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Fall River Sanitation Workers and City Administration Headed to Mediation

Tuesday, July, 12, 2016

The Department of Labor Relations recently approved non-binding mediation to attempt to settle the dispute between the city’s sanitation union workers and the city. There are currently 24 sanitation workers facing layoffs due to the administration deciding to privatize trash pickup for the city. 


The sanitation workers are part of Teamsters Local 251. The union workers recently filed a petition requesting mediation, as well as a fact-finding mission. In their request they stated the attempts to reach an agreement with the city had reached an impasse. 


A mediator has already been assigned and there was notice given that she will contact both sides to discuss the matter further. The two sides are waiting on a labor agency decision about moving forward with complaints from the union and the administration concerning unfair labor practices. 


The discussion between the mayor and the union ceased at the end of April when the administration officially declared an impasse. At that time the mayor announced he would privative waste hauling and hires EZ Disposal Service, a company that operates out of Revere. The mayor scheduled privatization for July 1 and notified the union their contract would terminate June 30.  


According to the City Administrator, the city was not aware of an appointed mediator when notice was sent, but agreed to enter into mediation, acknowledging the city just didn’t want to stop the process from moving forward, even if mediation results in a different outcome.  


The union attorney stated the mediation will cover issues such as the sanitation workers’ contracts, and she pointed out that under state law, the city is not permitted to make unilateral changes, including privatization.