California recycling workers are beginning to fight back against poor work conditions. Workers complain they are being subjected to dangerous conditions while working and are receiving low wages. They are now beginning to gather and speak out against those workplace issues, but feel like they may be experiencing backlash by some of the corporations within the industry. Workers in the recycling business may be more prone to suffering an injury on the job. One of the advocates for these employees works for an organization that just recently issued a report claiming illness and injury on the job in this career field keeps people out of work at a rate five times higher than other industries combined.
Workers claim everyday they are subjected to hazards from materials inside recycling bins. At any given time, they may find syringes, chemicals, asbestos, animal waste and other unsavory and dangerous items. They say they inhale large amounts of dust and fear for their health in the future. Workers are reportedly given masks and gloves, both of which become worn down and dirty after just a single day of work.
Workers also claim supervisors become angered when they request newer safety equipment. The company refutes its worker’s claims and claims the California plant is one of the safest facilities in the nation. In the past, it has received fines linked to the deaths of two recycling workers but has appealed both the fines and the citations issued against it.
California recycling workers hope to gain additional pay and safer conditions soon. Growing public support for their cause may assist them as they begin to speak out against the workplace hazards they experience. When an employee sustains an injury on the job, it can mean serious physical harm and lost wages, something many of these people cannot afford. Workers’ compensation can assist them with those costs and help them while they recover enough to be able to return to work.
Source: East Bay Express, “Recycling Workers Fight Back,” Jean Tepperman, Feb. 13, 2013