Trash haulers serving routes across Montgomery County and southern Howard County went on strike at 5 a.m. last Friday. They called on their employer, Unity Disposal, to negotiate a fair contract. “We work hard and we provide a vital public service,” said Unity driver Martin Puesan. “Yet too many of us struggle to provide for our families on what Unity pays us. These should not be poverty-level jobs.”
Unity Disposal contracts with Montgomery and Howard counties to provide trash pick-up service to more than 40,000 households. Unity employees voted to form a union with Laborers’ Union Local 657 more than 9 months ago; negotiations over a first contract have stalled.
Unity employees are also filing a lawsuit to recover unpaid living wages and overtime.
“That’s how this company treats us,” added Puesan. “We don’t make enough to begin with, and then we aren’t always paid for the hours we work. That’s why we are standing up and standing together — for respect and fair pay.”