At 9 p.m. Tuesday night, the country’s second-largest waste disposal company locked 79 workers out of their jobs. The day before, Republic Services/Allied Waste gave the Evansville, Ind., workers an ultimatum: accept management’s “last, best and final” offer, or be locked out of work. The union, Teamsters Local 215, blames the lockout on management’s insistence on permanently eliminating workers’ pensions.
“It’s a kind of extraordinary move in labor relations to lock workers out unilaterally,” says Louis Malizia, assistant director of the Teamsters Capital Strategies Department. “So there could be a return to work—the company need only open the gates and then let workers continue to work while they try to resolve issues at the bargaining table.”