Athens Services Workers Deserve Justice

  • Posted on 29 April 2019
  • By Grecia Lopez-Reyes (Don’t Waste LA Coalition)
The Sierra Club Angeles Chapter has played a major role in transforming and improving the City of LA’s commercial waste and recycling industry.  A decade ago, we joined forces with the Don’t Waste LA Coalition to create a high-road waste industry that prioritizes environmental sustainability, while simultaneously protecting the workers who make the industry function. 
Through a collective effort, the City of Los Angeles launched recycLA—which will enable the city to divert 90% of waste from landfills by 2025, lead to 2-million tons of GHG emissions being removed from the atmosphere, require clean fuel truck fleets, reduce traffic, and spur $200 million in new infrastructure investment, while also raising basic standards in the workplace for sanitation workers.  
Unfortunately, one of the waste haulers, Athens Services, is the subject of a recent complaint from the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, which alleges that Athens Services has committed violations of federal labor law, including worker intimidation, harassment, and retaliatory firing.    
Athens sanitation workers, who pick up trash under the City's recycLA program, provide a vital service to residents and businesses in L.A. neighborhoods. They're responsible for keeping our streets clean, and are on the front line of helping us achieve our City’s ambitious zero waste environmental goals as outlined in the RecycLA program.
While Athens Services enjoys a lucrative, exclusive franchise with the City (they were awarded the largest number of waste accounts in the RecycLA program), many of its workers make less than other workers who are contracted by the City to do the same work.  Also, despite the fact that waste collection is the 5th most dangerous occupation in the country, Athens Services does not currently provide affordable family healthcare insurance to all of its workers.
How You Can Help:
If you live, work, or attend a congregation in the City of LA, and believe that any worker who picks up trash in Los Angeles should be able to have a decent living and the ability to provide for their families, please show your support by signing this petition. 
Photos source: Grecia Lopez-Reyes        
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