New Castle News

Closer Look

April 1, 2013

Garbage strike affects New Wilmington, Sharpsville

NEW WILMINGTON — Easter weekend might not have been so sweet smelling for a number of residents in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

A garbage strike in some communities left trash awaiting curbside pickup that spilled into the weekend.

But New Wilmington Borough residents, who are among about 100,000 customers of Republic Services/Allied Waste customers, seem unfazed by the situation. Apparently, their garbage has been collected.

 New Wilmington officials said they were assured by a Republic official that their trash would be picked up by yesterday afternoon. The trucks rolled through the borough late Saturday afternoon.

New Wilmington and Sharpsville had been among two communities who had found their garbage still at curbsides Friday morning.

 New Wilmington borough maintenance director Fred Garrett said yesterday that he noticed a garbage truck going through the borough Saturday collecting the garbage bags.

“It hadn’t been picked up on the scheduled date, unless they were delayed a day, and I don’t know whether management or replacement workers were doing it,” Garrett said. “I don’t know what their Easter schedule is.”

 A sign in the window of the borough building notifies residents of the strike and potential delay.

Sanitation workers, members of Teamster Local 377, struck the company’s Carbon Limestone landfill in Lowellville, Ohio, on Thursday.

Union leaders could not be reached by phone. However, in a news release issued by the Teamsters, it said sanitation workers at other Republic locations refused to work in a show of support for the strikers.

Sanitation drivers in Youngstown honored the picket line of their striking co-workers at the landfill, the union said, adding workers who are members of other Teamsters locals in Evansville, Ind., and Urbana, Ill., also refused to work at Republic’s landfill.

Teamsters said the company had engaged in unfair labor practices, was violating federal labor laws and was refusing to bargain in good faith over a new labor contract.

“For more than a year now, Republic has been trying to squeeze every last cent out of their workers by cheating them out of pay, ignoring health and safety protections, raising their health care costs and cutting their retirement benefits,” said Ken Hall, Teamsters general secretary-treasurer, in the news release.

He also said Republic has been bullying workers by locking them out of their jobs without pay, withholding paychecks and demanding contract concessions even though it was earnings hundreds of millions of dollars in profits.

A publicly-held company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, in 2012 Republic reported a profit of $571.8 million.

A call to the company’s Youngstown office Friday from the Sharon Herald  went unreturned.

Ken Robertson, Sharpsville’s borough manager, said he learned of the strike Thursday and it had been frustrating to get the word out to the community during the Easter holiday.

 The borough office was closed on Good Friday, he said.  “It’s frustrating not to get your garbage picked up and not know what’s going on.”

Robertson said he was promised by a Republic official it would be picked up no later than yesterday afternoon.

“He said they were bringing in other workers from other areas,” Robertson said. “They didn’t say who those other workers were.”

(Debbie Wachter of the New Castle News and Michael Rocknick of the Sharon Herald contributed to this story.)

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