Teamsters Survey of Republic Services Employees Reveals Racial and Gender Discrimination of Frontline Sanitation Workers

WASHINGTON, January 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Calls for a Civil Rights Equity Audit of Republic Services, the Second Largest Waste and Recycling Company in the USA. The union, which represents about 7,000 members of Republic Service workers nationwide, today released a disturbing employee survey in which a majority of workers of color raised concerns about discrimination and mistreatment. .

With responses from 368 drivers, mechanics, administrative and support staff, managers and other front-line workers, the Teamsters survey revealed 46% of Black respondents and 41% of Hispanic or Latino respondents had witnessed or experienced discrimination at their employer.

Other survey findings include:

  • 57% of black workers, 34% of Hispanic or Latino workers, and 42% of workers of color overall said they could “never” or “rarely” report concerns about discrimination in the workplace without cause problems.
  • 55% of black workers, 48% of Hispanic or Latino workers and 46% of workers of color overall said leaders would “never” or “rarely” listen with empathy and understanding if they raised concerns regarding discrimination in the workplace.
  • 58% of black workers, 48% of Hispanic or Latino workers and 48% of workers of color overall said senior leaders would ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ take meaningful corrective action if they raised concerns regarding discrimination in the workplace.

The investigation reinforces concerns raised by the Teamsters in a recently submitted shareholder proposal, which urges Republic Services’ board of directors to “oversee a third-party audit analyzing the negative impact of Republic’s policies and practices on Civil Rights of Business Stakeholders” and release a report with recommendations to improve the Republic’s impact on civil rights.

The shareholder proposal goes on to cite that additional disclosure is needed regarding the impact of Republic’s facilities, which include landfills, on surrounding communities. Republic has not currently disclosed meaningful data about its footprint and the socio-demographics of these communities, despite historical environmental racism within the trash industry. The union is also asking Republic to assess its gap in the racial makeup of dangerous front-line operations versus lucrative and much safer leadership positions.

“The Teamsters shareholder proposal shows how important it is for Republic Services to carefully consider how it treats its frontline essential workers with respect to issues of race and gender,” said the Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer, Ken Hall. “We urge the Board to undertake this effort, to be transparent with its stakeholders and shareholders, and most importantly to identify the actual steps and goals to create meaningful change. If Republic is truly committed to its diversity efforts and inclusion, it should not be afraid of having an independent audit and welcoming the opportunity to address systemic issues of discrimination.”

Similar proposals received massive support when they first surfaced during last year’s proxy season, with notable votes from major financial institutions, tech companies and pharmaceutical companies. A recent public issue by Just Capital survey also found that the top sustainability goal for Americans was worker issues, with respondents rating it at 40%.

At Republic, a civil rights equity audit would be especially important given how dangerous the front lines are and how black and brown employees make up nearly half of the frontline workforce. The publication of the survey on Martin Luther King jr. The day has significance for these workers — Dr. King was murdered in 1968 at Memphisright after speaking to a group of striking sanitation workers who were facing extremely dangerous conditions, low wages and a long pattern of neglect and abuse of black employees.

Media Contact: Rachel Magnin, [email protected](310) 425-2100

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters