Incline may see garbage pile up
INCLINE VILLAGE – Residents here could wake up to a big surprise this week – a smelly one. More than 270 Waste Management workers went on strike Friday afternoon because union members and the company could not agree on a contract.
“We’re not asking for anything outrageous – we’re not being out of line,” said Ross Steffner, business agent for Local 533 Teamsters. “These fellas are being reasonable about what they’re asking for.”
He said the main issues concerning workers are pension plans, health and welfare, and work rules preventing subcontracting.
“The company is just not being reasonable about things,” he said. “We have no alternative but to take these guys out (on strike).”
Tony Link, a front loader driver and one of six workers who services Incline Village, said Waste Management is just not being reasonable.
“We weren’t getting anywhere with negotiations, so we called a strike,” he said. “We want more retirement, more medical benefits. I would like a contract that we (the company and the union) can agree upon. They’re not being fair.”
Steffner said the strike started Friday afternoon at about 2 p.m. and will continue until “the company is more reasonable on the requests of the employees.”
Until then, Incline residents might see trash starting to pile up, as Waste Management is responsible for all solid waste in the area, Link said.
“I imagine things are going to pile up here until this is over,” Steffner said.
Negotiations will be brought to the table again Wednesday, he said.
“Hopefully the company will be more reasonable and agree to the proposals,” he said.
Dozens of union members walked picket lines over the weekend.
Waste Management employees from other Western states were scheduled to start working today in the Reno area, said company manager Greg Martinelli.
Reno workers have filled in for their counterparts in Arizona and California during strikes the last three years, he said.
“We’re all one company so we try to help each other out,” Martinelli said, declining to say how many replacement workers were being brought to Reno.
Teamsters leader Lou Martino said bringing in the workers would hinder negotiations.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.