Friday, May 8, 2015

Recycle workers in East Bay looking forward to $20/hour wages

The Oakland Warehouse workers union, Local 6 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, has adopted a unique strategy as they seek to improve the lives of recycling sorters in the East Bay. The strategy involves building a coalition of community groups including environmental and social justice organizations, then jointly lobbying city governments to raise residential trash pick-up rates so that the workers can be paid a living wage. The truck drivers who cruise the neighborhoods picking up the trash have long been covered by union contracts. But inside the giant sheds where recycling collections are sorted and repacked for sale to other users, wages have hovered right around the state minimum wage. The new union strategy has begun to show dramatic results for some of the lowest paid workers in the Bay area. Tom Herriman reports from Oakland.