Atlanta Sanitation workers walk off job, end strike after one day

- Sanitation workers who walked off the job, announced Friday that their strike is over after just one day. 

The strike came on the heels of dozens of sanitation workers, hundreds of drivers, handlers, and other workers threatened employed by Republic Services to walk off the job if their demands were not met.

Some workers were seen picketing outside the Republic Services office on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway on Friday.  

Union representatives said Monday afternoon there is a good chance those who live, work or even attend school in the metro Atlanta area could be impacted if these sanitation workers walk off the job.

“You have to stand and fight for your rights. This is America,” said sanitation worker Rafael Castelan.

The union representing some of their employees issued a press release Monday afternoon stating a strike could come at any time.

“This is about basic dignity and respect,” said union representative Ben Speight.

A spokesman for the Atlanta union that represents 120 drivers, helpers, and mechanics said workers demanding increased wages and better health benefits voted on Sunday to authorize a strike amid failed contract negotiations.

“They are out here fighting because they are without a contract. They are trying to lock in their pay and benefits with a company that is refusing to negotiate with them,” said Speight.

Sanitation workers are also upset because, they claim, the company is outsourcing work to subcontractors.

“Insurance steady going up, raises steady go my down and we just want to be on the same level playing ground as everybody else,” said worker Jeffery Rolland.

According to union reps a strike could have impacted service to industrial and commercial clients across the metro Atlanta area including several schools, a major university, a high-end mall, hospitals, grocery stores and the list goes on.

In response, Republic Services of Atlanta sent the following statement to FOX 5: 

It is unfortunate that Teamster representatives directed our employees to walk out on their jobs this morning without giving  our employees  a  chance to vote on our 
comprehensive  proposal. This strike involves only a small number employees  in our Atlanta South business unit, and its impact on service or operations will be minimal. Customers scheduled for normal collections service on Friday and Saturday may experience temporary service delays, but we are prepared to surge in personnel and vehicles to take care of our customers as quickly as possible. We thank our customers in  advance  for  their patience  and  understanding  as  we resume  normal  service, prioritizing locations that provide a critical public service. We  also  find  it  disturbing that Teamsters  representatives  may  have misled our employees with unfounded claims, making it difficult for them to understand the true intent of this Teamsters-directed strike. The reality is that our people are the reason why Republic is a preferred  employer,  and  we  take  pride in  providing  all  employees with outstanding compensation, benefits and a great place to work. We are further disappointed by  the  Teamsters baseless accusations that we have in any way violated the law. We always bargain in good faith and conduct ourselves in a lawful and respectful manner. We, and our employees, should expect the same from the Teamsters. The next round of negotiations, which were scheduled prior to today’s strike, is expected to resume  next  week. We remain optimistic that we will reach favorable outcomes for our people.


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