Trash Company Warns of Slow Service Due to Strike

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(Memphis) Instead of running their routes, many Republi Waste workers are walking the picket line, upset over pay, vacation and contract issues .

"They committed several unfair labor practices, including but not limited to paying contractual obligation to these mens safety bonuses. These guys are tired," said Matt Brown with the Teamsters Union.

When the work stopped, the trash just sat.

In one Arlington neighborhood, trash that normally would have been picked up Monday morning was still on the curb Monday afternoon.

Larry Jeffries' trash is on the curb.

His grandfather marched with sanitation workers in the 60's and he sympathizes with the cause, but worries about the sanitary conditions of the garbage.

"A good wind or good rain will spread it everywhere. I am for the trash being picked up, but if you  have to go on strike, I understand that too," says Jeffries.

Republic, which serves communities including Arlington and Lakeland, sent out a statement assuring customers their garbage and recycling will be picked up, but there will be delays.

Managers are taking routes and additional workers are being brought in.

As for the strikers complaints about pay, the company says starting drivers earn $40, 000 a year, with the average earning $58,000 and senior employees make upwards of $85,000 a year.

"Wow. That's more that I make.  So I guess they should get out there and pick up the trash," says Megan Perkins of Arlington.
The striking workers have been in labor negotiations for months, but continued working without a contract hoping to reach an agreement.

That hasn't happened so they walked out at midnight Sunday.

There is no word on how long the strike will last, but towns like Arlington and Lakeland are updating residents on their websites.