Trash service was temporarily delayed in two local cities Tuesday as Huntington Beach-based employees of Republic Services participated in a work stoppage to show solidarity with colleagues involved in a contract dispute in Massachusetts.
The Teamsters-led stoppage in Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley lasted a few hours and ended shortly after noon, according to an email from Republic Services. Customers whose trash was not collected will be served Wednesday, the company said.
“We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding,” Republic said.
News of the work stoppage spread on social media Tuesday morning as residents asked others whether their trash had been picked up. Some said they received an automated message from Republic reiterating a news release later shared by the cities of Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley.
“The company is in contract negotiations with a union representing some of its employees in Massachusetts,” according to the release. “Those employees are engaged in a temporary work stoppage, which was joined today by some employees at Republic’s Huntington Beach location. Because of this, Republic is experiencing significant delays in collection service but is working to resolve this situation as soon as possible.”
Residents were encouraged to leave their trash containers out and available for collection.
Teamsters Local 25, which represents some employees in Marshfield, Mass., went on strike Aug. 29 as it tries to reach an agreement for its first contract with Arizona-based Republic, according to the Patriot Ledger. The newspaper also reported that the company filed for an injunction in Plymouth County Superior Court in an effort to stop what it described as unlawful picketing and brought in nonunion employees to fill in for those on strike.
The strike has caused ripples in other cities across the nation that are served by the trash hauler.
“When faced with a greedy corporation such as Republic Services, which has shown no regard for its employees or the high standards we have for worker safety, Teamsters take the fight to the streets, coast to coast,” Sean O’Brien, president of Teamsters Local 25, said in an email Tuesday. “Solidarity is the key to winning fights against greedy national corporations, and we’ve enjoyed great support from Teamsters and other unions.”
Republic said its safety performance has been 40% better than the industry average over the past 10 years and that it takes pride in providing all employees with outstanding compensation and benefits.
“The company already provides a highly competitive wage and benefit package for employees that includes medical, dental, vision, AD&D and disability insurance, as well as a company-match 401-k retirement plan and generous paid time off, and we continue to negotiate in good faith to achieve a fair and competitive labor contract for our Massachusetts employees,” Republic said.
It was unclear Tuesday whether Huntington Beach-based employees would resume their work stoppage in the near future.