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Vol. 77/No. 5      February 11, 2013

Sanitation workers in
Ga. march for union
ATLANTA—Sanitation workers in DeKalb County have been organizing to be represented by the Teamsters union. Several hundred of these workers, along with family and other supporters, marched in a contingent at the Martin Luther King Day Parade here Jan. 21 behind large banners reading, “Justice for Sanitation Workers.”

“We need more money and better benefits,” sanitation worker Dannie Wellons told the Militant. “We’ve had no raise in more than four years. The supervisors talk to you and treat you any kind of way.”

James Mullens has worked on sanitation trucks for two years. “I’m for the union because by sticking together we’ll be better off. You can’t do it alone.”

More than 85 percent of the county’s 150 sanitation workers who work from the garbage trucks have petitioned to be represented by Teamsters Local 728. County commissioners have to vote to recognize the union.

Thomas Moore, a sanitation truck driver for 10 years, described routes that have 1,800 to 2,000 stops, working in rain and snow or scorching heat, jumping on and off the trucks, and handling refuse from broken glass to dead animals.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that garbage workers do the fourth most dangerous job in the country.

Joining the DeKalb County workers were sanitation workers from Alabama, Florida and Tennessee who work for Republic Services/Allied Waste. Workers are facing attacks from this company in cities throughout the country.

“I’m a fighter. We need to get things better,” Lavon Lindsey, from Mobile, Ala., told the Militant. “We especially need better medical care given the job conditions we work under.” Two sanitation workers from Memphis who were part of the 1968 strike that King supported addressed the crowd at the end of the march. “They’re doing the same thing to you now as they did to us in ’68,” said Baxter Leach. “It’s the same fight and we have to do for ourselves.”
Related articles:
‘We are not giving back what we won in struggle’
NYC school bus workers fight union busting
No recovery for workers in UK as production drops, ‘austerity’ grinds
Bangladesh: Workers protest deaths in Jan. 27 fire
Greek gov’t orders workers to end subway strike under threat of jail
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