After striking for 13 days, trash haulers employed by Unity Disposal in Montgomery and Howard counties returned to work at 5 a.m. Thursday, January 8th. The workers went on strike December 26 over wages, benefits and unfair labor practices. Striking employees agreed to return to work after being urged to do so by a federal mediator, who met with representatives of the company and striking workers on Tuesday. The parties will meet again with the federal mediator on Monday, January 12…
Unity contracts with Montgomery and Howard counties to provide trash pick-up service to more than 60,000 households. Drivers employed by Unity Disposal generally make less than $30,000 per year, according to LiUNA! Mid-Atlantic Region, which represents the workers. Helpers — the workers who ride on the vehicles and heave 15 to 20 tons of garbage or recycling into the back of their trucks each day — typically make less than $25,000 per year. “Many Unity employees have worked for the company for years without seeing a raise,” said LiUNA.
Negotiations have stalled in large part over Unity’s refusal to grant a raise to drivers or helpers in 2015. Unity employees voted to form their union with Laborers’ Union Local 657 more than 9 months ago and have been seeking to negotiate a first contract since then.