Long-awaited contract negotiations got under way today between Republic Services/Allied Waste and Teamsters Local 377, which represents 103 sanitation workers employed by the company in the Mahoning Valley.
The relationship between the two sides has been strained since October, when the worker’s contract expired, leaving a host of issues, including those dealing with retirement benefits, health care, wages and labor practices to percolate.
The situation reached loggerheads on March 27 when 22 workers at Republic’s Carbon Limestone Landfill, a waste dump in Lowellville, walked off the job. The picket lines they set up prompted the remaining workers, including drivers and maintenance technicians to honor the strike — leaving curbside trash uncollected throughout parts of the Valley and Western Pennsylvania for more than a week.
Given the length of the dispute and the intricacies involved with the impasse, both sides said it was unlikely that certain grievances would be worked out in a day’s time. Negotiations are expected to continue Wednesday.
Local 377 contends that both economic and noneconomic issues, such as unfair labor practices are at the center of the stalemate. Also problematic to any potential resolution, say those close to the negotiations, is Republic’s national fight with its thousands of employees represented by local chapters of the Teamsters International Union.
For the complete story, read Wednesday's Vindicator or Vindy.com.