Waste Workers at Allstate Power Vac Rally Against Low Pay
BROOKLYN, NY – Workers at Allstate Power Vac, who clean hazardous waste spills and high-voltage electrical infrastructure, rallied outside the company’s office Wednesday. The workers are calling for a union contract, several months after voting to join Teamsters Local 813.
“These workers voted to form a union six months ago, but Allstate Power Vac is still dragging its feet on negotiating a contract,” said Sean Campbell, President of Teamsters Local 813, which represents private sanitation workers in New York City. “The problems faced by Allstate workers are endemic among sanitation companies – low pay, hazardous conditions, and disrespectful employers. We are rallying to get Allstate Power Vac workers the pay and safe working conditions that they deserve.”
Allstate Power Vac starts new workers at close to the minimum wage ($12-$13/hour) and endangers temp workers by putting them on the job untrained – one suffered a bad electrocution. Employees fear being disciplined if they try to refuse unsafe work.
“We do the dirty and dangerous work that New Yorkers don’t want to have to think about,” said Josh Morris, a field technician, who has worked at Allstate for six years. “We clean up oil spills. We clean underground electrical transformers so they can be serviced. We risk our safety and our lives every day because this work is important, but we are paid like anyone could do this job. I wanted to make things better for myself and my coworkers, but when I joined the union negotiating committee, my employer retaliated by demoting me to the lowest position and threatening to fire me. Allstate Power Vac needs to take our safety and our livelihoods seriously.”
After voting in November 2015 to unionize with the Teamsters, Allstate Power Vac workers are still fighting for their first contract as negotiations proceed at a glacial pace.
Allstate workers operate flush trucks that power wash and vacuum underground electrical equipment in preparation for maintenance by utilities. They also perform environmental remediation, hazardous waste cleanups, and cleaning of oil tanks and boilers.
Allstate workers were joined by other Teamster locals and members from across the New York area. Councilmember Rory Lancman and State Senator José Peralta also attended the rally.
The rally is the latest mobilization of waste workers in New York City, where Local 813 is working to raise wages and combat widespread workplace safety deficiencies.
Contact: Alex Moore, 718-289-0204, firstname.lastname@example.org