Republic Locks Out Union Workers in Indiana

Allied Waste Services of Evansville (Ind.) has locked out its union employees after the workers rejected a contract offer.

The lockout began the evening of May 8, the subsidiary of Phoenix-based Republic Services Inc. said in a news release. The contract, covering 79 employees, expired April 1 but was extended to April 26. The company is negotiating with Teamsters Local 215.

The company said the main issue is the Central States Pension Fund, which is in financial jeopardy. Mark McKune, general manager of Allied Evansville, said the company offered the union a 401K retirement plan as an alternative, with a total initial contribution of $1.4 million. He said the union has threatened a “war.”

“We have plans in place to minimize any possible interruption of service for our customers in the Evansville metropolitan area,” McKune said. Allied has been moving employees to the area to handle service in the event that labor and management couldn’t come to an agreement.

"The unemployment rate in Evansville is almost 9 percent," said Teamsters Local 215 President Chuck Whobrey in a union news release. "And yet this highly profitable company seems content to destroy local jobs. We have been willing to negotiate with Republic all along – in fact, we proposed to extend the contract at our last meeting.”

Republic faced labor strife in March when 24 Teamsters workers at its Mobile, Ala., facility went on strike March 22 over a health care contract issue. More than 400 Teamsters from Buffalo, N.Y. to Seattle supported the strike before it was resolved April 2.

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