Striking sanitation workers will return to the job - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Striking sanitation workers will return to the job

(WMC-TV) - Memphis metro residents will be relieved to hear the latest news that came out of a news conference held by Teamsters Local 984 Wednesday afternoon.

The striking sanitation workers announced they will return to work Thursday.

The union says it was a close vote among members but that the strike is over. Even though the workers will return to the job, the dispute has not been resolved.

"We offered to return to work immediately," said Aaron Belk, Teamsters Local 984. "We all wanna go back to work. We wanna get these issues resolved as soon as we can."

At the South Shelby landfill, garbage trucks filter in and out freely and the picket lines have dispersed.

Even without regular employees on shift, Allied Waste planned to have a full compliment of trucks on the street Wednesday.

"The reason we will return to work is because of our respect and our loyalty to the customer," said Joseph Wyatt. "Because at the end of the day they expect their garbage to be picked up and they expect us to do our job."

The union and the company have yet to strike a new deal and negotiations are underway. The union says it is ready to sign a new contract if Republic-Allied Waste agrees to terms on which the union declined to elaborate, though they maintain it is not about money.

"That's what these guys are saying, they want respect and they want to be treated fairly. The company needs to hear that message loud and clear," explained Belk.

The teamsters say returning to work despite the "no deal" status does not make their three day strike a waste. They are not ruling out another work stoppage.

Action News 5 reached out to a Republic-Allied Waste representative but the company has not yet responded.

The union says the two sides will resume negotiations first thing Thursday morning.

Republic-Allied Waste representatives were not at the announcement.

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