By Michael Roknick
Herald Business Editor
Sharpsville residents may get their trash picked up as normal Friday morning. Then again, maybe they won’t.
Regardless, Borough Manager Ken Robertson is telling residents to place their garbage at curbside Thursday night with the hopes it will be picked up.
The on-again, off-again strike by union workers at Republic Services/Allied Waste near Youngstown has meant on-again, off-again pickup over the last month for Sharpsville and New Wilmington residents. Members of Teamsters Local 377, representing 23 sanitation workers, on March 27 struck Allied’s Carbon Limestone landfill in Lowellville, Ohio. Union leaders said the company wasn’t bargaining in good faith for a new labor contract and was intimidating workers.
Replacement workers were called in to fill the vacant union spots. But Allied had a difficult time keeping a normal pickup schedule.
Sharpsville and New Wilmington have contracts with Republic for garbage removal. Some Brookfield residents also use the company’s services.
Striking workers returned to their jobs after Easter and negotiations resumed but soon reached an impasse and the strike was back on, affecting about 100,000 Republic customers in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The strike delayed pickups last week, but Allied union workers have once again returned to work and the company is trying to get pickups back on a regular schedule.
New Wilmington has been told to expect a normal Thursday pickup.
As for Sharpsville, Robertson said the company is still running behind schedule.
“People should put out their garbage for a Friday pickup but they may not be able to get to the whole town until Saturday. The company has tried to be very responsive. That’s what we want and expect, and that’s what we pay for.’’
Talks between the Teamsters and Allied are ongoing.
Among the Teamsters’ complaints is a company proposal to change pensions to a 401(k) program and that Republic was taking up to $140 a month out of workers’ paychecks for health insurance “tobacco’’ or “spouse’’ surcharges, even if the worker doesn’t smoke or their spouses have other insurance options.
Picket lines were extended to six other Republic locations in Ohio cities: Youngstown, Columbus, Canton, Elyria and Cleveland. Republic sites in other states such as Georgia and Tennessee also have seen pickets.
Company officials have repeatedly refused to return messages.