Waste workers vote to join Teamsters

October 10, 1997


Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Workers at Waste Management of the Shenandoah Valley voted 28 to 22 Friday to have the Teamsters union become their bargaining unit with management, a move that may include about 50 full- and part-time workers at the solid waste collection service in Martinsburg, a union official said.

Company officials had little to say about the vote.

Linden Heavner, spokesman for Local 992 of the General Teamsters and Allied Workers in Hagerstown, said a simple majority vote was all that was needed to bring the union in.

West Virginia, like Maryland and Pennsylvania, have laws allowing closed shops, Heavner said. The union and company will negotiate a contract that may require that all full- and regular part-time drivers, helpers and recycle employees be part of the union bargaining unit, he said.


"We want all the workers to have a voice," He said.

Tom Krause, Local 992 organizer, said in a prepared statement Friday, said the vote will give employees "the right to negotiate for better wages and working conditions. Hopefully the lights are on at Waste Management and someone is listening."

Krause called the company's preelection harassment "unrelenting. The workers owed it to themselves to win the election. The vote was a real credit to the courage and integrity of the workers They withstood the company's onslaught. The employees took ownership of their campaign and they won."

Judy Archibald, director of public affairs for Waste management's Mid-Atlantic operations in Philadelphia, said the company is "proud of its strong employee relations program. It is not only our policy but our commitment to treat all employees fairly. Our employees have elected to go through this process and we respect their right to do so."

Archibald said Waste Management, which began operations 26 years ago, is the largest solid waste and environmental service in the world. The company has nearly 60,000 employees, she said.

The Teamsters campaign to organize local Waste Management workers began in June.

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