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Local 377 fights ‘unfair labor practice’

About 50 march at Stericycle Inc. in Warren

Members of Teamsters Local 377 picket outside Stericycle Inc. on Pine Avenue in Warren on Wednesday. Teamsters Local 377 represents approximately 24 drivers and 25 laborers in the plant, which is a medical waste processing plant. Staff photo / Raymond L. Smith

WARREN — An estimated 50 employees of Stericycle Inc., 901 Pine Ave., were picketing Wednesday outside two of the company’s gates due to an unfair labor action that Teamsters Local 377 filed against the company earlier this month.

“This not about a contract, but an unfair labor practice that the company committed,” Ken Sabo, vice president of Teamsters Local 377 in Youngstown said. “We filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in Cleveland and are waiting for its ruling.”

Sabo would not detail specific issues within the complaint.

According to the National Labor Relations Board website, the union filed a signed charge against the employer on Oct. 5. An initial letter to Stericycle was filed Oct. 7.

The allegations, according to the website, include a refusal to bargain and bad faith bargaining, and the repudiation /modification of a contract, including making unilateral changes.

Teamsters Local 377 represents approximately 24 drivers and 25 laborers at the plant, according to Sabo. All of its members were participating in the work dispute on Wednesday.

“We are waiting for the company to get back with us on the labor charge,” Sabo said.

Employees of Stericycle pick up medical waste material from hospitals, nursing homes and doctor’s offices across Ohio and into New York, New Jersey, Canada and other locations.

The waste is either autoclaved and packed or it is incinerated, according to Stericycle employee John Davis.

The company processes between 30,000 and 40,000 pounds of medical waste per shift, per day, seven days per week, according to Davis.

In an emailed statement, the company noted it has been actively engaged in good faith negotiations with Teamsters Local 377 on a collective bargaining agreement.

“Last week, Stericycle provided a revised settlement proposal, which still included significant enhancements to wages, vacation time, and updates to company policies, among other changes,” according to the statement. ” Unfortunately, instead of engaging with us, the union has decided to engage in a work stoppage during a global pandemic.”

“We operate within the law in each jurisdiction where we have operations, and this includes following the National Labor Relations Act,” the statement reads.

In the meantime, the company has brought in additional facility workers and drivers to ensure it continues to provide its customers and our communities with essential services, especially as they deal with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We remain committed to bargaining in good faith and are hopeful that representatives from Teamsters Local 377 will come back to the bargaining table,” the statement reads.

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