10/19/07

SoCal Teamster trash haulers out on strike

Waste Management workers are on strike after failing to reach a contract deal. About 140 sanitation workers went on strike outside the Waste Management Company in Sun Valley around 3 a.m. Friday. And more strikers are picketing in Long Beach and Compton.

A union representative told Eyewitness News that wages, health care and vacation are all issues, but members are also upset by how they say the company is treating them.

"The take away, the intimidation, the lack of respect for the people, that they'll go ahead and spend this kind of money, if you can see they brought stub lights, they bring in people from other parts of the country, and they'll spend money on that, yet they won't spend that money on the same employees that work here every day," says Hector Rendon, Teamster Local 396. "They have to put these people up in hotels, pay them for their meals, pay them for their wages, air fare, where they could be using that money to negotiate our contracts."

Union representatives have been negotiating with the company since August. The company has made three offers, all of them were rejected by the workers.

The strike will affect about 225,000 residential and 29,000 commercial accounts in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. That includes Inglewood, Carson, Rolling Hills, Rancho Palos Verdes, Manhattan Beach, South Gate, Long Beach, Huntington Park, and also areas of the San Fernando Valley.

Waste Management representatives say they have brought in sanitation workers from other areas, so trucks are rolling out and they will try to get to as many locations as possible.

As for the contract issues, Waste Management says they offered a fair deal.

"We weren't surprised, but we are really, really disappointed," says Kit Cole, Waste Management. "We reached a tentative agreement with the union leadership earlier this week. That tentative agreement wasn't ratified by the membership, so now we have this strike."

If you are serviced by Waste Management, you can call the following numbers to get information about whether or not you will have trash pickup Friday.

* Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley - (800) 926-9693
* South Bay - (800) 774-0222

Strikers say they will be at the picket lines as long as it takes to get a fair deal.

(abclocal.go.com)

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