't for our customers we would have no jobs and I don't think that would be the way I would want to go with this. So go ahead and have your strike and fight for what you believe in. Just remember that while you are having a strike the "Blue Crew" will be making your money while you sit at home or on the picket line saying how unfair the company is.

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13faith(200 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

$43,000 is not a great wage. Why are employers not subject to pensions any more? Why do the Tea Baggers want folks to work till they are 72 with no pension, no healthcare (some worthless voucher) and a 401K that is subject to outside forces. No more security, no more dignity, no more anything. For thousands of years men women and children were abused in deplorable working conditions. It is only in the last 70 years or so that workers gained some rights, dignity, and shame on the bloggers that think that we should go back 100 years and further to the life of working poor, slaves, no woman's rights, children s rights. Folks, If Romney get elected, that's where we are headed.

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14WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

@faith

"$43,000 is not a great wage."

Good job proving to the sane people here that the liberal union left goofs are completely insane. You think $43k is a bad wage for unskilled labor in this valley? You are NUTS. People will line up all day for this wage. There may actually be a RIOT if this position and pay existed. How many of us out here would love a chance at a job paying $43k? You are living in fantasy land. How much do you think unskilled labor jobs should pay? $43 million?

And why are you talking about "Tea Baggers?" Why do you have to bring men that prefer homosexual gratification and their practice of dipping their testicles into each other's mouths into this? Yuck. Get a grip.

You sound like "Chicken Little" with the whole "Sky Will Fall" routine. The truth is that the sky might actually fall if your boy O-bout-to-lose-a get reelected. He is the worst Pres. EVER. Good riddance before he actually kills America.

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15luvnlife96(5 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Every night the garbage truck pulls up in front of a house-it's noisy, that's to prevent people from hitting the truck & getting killed or hitting/killing the garbage man, it's for safety. These guys would love to be home in bed like you.They work in all weather. You throw away anything you want & they take it, incl. your needles, bottles, dirty diapers, tampons, maxi pads, dog crap, dirty cat litter, etc.They run the risk of injury because of your stupidity, broken glass cutting garbage bags, containers of driveway sealant exploding in their faces because you didn't dispose of it properly, your carpet rolls with nails sticking out, your improvement projects with nails, your nasty toilets, need I go on?Do you know the piles of trash that are left week after week? The heavy lifting at every house they stop in front of?$43,000/year sounds great, but these guys are on 1 man routes, & they don't get help!They drive & they throw trash with no help.They don't get an hourly wage like you think, they get paid per stop. Remember this-they show up every week to haul off your trash & they get 35 cents to pick up all your crap.They have at min. 500 houses they have to pick up.Not only do they have to be at their best to watch out for you driving down the road, they have to watch for the school buses, the mailman, the Fedex driver, the UPS driver & every other person on the road. These guys don't get overtime, they get coefficient overtime which means they get half time, they don't get time & a half they get the half.So if they average $15 per hour & they work 50 hours they get paid for $15 per hour for the first 40 hours & then they get $7.50 for each hour over 40.Also, when a holiday comes around, unlike the mail you don't receive, your trash is still picked up.There is always 5 days of trash, it may be a day late because of the holiday but it's still picked up.These drivers work min. of 10 hrs/day most work around 11 or 12, they don't get to work in buildings with heat or air.All drivers are required to have a current CDL & be drug free. If you think "any" one can do this job, try it, most new hires don't last a week because the job is too hard, it's too heavy, it's too cold, the roads are too bad, they can't pass the drug test, etc.It looks real easy from your living room window. that time of day Monday - Friday about mid-day where you get to clock out & have yourself a nice lunch?Well these guys don't get a lunch break, they eat on the run or pull over & scarf down their food so they can get moving or keep moving to get their work done.There is no "I"ll get that trash tomorrow because I didn't have time to get to it today" they work until their route is done.

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16luvnlife96(5 comments)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Another thing, as for the pension, the last I heard even Nostradamus was wrong on his predictions, so what makes the company right on their prediction that the pension will dissolve when they say it will?It's because they want the pension to dissolve.They made over $149 million in one quarter (that's $149 million over their profits from last year) & say that the pension will dissolve & their employees will have nothing unless they join the 401k. they can't predict the solvency of a pension fund what makes them predict that the stock market won't crash?I think these guys have a right to stand up for their pension, gone are the days of a garbage man making 6 figures.Those days went south when BFI was bought by Allied Waste & those drivers had to retire because they put in their 30+ years.So, since you know all about being a garbage man at Republic Services/Allied Waste, get hired & put in some time & then we'll talk.I don't see things the same as some of you & I may sound bitter, it's because I am & my husband is one of these drivers picking up your trash & fighting for his job!Remember there are 2 sides to every story, it's funny the company has been on the local news already & there is this article in the paper, no one would have known the contract was up if the company would spend it's time negotiating with the drivers instead of getting air time.

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17trashtrucker(1 comment)posted 1 year, 5 months ago

Just a few clarifications. We never worked without a contract as Ralph Cook Stated,while we where in negotiations we worked under the present contract as both parties signed a contact extension and when the new contract was ratified any wage increases were retroactive. While it is true we enjoy good wages and benefits, we work very hard making 800 stops a day in the middle of the night in all kinds of weather usually working 12 hour days. Why shouldn't we enjoy good wages in fact many of us make well and I mean WELL over the $43,000 figure AND WE OUR WORTH EVERY PENNY!!!!!!!!!

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