Strikers going back on the job

YOUNGSTOWN – Republic Services / Allied Waste employees who have been on strike since late last month are going back to work.

However, no settlement has been reached between the workers and the company, Teamsters Local 377 president Rich Sandberg explained when contacted by the Tribune Chronicle on Sunday.

”The workers agreed that going back to work was in the best interest of the customers,” Sandberg said. ”That’s the reason for this decision.”

The 103 members of Teamsters Local 377 have been working without a contract since November, but the work stoppage may not be directly related to those ongoing negotiations. Sources said the strike was related to an unfair labor practice issue.

Sandberg said negotiations are scheduled to resume Tuesday.

Tribune Chronicle news partner WYTV Channel 33 TV reported that a spokesman for Republic Services / Allied Waste also said employees, including residential waste drivers, would resume normal operations at the Youngstown-area facilities.

Crews are set to work throughout the week to pick up the trash and recyclables that have been collecting on some curbsides for days, according to reports.

More than 80 local trash haulers walked off the job April 15 in support of 23 fellow workers on strike since March 27 at the Carbon Limestone landfill in Poland. That strike began over an unfair labor practices claim.

In addition, nearly 500 more drivers, helpers and mechanics at other Republic facilities across Ohio also joined the picket lines when the strike began.

Originally, the landfill workers were backed by the entire 106-member local until 83 drivers returned to work April 2.

Regarding the ongoing negotiations, Republic officials have said the key sticking point is the union’s refusal to withdraw from Central States Pension Fund.

Allied Waste / Republic Services officials said their employees’ Central States Pension Fund will be insolvent in 10 years. They tried to encourage employees to take a lump sum payment and re-invest in a 401(k).