Striking Teamster drivers replaced, no complaints yet

As fires move through the Santa Clarita Valley, Waste Management drivers are still on the picket line. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were no new discussions or negotiations between leaders of Waste Management and Teamster Union 396, which represents the truck drivers.

Replacement drivers have since resumed service for Waste Management, which has experienced minimal service disruptions since the labor strike started over the weekend.

"Things are going pretty well," Waste Management spokeswoman Kit Cole said, and added that replacement drivers are servicing the Santa Clarita Valley, picking up trash at local residences and businesses. Cole also said that Waste Management has not received any complaints since the strike began.

She stated there is no timeline for when the strike will end. Teamsters at Waste Management overwhelmingly voted to reject Waste Management's most recent contract offer, deciding to go on strike on October 19. Members of the Teamsters Local 396 rejected the offer by a 247-115 margin. It is the third time that the union rejected a Waste Management contract offer.

Both sides have been in negotiations since August, in attempts to come to terms with a new agreement, replacing the last contract between the two parties which expired on Sept. 30. Residents within the Santa Clarita city limits are not affected by the strike - though residents and businesses in unincorporated areas surrounding Santa Clarita may have experienced temporary service disruptions through Monday.

Replacement drivers resumed service on Monday morning, giving the highest priority to servicing hospitals, health clinics, child care facilities, and residents.

The strike involves approximately 500 union truck drivers who serve 225,000 residents and 29,000 business in the Los Angeles area. According to union leadership, the decision to strike was made after extensive discussions between union leadership and membership, in an attempt to gain awareness on what Teamsters believes is an unfair contract.

Alleged wage discrepancies are at the heart of the dispute, according to union leaders and members.


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