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Workers and union begin bannering action to inform public about unfair treatment and labor practices by GFL

Metro Detroit waste company treats employees like trash

Workers and union begin bannering action to inform public about unfair treatment and labor practices

WAYNE, Michigan – Employees at Green for Life, North America’s fourth-largest waste company that serves communities in metro Detroit, are raising awareness about the company’s refusal to pay their workers fair wages and benefits, create a better work environment,  and engaging in unfair practices. GFL’s 150 employees at Wayne are union members of Operating Engineers 324, which has been trying to negotiate with GFL in good faith to reach a contract that raises worker wages and benefits – currently below the industry standard – and improves workplace safety.

The employees and Operating Engineers 324 have begun bannering GFL’s Michigan headquarters, as well as customers of the waste-management giant, in an effort to inform those customers and the public at large of the company’s seeming unwillingness to a fair contract.

“People and customers deserve to know the hardworking men and women at Green For Life are significantly undercompensated, even as they do some of the most difficult, essential, and potentially dangerous work in their communities,” said Douglas Stockwell, OE324 Business Manager. “GFL workers and this union are simply asking for fair treatment from their employer, which reports billions of dollars in revenue and can surely afford to pay their employees a fair wage and benefits.”

Ontario-based GFL has made little progress in negotiations, including using delay tactics, even as it pressures workers through rule changes and threats to wages and even continued employment. GFL employees are currently engaged in a banner action to make the public and GFL customers aware of their labor dispute against GFL’s actions and tactics in mistreating their employees so consumers can make informed decisions about their waste management needs.

“GFL has consistently refused to treat us, their employees, with dignity or respect”, said GFL driver Ernie Schiffer. “That is why we organized. Since then, GFL has actually made things worse by withholding our promised cost-of-living wage increase with inflation squeezing us tighter. We are fighting for better working conditions and fair wages because the work we do is vital and makes GFL a lot of profit. The public should know just how little respect GFL has for its American workers.”

GFL driver Alontayi Henley said: “GFL employees work hard every day to help the company succeed and keep their customers satisfied. We have been able to do this despite constant challenges from management, unfair treatment, and a lack of respect. We are trying to raise awareness with the public that GFL is not treating employees with the dignity and fairness we deserve. We are asking that GFL treat us like assets to the company, and negotiate to get us a contract that addresses these issues: a safer work environment, fair wages and benefits, and the back pay we’ve earned.”

The National Labor Relations Board has issued an unfair labor practice complaint charging GFL  with violations of the National Labor Relations Act, including withholding workers’ wages, discharging 24 employees, refusing to bargain in good faith and using other punitive measures against its own employees, such as withholding cost-of-living wage adjustments. The wages and backpay from discharges equal nearly $1.2 million.

GFL has facilities throughout Canada and in more than half of U.S. states. Publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, GFL’s stock has doubled in value since 2020. The company reported revenue of $8 billion in 2023 and completed acquisitions of smaller waste management companies in 2023 that generated $355 million.

OE324 represents 15,000 workers that include heavy equipment operators, technicians, stationary engineers and workers in the waste management industry, among others. GFL employees voted overwhelmingly to join OE324 in 2022, despite a union busting effort from GFL estimated to cost the company more than $250,000. GFL’s operations in Canada are largely unionized.