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1,200 Las Vegas valley Republic Services workers vote to strike, union says

Posted at 7:29 AM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 10:29:21-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A planned strike at Republic Services means your trash might not be picked up.

More than 1,200 workers in Las Vegas have voted to go on strike, according to Teamsters Local 631, a union representing the workers.

A vast majority of employees voted to strike over contract negotiations, a union representative said.

“The overwhelming vote sends Republic Services the clearest possible message of how insulted and disrespected our members are by this company,” said Tommy Blitsch, Local 631 secretary-treasurer. “These workers will not hesitate to strike if things don’t change in the next three weeks.”

The workers' current contract expires at the end of the month. If a new one isn't agreed upon soon, the valley could see a major disruption in trash hauling.

Some locals expressed concern over what a Republic Services strike could mean for them.

"I'd get pretty worried," one Las Vegas resident said. "Sanitation is so important. If trash starts piling up, and we get diseases...it starts becoming a health issue."

"It's messed up," another local said. "You need to pay those people more. They are the most important people. Like, what are we going to do if this waste doesn't get cleaned up? What are we going to do?"

In a statement, Republic Services called the vote "a formality often pushed by unions as a way to put pressure on an employer." A spokesperson wrote, in part:

"We respect the rights of our employees to engage in the collective bargaining process and continue to negotiate in good faith to achieve fair and competitive labor contracts."

The union and Republic Services are expected to return to the negotiating table later this month, union representatives said. The teamsters' current contract expires on May 31.