State of the Union

AT THE START OF ITS new white paper, the Washington-based National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) poses a question — “the private solid waste industry should not be concerned about new [union] organizing efforts, right”? According to the 12-page “Union Issues in the Solid Waste Industry,” the answer is a resounding “wrong.”

Even though union membership among the American workforce has declined significantly during the past half century, unions are increasingly targeting solid waste companies, the report says. Why? Private waste firms are attractive to union organizers because the industry is not outsourcing jobs to other countries, says Bruce Parker, president and CEO of NSWMA.

NSWMA hopes the white paper will “familiarize [its] general membership with what is involved [with unions]” and with “what steps employers can take to mitigate the likelihood that a union will successfully organize their employees,” Parker says. He argues that the document is not “anti-union” but is designed to allow companies to handle economic changes.

The report details the organizing tactics of unions and what employers should expect when negotiating with a union.

In conclusion, the white paper states that the “ability of a company to remain union-free in the private solid waste industry is a reasonable and legitimate goal because union contracts tend to limit an employer's ability to effectively and promptly respond to changing market conditions.” To obtain a copy of the report, visit