Allied Waste Services of Toledo has filed a lawsuit against Teamsters International Local 377, claiming the striking workers it represents in Youngstown have violated federal labor law by interfering with Toledo employees and disrupting business there.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Youngstown, seeks compensatory damages and an immediate stop to disruptive activities in the northwestern portion of the state.
Republic Services/ Allied Waste workers in Youngstown began a strike March 27 when they walked off the job. The strike, which is now in its third week, has spread to 20 cities in five states.
Toledo, Columbus, Elyria, Cleveland, Canton and parts of the Mahoning Valley have witnessed widespread delays in trash-collection services as a result of the strike in recent weeks.
“As a result of the foregoing unlawful activity of Local 377, AWS of Toledo’s business is and continues to be significantly disrupted and AWS of Toledo has sustained and continues to sustain economic injury to its business,” read the company’s lawsuit.
Many local cities and townships in the Valley have said if the strike drags on, they will switch to a competitor such as Waste Management, Allison Brothers or Ohio Valley Waste Services.
The lawsuit was filed in Youngstown because Local 377 is headquartered here. Though Republic Services has operations across 40 states and is among the largest corporate sanitary services companies in the country, AWS of Toledo claims it is a separate operating entity from AWS of Youngstown.
The lawsuit claims that Youngstown’s workers are engaging in illegal “secondary activity” by extending picket lines across the state and encouraging solidarity strikes that disrupt its operations.
At issue for workers in Youngstown are unfair labor practices that they have yet to detail, while the company claims the workers are refusing to negotiate details related to their contract, such as wages and retirement benefits.
Both sides have filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. Separate strikes in places such as Washington and Georgia also have arisen over claims from workers that Republic does not treat its workers fairly — a claim the company has vehemently denied.
In Youngstown, the parties are expected to meet again for bargaining sessions Tuesday.