Los Angeles Local 396: Waste Management Teamsters Unite Behind Fired Shop Steward

March 27, 2008: Teamster sanitation workers across Los Angeles have launched a solidarity campaign in support of Jose Morales, a shop steward who was fired for opposing Waste Management’s attacks on members’ rights.

On March 10, Waste Management terminated Jose Morales, a shop steward who was a rank-and-file leader during a Local 396 strike against the company in Los Angeles last fall.

The dispute with Waste Management began after the company distributed digital cameras to all drivers in its Sun Valley yard and instructed them to take photos of overloaded trash bins on their routes.

After Morales reported that he had mistakenly been issued two digital cameras—and returned one of the cameras to management— the company fired him on bogus charges of “dishonesty.”

The real reason that Morales was fired is that he publicly criticized the company for cutting members’ health benefits and organized against management efforts to impose weak contracts and permanently replace Teamster strikers.

Local 396 is taking Brother Morales’ case to arbitration.

Sanitation and UPS Teamsters are uniting to defend their fired Teamster brother. They are circulating a petition to demand that Waste Management immediately reinstate Morales.

“We’re taking action because Teamsters need to support one another and send the company a message that we are united for justice for all sanitation workers,” said Jose Luis Plascencia, a Local 396 member employed by Waste Management in the Sun Valley district.

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