Orange Country refuse strike continues

Workers have been picketing since Monday.
Workers have been picketing since Monday.

Temporary workers have been hired to resume refuse collection in several cities across Orange County.

Submitted by Ramona on October 26, 2006

Around 300 workers belonging to the Teamsters union walked out on Monday after negotiations lasting 20 days failed. They are demanding higher wages, better healthcare plans and fairer treatment. The strikers include truck drivers, mechanics, welders and tire men.

Rene Moreno, a union captain, has pointed to the fact that 80% of the workers are Hispanic, and that consequently management "think they just can step all over us and not give us what we're asking. The company thinks, 'Hey, he's a burro, he can do it.' They're exploiting these men. It's not just about the wages, it's about respect and consideration.

"What we're asking is not unfair, The company realizes that but the company is always trying to say that we're asking for too much which is not true."

Worlers are currently paid around $16/hour, and have incredibly heavy worloads. One worker says he is expected to empty 200 bins in an eight hour shift, and now has to do this alone since his two-man team was reduced to a one-man team. The workers recieve minimal vacation allowance.

Around 60 workers picketed the company yesterday, but allowed trucks to pass their circular picket every 90 seconds as dictated by police.

Temporary workers have been drafted in by management to reduce the impact of the strike, whilst focussing on serving "critical" customers such as hospitals and schools.