2014 | Politics

Striking Trash Haulers to Return to Work Thursday

Union agrees to mediation with Unity Disposal

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About 65 union trash haulers who have been on strike after a disagreement with their employer, Unity Disposal, which contracts trash services with Montgomery County, will return to work Thursday.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), Mid-Atlantic Region, announced Wednesday night that the workers they represent have agreed to mediation. The workers have been on strike since Dec. 26 over what they say are unfair wages, benefits and labor practices.

Since then, Unity Disposal has been using temporary workers to fill-in.

Representatives for the workers and Unity are scheduled to meet with a federal mediator to discuss the dispute on Jan. 12, according to LIUNA.

The strike began after Unity refused to grant a raise to drivers and helpers in 2015, according to LIUNA. The union said drivers employed by Unity make less than $30,000 per year, while helpers, the workers who ride on vehicles and load trash into trucks, typically make less than $25,000 per year.

Earlier this week, union workers claimed that the temporary employees who replaced them were not following safety standards, according to the Montgomery Gazette.

The union haulers handle routes that include about 46,000 households in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington, Germantown, Silver Spring and Wheaton.

The workers are scheduled to return to work at 5 a.m. on Thursday.