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Teamsters with the Solid Waste and Recycling Division, and Beth Roach, a community activist from Wayne County, Georgia, attended Republic Services Inc.’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Phoenix, decrying the company’s mismanagement of its landfills and the lack of care and respect for affected communities.

The company’s alleged indifference seems to extend to its board of directors who, other than the chief executive officer, failed to attend the annual shareholders’ meeting in person or by phone. Mismanagement at Republic’s landfills is stoking rising costs and the company is facing an intensified push for greater accountability, remediation and relocation of those communities directly impacted.

“The board’s lack of involvement is deeply troubling and unacceptable,” said Ken Hall, Teamsters general secretary-treasurer. “Shareholders demand our directors be present and accountable. How can we be confident that Republic’s board of directors is representing the shareholders’ interests and effectively overseeing management when they do not even show up for the annual meeting?”

The Teamsters Union represents thousands of sanitation workers at the company in many locations throughout the country.

An underground fire has been raging for five years at Republic’s West Lake complex in Bridgeton, Missouri. The complex contains thousands of tons of illegally-dumped radioactive nuclear wastes in an unlined landfill. The subsurface fire is moving closer to the nuclear waste and is releasing toxic chemicals.

Roach is from a community affected by a toxic spill arising from Republic’s landfilling of out of state coal ash, behind the backs of the local residents.

“They’ve already spilled beryllium and who knows whatever else into our water,” Roach said. “And now Republic wants to get a permit to massively expand toxic coal ash dumping in our community. They already have shown they can’t handle this waste in an appropriate manner.”

Published in the August 2016 Edition of American Recycler News