January 2006

Teamster contracts firm union foothold in the South

Atlanta, GA— In a victory for waste workers across the South, more than 450 Teamsters at Allied Waste/BFI in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida won first contracts that include pay raises, a new wage structure and increased job security.

The Teamsters secured agreements after a year and a half of negotiations. "We never gave up," said Tyra Johnson, a container delivery driver at the hauling station in Atlanta. "We stuck together until we won."

The contracts, which include wage increases, a more equitable and just wage structure, and grievance procedures to improve job security, cover seven different units in Atlanta, Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and Brewton and Mobile, Alabama. Each unit approved the contract by a near unanimous vote.

"I want to congratulate these workers for standing strong during the past 18 months," said Teamsters general president Jim Hoffa. "These contracts are a testament to their courage and determination and a major step in our battle to raise living standards for waste workers across the South."

The Teamsters have also won other significant victories in the South in a wide array of industries, including transit, the public sector, law enforcement and package delivery.

In 2003, Johnson and other workers were joined by U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), the Rev. Joseph Lowery and Mayor Shirley Franklin in a march to the state Capitol in Atlanta to commemorate International Human Rights Day and demand justice for Allied Waste/BFI workers.

Teamster waste workers across the country also stood in solidarity with the Southern workers, picketing unfair labor practices at Allied Waste's Southern locations and demonstrating an active network of support.

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