Republic service workers in Las Vegas vote to authorize strike

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Members of Teamsters Local 631 authorize strike after weeks of contentious negotiations; The contract expires on May 31

(LAS VEGAS) — More than 1,200 members of Teamsters Local 631 in Las Vegas voted to authorize a strike at Republic Services last night. The vote in favor of the strike was overwhelming, with 95% of participating members voting in favour, and comes after weeks of contentious contract negotiations with the company.

“We have been dedicated workers throughout the pandemic, serving on the front lines to keep Las Vegas clean and safe. It means putting our health and well-being at risk. We deserve better than this,” said Samuel Bronson, an 18-year-old Republic Services commercial driver and Local 631 member. don’t treat that way at work. In fact, they don’t even treat us with common human decency. We can’t stand this treatment any longer. This vote reflects our belief that we deserve better. The Services of the Republic must be held responsible. It’s time for this company to bargain in good faith and negotiate a fair contract.

Bronson and his colleagues serve communities and businesses in Las Vegas, including McCarran International Airport, casinos and other major tourist attractions. If a contract is not ratified quickly, the city could experience a major waste transportation disruption, impacting tens of thousands of residents, tourists and businesses.

“The overwhelming vote sends Republic Services the clearest possible message about how our members are insulted and disrespected by this company,” said Tommy Blitsch, secretary-treasurer of Local 631. “These workers will not hesitate to strike if things don’t change in the next three weeks.”

Local 631 and the company will return to the bargaining table later this month. The current contract expires on May 31.

“The Services of the Republic will stop at nothing to break the union. Their behavior during negotiations with Local 631 shows that they have learned nothing from the past year. The workers of the Republic are fed up. They’ve had enough. Across the country, our members are fighting back and telling this company they won’t put up with it anymore,” said Chuck Stiles, director of the Teamsters solid waste and recycling division. “This is our biggest unit at Republic, and we won’t allow the company to gut this contract. If we don’t stop this from happening in Vegas, there’s no doubt that this company will continue these tactics in other places. The Teamsters aren’t going to put up with it. We’re going to be vigilant.”

On December 9, 2021, more than 400 sanitation workers employed by Republic Services in Orange County, California went on strike in response to the company’s unfair labor practices during contract negotiations. A week after the Orange County strike, more than 400 San Diego County workers began a month-long strike against Republic over similar disputes in contract negotiations.

The Republic Services CEO’s total compensation amounted to more than $12 million in 2020, or 154 times the salary of an average Republic worker. The company reported 15% growth in total revenue for 2021. Rather than investing its profits in higher salaries or new trucks, the company spent more than $736 million to buy back its shares. Meanwhile, workers continue to fight for better working conditions, and collecting trash and recycling remains the fifth most dangerous job in America.

“Utilities has earned billions from its workforce and posted record profits during the pandemic,” said Sean M. O’Brien, Teamsters General Chairman. “Clearly they won’t like us until we demand that they recognize the role we play in their success. We will strike if necessary. Local 631 members are ready and have the support of over one million Teamsters across North America.

This Sunday, O’Brien, Stiles and Blitsch will host a nationwide call for all Republic Services Teamster members to discuss strategy and begin preparations for a potential sanitation strike in Las Vegas.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 7,000 Republic Services workers across the United States.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.2 million hard-working men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and ‘like’ us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

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