5 Facts regarding the OE324 bannering action against Green For Life (GFL)

5 Facts regarding the bannering action against Green For Life (GFL)

1) Green For Life (GFL) is the 4th largest waste management company in North America, and their presence in the Metro Detroit area is significant.

Green For Life (GFL) is based in Ontario, Canada, and is the 4th largest “diversified environmental services” company in North America, with facilities throughout Canada and in more than half of US states.  They claim a workforce of over 20,000 employees, are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (where their stock has doubled since March 2020) and claimed revenue of 8 billion dollars in 2023. They have increased their market share, including an outsized presence in the Metro Detroit area, by acquiring smaller waste management companies.  In 2023 alone, they completed acquisitions generating $355 million.

2) Workers at GFL in Wayne, Michigan voted to join Operating Engineers 324 for representation.

In 2022, the workers at Green For Life in Wayne, Michigan contacted Operating Engineers 324 (OE324), a union representing almost 15,000 Heavy Equipment Operators, Technicians, and Stationary Engineers, for representation.  Operating Engineers 324 also represents workers in the waste management industry.    This was a decision driven by the employees.  GFL invested considerable time and resources into deterring the unionization, spending close to a half-million dollars in union-busting efforts. This was despite GFL operations in Canada being largely union affiliated. The employees instead voted to join OE324 for representation with a considerable margin.

3) Since the start of contract talks in 2023, GFL has simultaneously mistreated union member workers while refusing to move negotiations forward.

Operating Engineers immediately began engaging GFL in good faith negotiations to achieve a contract with increased wages (currently below industry standard), better benefits, and improved working conditions. GFL responded by ‘slow walking’ these negotiations.  While repeatedly offering minimal progress in negotiation, if any at all, GFL began a pressure campaign on workers wages, rules, and even their employment.

4) The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) complaint charging GFL with numerous violations of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) including withholding workers’ wages.

After the election in which workers selected OE324 for representation, the Regional Director of the Detroit NLRB office  alleged that  GFL engaged in unfair labor practices, including:

  • Withholding wages, including the 2023 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) given to other employees.
  • Discharging 24 employees.
  • Refusal to Bargain in Good Faith
  • Assorted additional bad faith or punitive measures against workers and the negotiation process.

The wages and backpay from discharges equal nearly $1.2 million dollars in back pay.

5) Operating Engineers 324 is bannering to make the public and GFL customers aware of its labor dispute against GFL’s actions and tactics in mistreating their employees.

Operating Engineers 324 wants the public, as well as GFL’s customers, to be aware of their actions against their own employees.  Waste management comprises difficult, hard, but very necessary jobs.  The employees are demanding their efforts be recognized and that they be treated fairly and with dignity and respect.  GFL has been unwilling to offer that, and it is only fair that this is made public.  Only then can the public make informed decisions about their waste management needs.