Local workers reached an agreement Friday afternoon with San Jose’s largest recycling hauler after a brief strike that threatened the services of more than 175,000 homes.
The strike came after Teamsters Local 350 and California Waste Solutions (CWS) got bogged down over contracts for 10 clerks to serve customers. Union members claimed the company was stripping workers of protection, but the recycling company said the union’s demands were unfair and unreasonable. Negotiations continued until midnight Thursday, with little success, both the union and the company said.
At the center of the dispute was a letter the union asked CWS leaders to sign. According to company officials, the letter will strip the carrier of management, freeze the jobs of 10 people, and not allow the company to fire or fire them.
Early Friday morning, about a dozen union members, including workers from other companies, gathered on the sidewalk in front of the CWS facility in North San Jose to protest stalled contracts. The strike, backed by the South Bay Labor Council and local authorities, including State Senator Dave Cortez and San Jose City Councilman Peter Ortiz, lasted about six hours before workers and companies reached an agreement.
David Duong, president and CEO of California Waste Solutions, said San Jose residents should minimize the impact of the strike. On Friday morning, he called the strike “ridiculous” and said the company had agreed to most of the union’s demands, with the exception of the letter. He said he was representing workers from haulage companies (GreenWaste and Green Team) and wanted to take advantage of the situation in future contract negotiations. Union representatives said the allegations were false.
“I’m happy to ease the strike,” Duong told San Jose Spotlight. “We are delighted to be able to bring our employees back to work in order to continue our services.”
Customer service employees say that protection clauses are always part of the contract. According to workers, the clause would protect their work from being subcontracted.
“Losing this can have a huge impact on employees,” Sherry Ornelas, who has been a clerk at the company for 16 years, told the San Jose Spotlight before reaching an agreement. can affect our lives, but it can also affect the volume of calls we make and our jobs.”
But CWS representatives said workers’ demands would rob them of their ability to run their businesses. The company’s chief operating officer, Johnny Duong, said previously proposed contracts already provided worker protections. The company also agreed to raise wages and improve benefits for customer service workers. An additional protective clause, as previously written, would have prohibited the firm from deleting ten positions regardless of the circumstances.
“Basically, you can’t let them go until force majeure or terrorism happens,” Johnny Doon told the San Jose Spotlight. “That’s absurd for the company.”
CWS and the union eventually agreed on new language that would not only protect clerical jobs, but also allow them to change employees if necessary.
“If for any reason the city of San Jose’s services decline, we have the right to do what we have to do under the new contract,” said Johnny Dwong.
CWS has been providing recycling services to San Jose since 2002, covering the north, east, south, and downtown areas of San Jose. We also collect unwanted items in the city. Contract negotiations only affected 10 of his positions, but other Local 350 members (drivers, factory workers, machinists) also observed the strike. This meant that the company’s recycling pickup and junk removal in San Jose was halted. His CWS workers in Auckland did not join the strike.
Johnny Duong said the recycling truck will be back on the route on Saturday.
“We hope to be back to our normal schedule by Monday,” he said.
Union leaders applauded the compromise reached on Friday.
“People are very excited and proud of themselves,” union representative Robert Sandoval told the San Jose Spotlight, adding that the union had been negotiating for over a year. We united for a cause and won.”
Contact Tran Nguyen: [email protected] Or follow @nguyenntrann on Twitter.