October 30, 2014

Fremont votes big raises for recycling workers

Fremont recycling worker Maria Navarro has been supporting her children on low wages for the past five years. She and others brought their children to ask the City Council for better pay. Photo courtesy International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

Fremont recycling worker Maria Navarro has been supporting her children on low wages for the past five years. She and others brought their children to ask the City Council for better pay. Photo courtesy International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

On Dec. 10 the Fremont City Council approved a fee increase to provide for a wage increase for 65 workers at the Fremont transfer station. Over six years, sorters’ wages will increase from $13.90 per hour to $20.94 per hour. Other workers will receive similar wage increases.

While workers’ wages will rise significantly, rates for Fremont rate payers will increase by only about $.32 per month. This shows that when a city, its service provider, and workers and their union all work together, it is possible to solve the problem of poverty wages in the recycling industry.

As participants in the Alameda Sustainable Recycling Campaign, the Sierra Club Bay Chapter hopes that Fremont will serve as a model for other communities in Alameda County, particularly Oakland. On Dec. 17, 24 recycling workers attended the Public Works Committee meeting in Oakland to show support for including a wage-and-benefits standard in the Oakland franchise agreement.

Recycling workers employed by BLT in Fremont are members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 6. They’re working with the Sierra Club and other groups to improve pay and services in the recycling industry--part of an effort to achieve Zero Waste.

Recycling workers employed by BLT in Fremont are members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 6. They’re working with the Sierra Club and other groups to improve pay and services in the recycling industry–part of an effort to achieve Zero Waste.

Workers Jose Romero and Yadira Carrasco thanked Councilmembers Gallo and Kalb for their public support of their campaign and urged all councilmembers to work to include a standard in the contract.

Ruth C. Abbe, Sierra Club Bay Chapter Zero Waste Committee

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