Waste workers on strike for 2nd time in 4 months - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Waste workers on strike for 2nd time in 4 months

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(File photo, January 2013) (File photo, January 2013)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - For the second time in four months, Teamsters Local Union 984 workers are on strike.

A spokesperson for Teamsters 984 says talks broke down between the union and the Republic Services waste company. The strike began at midnight Tuesday.

"We continue to negotiate in good faith with the Teamsters and provide our employees with a good salary as our drivers' average salary is $58,000 a year," said Republic Services' General Manager Roger Lawrence in a written statement.

But the sanitation workers say they are not so much marching for more money, but for better benefits.

"We got guys paying all the way up to $170 a week for insurance. That's unbelievable, man," said Corey Hayes, Teamsters 984.

Union member say they are not going anywhere until they strike a deal.

"We want dignity, respect, better working conditions, and better benefits. It's been a long time coming to this," said Teamsters 984 President Terry Lovan.

Republic Services serves about 200,000 customers in the area. The last time its workers went on strike was in January. Union members picketed for three days, causing trash to build up everywhere from Memphis to Atoka and everywhere in the Mid-South.

In the statement, the Lawrence emphasized that they are focusing on critical customers like hospitals and schools right now and they appreciate the patience of their customers.

"It ain't gonna be two days and run home again. We're gonna stay here till we get a contract," said Lovan.

Meanwhile, the City of Memphis says some residents and businesses may have brief delays in trash pickup in some areas.

"Gotta stand for something. We took a stand back in February. We've been at the negotiating table four times since then and it's like we're going backwards," added Hayes.

City officials encourage residents out east who are serviced by Republic to place their garbage carts and recycling bins at the curb on their normal collection day and leave it there until it is picked up.

Solid Waste Management service will not be affected by the strike.

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