Striking Massachusetts sanitation workers provide angry welcome outside Lincoln Center for billionaire Bill Gates

Jerry Leary (L), 31, and striking sanitation worker Bernard Egan-Mullen (R), 41, at Lincoln Center protest Wednesday. (Mikey Light / New York Daily News)

Two dozen striking Massachusetts sanitation workers were joined by dozens of New York Teamsters in a Wednesday morning protest urging billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to share the wealth with them.

"We’re here because Bill Gates is a 32% stockholder in our company," said Bernard Egan-Mulligan, one of the angry Republic Sanitation workers from Marshville, Mass. "We figure our shareholders would like to know what’s going on."

Gates ignored the demonstrators as he climbed from an SUV and headed into Lincoln Center for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual "Goalkeepers" event, an effort to "inspire a new generation of leaders."

The protesters greeted him by waving signs with a pointed message: "Bill Gates treats workers like garbage."

Egan-Mulligan said his group’s demonstration was intended to inspire some respect from their employer at the negotiating table. The workers went on strike beginning Aug. 29.

"Right now they’re not willing to negotiate with us," said Egan, who was already working at the Marshville facility when Republic took over. "They offered us a 2% raise, and no change in healthcare or retirement. The 2% increase — it’s 40 cents."

Veteran New York sanitation worker Allan Cammock, 44, was among the local union employees showing support for their New England brothers.

"I’m out here because I think they everyone who does this job, they deserve fair wages and a pension plan," said Cammock. "It’ll be good if everyone has the same thing across the board, because we do the same job."

The union employees were joined by Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who tore into Gates.

"It’s disgraceful that he can’t see what he’s doing to actual people," she said. "The hypocrisy of having a Gates Foundation, where you purport to go around to the rest of the world and give them money ... Meanwhile, at home, you’re screwing your own people? I don’t think so."

E-mails seeing comment from the Gates Foundation and Republic Sanitation were not immediately returned Wednesday.


Teamsters Local 728 Drivers at Republic Services in Cumming, GA, are also on strike.

Early Tuesday morning, Teamsters Local 25 Drivers at Republic Services Marshfield extended the picket line to Surf City Long Beach, CA. Members of Teamsters Local 396 are honoring the picket line. 



Teamsters Local 25 Republic Teamsters Marshfield extended their picket lines to Local 350 in San Jose, California, early this morning. "When faced with a greedy company like Republic, Teamsters take the fight to the streets from Boston to San Jose," said Sean O'Brien, Teamsters Local 25 President. "Greedy, cynical companies like Republic have to learn that when they take on the Teamsters in one city, they're taking on the entire Teamster union."

Additionally, Teamsters Local 315 workers in the North Bay are honoring Local 25 line at Local 350. Their transfer station tractor-trailer drivers are refusing to cross.


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