Drivers and Helpers at Metro Atlanta Tire Recycler Ratify Agreement
ATLANTA, July 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — This morning, drivers and helpers at Liberty Tire Recycling voted unanimously in favor of a first contract with Teamsters Local 728. The agreement contains significant wage increases, seniority language, a grievance procedure and stronger security for the 40-worker unit.
“We learned a lot throughout this process,” said Laba Mbengue, a 15-year driver at Liberty and one of the lead members of Local 728’s bargaining committee. “When we decided to organize, things were really bad. We had no rights, no raise, and conditions were awful. We had one raise in 15 years – for a penny! All these years, we were suffering. Then the Teamsters came in and everything changed. It’s totally different. Management treats us with respect now. A new life has started all because of the Teamsters, and everyone is happy to have won this incredible contract. It’s better than we could have ever imagined. We got together and fought for our rights, and now we see the results. It’s truly life-changing.”
Mbengue and his co-workers reached out to the Teamsters in early Sept. 2021, seeking improved working conditions, higher wages and better benefits. On Oct. 15, workers voted overwhelmingly in favor of representation with Local 728. Since then, they have played an active role in negotiations and become active members of the union.
“Becoming a Teamster has changed everything for us,” said Luis Herrera, a 25-year driver for Liberty Tire and member of the worker-led organizing committee. “This contract means a lot to us. We fought hard for this day, and we are proud of what we have accomplished. Now that we have our Teamster contract, we will be able to work and live better.”
Additional highlights in the new agreement include an increase in boot and phone allowance, a Christmas bonus, an increase in vacation and holiday pay, and Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday.
“Throughout the organizing and contract campaigns, these workers showed incredible strength and solidarity. From the very start, these dedicated workers were united for a better way of life. This ratification vote reflects their determination to win the protection of a strong union contract,” said Chuck Stiles, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division and Vice President of Local 728. “I want to thank everyone who made this victory possible, including Local 728 President Matt Higdon and Business Agent Eric Mossaro. I also want to thank International Organizer Rick Hernandez for breaking the language barrier and all his hard work during negotiations. Most of all, I want to thank and congratulate the workers for their commitment to win a union voice.”
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Liberty Tire is one of the largest tire recycling services in the U.S., employing more than 2,700 workers nationwide.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.2 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
Daniel Moskowitz, (770) 262-4971
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SOURCE Teamsters Local 728, Atlanta