August 29, 2008: Some 240 Teamsters went on strike on August 26 against Waste Management in the Milwaukee area.
They’ve made their presence felt at Harley Week—the 105th anniversary of Harley Davidson.
A prime management demand is to leave the Central States Pension Fund and move workers into a company plan instead. Waste Management has some 13 divisions in other states where Teamsters are in Central States, so the battle could have much wider implications.
One member told us, “We gave up wage increases to get that money put into the pension. Why should we give it away now?”
The move comes less than a year after UPS left the Central States Plan with the blessing and endorsement of the International Union.
The strikers are holding solid and picketing every site, including the landfills.
There have been no negotiations this week, but on Friday the company and the union announced they intend to resume talks. The contract expired on April 1.
Management has brought in scabs from across the country, and refers to the scab force as “the green team.” They are paying them vastly more than they pay Teamster labor.
Facing this giant corporation, the International Union may need to consider a Teamster escalation in the form of an extension of picket lines.
Read more about the strike in the Milwaukee Business Journal.