It's crunch time


Striking Teamsters Copyright © 2004 Debra Reid, The Daily Sparks Tribune

Late-breaking News & Bulletins

Update: Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 6:12 p.m. PDT

MAY MARCHES ON — Teamsters strike major liquor distributor

Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 4:40 a.m. PDT

RENO (May 24) — KOLO TV-8 reported on its 6:30 p.m. newscast that a neighborhood in the Whitney Circle area of north Sparks has been without trash pickup for 11 days. The Teamsters strike against Waste Management ended on May 15. On its 11:00 p.m. newscast, Channel 8 reported that the media exposure apparently motivated WM to get north Sparks picked up. However, the Sparks story prompted a call from residents in the Wooster High School area near the Reno airport who made a similar complaint. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 15, 2004, 4:47 p.m. PDT

RENO — Voting began just before 3:00 p.m. PDT. After five hours of discussion and deliberation, striking Teamsters voted 137-41 in favor of a new three-year contract with Waste Management. Workers will return to work this evening. More soon. (CROWTIME: broke the story on May 7 and with the above posting became the first to publish its conclusion. Go to the May 16 Barbwire for links to some of the many publications worldwide which ran the story with our quotes included.)

Postmortems: Reno Gazette-Journal 5-16-2004

Associated Press 5-15-2004


May 14, 2004, strike update page

May 12, 2004, strike update page strike report
Saturday contract approval moves from likely to crapshoot
News and commentary by Andrew Barbano

RENO, NV (Saturday, May 15, 2004) — Today, about 280 Teamsters among Waste Management's 350 northwestern Nevada disposal workers will vote on a new contract. They will meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Carpenters Union building in Reno at 1150 Terminal Way.

Terminal might well describe the status of the contract proposal.

The outlook in the garbage strike has gone from optimism to coin toss since negotiations closed Thursday.

The company sent its final proposal to the union at mid-day Friday. As often happens in any negotiation, the party drafting the document added a few twists.

But local Waste Management general manager Greg Martinelli personally kinked the agreement into the doubtful category.

Union negotiators were prepared to endorse it until Martinelli altered the shake-hands deal of Thursday.

After saying essentially "we have this much money to put in play and no more," the company agreed to allow union members to channel the available funds in any direction they desire. The overwhelming sentiment of the members is for the lion's share to go toward retirement.

When Martinelli backed off on Friday by wanting to place limits on the direction, union negotiators decided to withdraw their endorsement of the proposal. Contrary to what KRNV TV-4 reported at 11:00 p.m. on Friday evening, May 14, union leaders will not recommend that the deal be voted down. They will let the members decide. (Click here for today's Reno Gazette-Journal story.)

RAT PATROL — A striking Teamster, above, watches an egg-sucking rat from Montana haul Reno rail trench dirt to the Lockwood Landfill. The Reno Gazette-Journal on Friday rubbed salt into sanitation worker wounds. Veteran reporter Susan Voyles wrote that your tax dollars — which will be paying for Reno's $260 million+ gift to Union Pacific (better known as the downtown railroad trench) until ex-President Jenna Bush is well along on writing the memoirs of her eight years in the Oval Office — your money is being spent to hire non-union drivers from Trans-Systems of Billings, MT, to haul contaminated dirt from the trench to the Lockwood Landfill. Read it and weep Better yet, get ahold of Reno City Hall.

If not for the substantial political support which organized labor, including the Teamsters Union, gave the trench, it would not be under construction today. For their thanks, the union garbage workers get rats crossing their lines at the dump.

Let your local officials know about it. Click here for complete Reno-Sparks-Washoe County contact information. Tell 'em the Barbwire sent you by. (Photo © 2004 Edwward Heston/IBT 533)

The unwinding of the oral agreement also means that the union will not drop its growing list of illegal and unfair labor practice charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board. Evidence of new alleged illegalities will now be brought forward to federal regulators.

The motivated and militant workers are part of an increasingly pugnacious international union.
The last three major strikes in northern Nevada have had Teamsters involvement. Only California-Nevada solidarity from the Teamsters resulted in organized labor's upset victory in the Hot August Strike at Hot August Nights in 1996. As a result, the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America won Nevada's first-ever security guard union contract at the Reno Hilton.

Teamsters locally were thus well prepared to participate in the national strike against UPS in 1997
The Regional Transportation Commission's unionbusting subcontractor brought in strikebreakers without permission when the Teamsters contract was up for renewal in 1999. A bus strike was avoided but RTC commissioners voted over union objections to let the taxpayers fund the unauthorized strikebreakers anyway. It was only public money, so it was apparently unimportant to them.

These hard feelings paved the way for the Teamsters great Reno-Sparks bus strike of 2002. Archives documenting all of the above may found at

The garbage, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
Reno News & Review 5-13-2004



ON FRIDAY, May 14, the RGJ confirmed the story of the evacuation of Sierra Pacific Power's corporate HQ, news of which we distributed two days earlier. Apparently, a rat driver didn't know that you're supposed to check for clearance in an enclosed area. Hoisting a trash compactor, he broke an overhead fire sprinkler which set off the building's alarms. SPP HQ on Neil Road houses the nerve center for the region's electrical grid. And that's not the most egregious of wholesale safety violations.

Sierra Pacific's employees have done the labor movement proud. We've gotten reports of SPP service trucks turning around at the sight of a picket line at the Lockwood Landfill. (Probably members of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245.)

ABOVE: Strikebreakers on the job. The man on the left is not wearing steel-toed boots, a serious safety violation. But who cares? Apparently not Waste Management. (Photo © 2004 Tim Harville/IBT 533)


I also suggest that you do your bit by taking your recycling to Waste Management corporate headquarters at 100 Vassar Street, one block east of S. Virginia in Reno. Recycling won't be picked up until the trash backlog is cleared, and that gets further away every day. So lodge a properly physical protest by running your recycling to the house that garbage built. Tell 'em the Barbwire sent you by.


THIS JUST IN — I ASSUME YOU KNOW THAT WM has AN AUTOMATIC cost of living adjustment AND GOT OVER 4% THIS YEAR > > (Washoe County Commissioner) PETE SFERRAZZA.

Dear Pete: I didn't know it, but I'm sure the Teamsters do. This is just like RTC's deal. Their subcontractor, Ryder ATE, gets a larger COLA than the workers, who don't keep up with inflation. I'll post this note on the website strike page. People need to know this. Thanks for the info.


Keep them cards and letters coming in.

Be well. Raise hell.









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