Hundreds of workers employed at Waste Management throughout Orange County, Cal. have won significant wage and pension, and healthcare increases after ratifying a groundbreaking contract. The workers are members of Local 396 of the Teamsters Union.
Sanitation workers have worked hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 14 hours a day in order to ensure that communities are kept clean and safe. The pandemic has also drastically exposed the impact that low wages have had on the transportation industry. Sanitation companies throughout the United States including Waste Management are facing a shortage of drivers and are realizing that in order to retain qualified workers, they must increase wages and benefits, noted a statement from the union. Workers are seizing on this opportunity to gain contract improvements that will allow them to provide a better life for themselves and their families.
Contract highlights include drivers receiving an immediate $2.23 raise in hourly pay, double-time pay after 12 hours of service, and full maintenance of healthcare benefits with no increased cost to workers.
Teamsters Local 396 currently represents over 3,000 sanitation workers throughout Southern California. “The courage demonstrated by this group of essential workers who organized to win this contract is admirable, declared Ron Herrera, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 396, “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the press has written about the importance of essential workers, but Corporate America still insisted on low wages. Our members stood strong and won major raises that will continue to lift standards in an industry that has historically exploited Latino immigrant workers.” The grit and tenacity of these members, noted Herrera, is what made this victory possible.