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Oakland Waste Management Workers File Charges over Employee Intimidation


Workers at Alameda County Waste Management facilities in Oakland, San Leandro and Altamont, Calif., filed charges alleging the company is illegally threatening or intimidating workers in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. More than 200 workers also initiated a work stoppage that was joined by hundreds of other workers at the facilities. The stoppage lasted five hours before workers returned to the job in order to minimize disruptions for customers.

The workers said the company was illegally using the E-Verify system to intimidate immigrant employees. International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) spokesperson Craig Merilees says:

Many of the workers, particularly those in the recycling operation, are immigrant workers, and the company has been illegally threatening and intimidating them.

In addition to threats and intimidation, Waste Management implemented workplace policies without bargaining with the ILWU. Fred Pecker, secretary-treasurer of ILWU Local 6, says the stoppage was a success:

The workers at Waste Management deserve credit and respect for standing up to this powerful company that was breaking the law. Our country won’t work if powerful corporations aren’t held accountable to the law like everyone else.

According to ILWU, Waste Management has a long history of mistreating employees in Alameda County:

In 2007, the company issued a demand for cutbacks then “locked-out” 500 Teamster drivers. The company’s lockout left customers in Oakland and other east Bay cities with little or no garbage service for a month, triggering heavy fines against the company.

While demanding cutbacks from workers, the company made profits of more than $800 million in 2012 and paid CEO David P. Steiner more than $5 million in compensation.

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