Sanitation workers hold 'practice' strike before heading to work

Sanitation workers hold 'practice' strike before heading to work

(WMC-TV) – Sanitation workers teamed up with union workers to stage a "practice" picket Thursday, before heading to work.

"Just showing demonstration solidarity to get our message into the community," said Chuck Stiles, Teamsters Union.

The Teamsters Union is negotiating a new contract with the parent company of Allied Waste Services.

"They gotta look beyond the company's point of view and look at our families, our kids, our wives, things of that nature," said Corey Hayes, who works for Allied Waste Services.

Allied Waste Services collects waste at hotels, restaurants and businesses in the Memphis metro area, including Shelby and DeSoto counties.

They also collect waste for the city of Germantown, parts of unincorporated areas of Shelby County and recycling for Collierville.

The teamsters Union represents 180 worker. The AFSME Union covers the residential city of Memphis sanitation workers and AFSME is not involved in this dispute.

"Everybody knows this is the fourth most dangerous job in America. The death and injury rate is higher than being a police officer or a firefighter and that really shocks people," said Stiles.

The main sticking point in a new deal is that Allied Waste Services wants its employees to go from a 100 percent company paid pension plan to a 401K plan where with employees contribute and there is a company match.

The Teamsters do not want a change and are fighting it.

Allied Waste's parent company, Republic Services, released a statement. Here is a portion of that statement:

"The company has bargained in good faith and is dedicated to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement that respects the rights of all parties, maintains labor peace and allows us to service customers. If a work stoppage occurs, Republic will work hard to ensure that all routes are maintained, and that our customers see no reduction of service."

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