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Workers at Stericycle facility in north Toledo strike over wages, changes to health benefits

The company says they have brought in additional facility workers and drivers during the work stoppage.

About thirty workers at the Stericycle plant off Alexis Rd. in north Toledo are striking over wages and a change in their health benefits.

The workers, members of Teamster’s Local 20, have been on strike since last weekend.

A shift supervisor at Stericycle, one of the striking employees, says the main grievance for the walkout is a change made to the company’s health care provider.

According to the shift supervisor, before this year, employees paid into a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan at an 80/20 coinsurance rate with a $6,000 deductible for a family.

Earlier this year, however, Stericycle switched health care providers to United Health Care at a 60/40 coinsurance rate and a $13,000 deductible for a family.

Workers are demanding a pay increase to offset the new deductible and to freeze the deductible at that rate.

In addition, for a three-year contract, workers are asking for a 4 percent raise the first year and a 3 percent raise thereafter.

Their previous contract ended on June 19.

Stericycle says they have been negotiating in good faith with the union for about six months over a renewal to their collective bargaining agreement but workers decided to walk out rather than continue the negotiations.

The company says they have brought in additional facility workers and drivers during the work stoppage.

On Saturday evening, the company released a statement about the situation: 

Stericycle is proud to be part of the Toledo, Ohio, community, as we play an essential role in protecting people, promoting health, and safeguarding the environment through our regulated waste and compliance services and secure information destruction solutions.  

For approximately six months, we have been actively engaged in good faith negotiations with Teamsters Local 20 on a renewal collective bargaining agreement covering team members in our Toledo, Ohio location. Unfortunately, instead of engaging with us and providing advance notice of their intentions, the union has decided to engage in a work stoppage during a global pandemic.  

As a company that protects what matters, we have brought in additional facility workers and drivers to ensure we continue to provide our healthcare customers and our communities with essential services, especially as they deal with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We remain committed to bargaining in good faith and are hopeful that representatives from Teamsters Local 20 will come back to the bargaining table.

About 50 workers at a Warren, OH Stericycle plant also went on strike against the company earlier in the week over what they say are unfair labor practices.

The Stericycle plant in Toledo is a medical waste treatment facility that disposes of medical waste from as far away as Fort Wayne, Indiana to Detroit and Ann Arbor.

The strike comes amid a wave of organized labor action around the country, including ongoing large strikes at John Deere and Kellogg’s.

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