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Trash Workers Earn California Overtime Pay from Strike Action

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Palo Alto, CAHere's a great California overtime story that carries a happy ending for some, a frustration for others and—for the workers directly affected—the sense that they may have won a bit of a lottery when they collected California overtime pay for doing work missed when they were on strike.

The 8/31/10 edition of the Palo Alto Daily News tells the tale of 250 Allied Waste employees who are members of the Teamsters Local 350. In support of fellow workers embroiled in contract negotiations or other issues with their employer, the union held a two-day strike on August 25 and 26, during which time garbage piled up and went uncollected in San Mateo County.

The workers were then in line for overtime pay, for collecting the trash they failed to pick up during the two days they were on strike. They returned to their jobs on August 27.

According to the terms of their contract, Allied workers are paid time-and-a-half for working in excess of eight hours on any given day, and / or for working Saturdays. Workers receive double that rate in California overtime pay for toiling on Sundays.

In this case, waste collection workers on had already picked up a lot of the missed trash two days prior to August 27. The remainder of the trash that workers refused to collect during the two days of their strike was picked up all day Saturday (at time-and-a-half in California overtime pay) and double-time-and-a-half on the morning of Sunday, August 29, by which the job was finished.

Jim Furgas, recording secretary for Local 350, maintained that the union did not hold the two-day strike simply to have the opportunity to earn overtime pay to pick up the trash missed while they were on strike.

It should be noted that none of the garbage collectors represented by the union and participating in the two-day strike received strike pay.

The union walked out in support of about a dozen workers at the company's Ox Mountain Landfill who have been without contracts since December 31, and about 40 predominately female customer service representatives at Allied Waste's San Carlos transfer station who allegedly are not given wages and benefits equal to their male coworkers.

Outstanding garbage now collected and California labor overtime pay now in their back pockets, the Teamsters are heading back to the bargaining table. It is not known what outdoor temperatures prevailed in that part of California during the two summer days the Teamsters chose to go out on strike. The action affected some 36,000 residents whose trash was not picked up in a timely manner.

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