May 9, 2007: Teamsters at Waste Management are routinely forced to work off the clock. Now a group of drivers is doing something about it.
Waste Management drivers in California have filed a lawsuit against the company for wage and hour violations. Their case is similar to a successful class action lawsuit against UPS that resulted in an $87 million victory by more than 20,000 UPS drivers.
Under California law, employees have to be given an off-duty meal period within the first five hours of work and a second meal period when they work more than 10 hours a day. The law also states that employees who work more than 10 hours are entitled to three 10-minute breaks.
Waste Management drivers regularly have to work through their breaks—including taking their meal breaks in their trucks while waiting in dump lines.
“The company pressures us to get our routes down faster and to work through our breaks. We told our business agent about it, and he said, ‘Leave me out of this,’” said Isidro Valdivia, the lead plaintiff in the case.
“Now we’re getting together to enforce our rights in court and to demand the fair pay and treatment that we deserve,” Valdivia said.
On March 16, Valdivia and four other drivers filed a lawsuit against Waste Management. They will ask the judge to approve their case as a class action lawsuit. If they’re successful, then Waste Management drivers whose rights have been violated will be eligible to join the lawsuit.
The drivers are being represented in this action by York Law Corporation, the same firm that won the $87 million settlement for UPS drivers.
Waste Management drivers who are interested in participating in the lawsuit or learning more about it can go to www.payWMIdrivers.com or contact York Law Corporation at 800-939-1832 and www.yorklawcorp.com.