Over the past month, Teamsters in five cities refused work in solidarity with locked-out sanitation workers in Evansville, Indiana. The Evansville labor dispute is the second in three months to feature sympathy strikes against Republic Services. This rare tactic represents a major escalation in the Teamsters’ struggle with the company, and it’s poised to intensify this week.
As I reported for Working In These Times, Republic Services/ Allied Waste, the second-largest solid waste company in the United States, locked 79 workers out of their jobs six weeks ago. (Under U.S. labor law, when union contracts expire, companies can lock workers out, and either shut down production or bring in replacement workers to do their jobs.) Republic told workers they’d be locked out unless they accepted a “last, best and final“ offer that would eliminate their pensions and replace them with 401(k)s.