ATLANTA - Sanitation workers in Atlanta went on strike at the stroke of midnight, Friday. It's the latest of a situation that's been brewing for a while now.
Workers with Republic Services told 11Alive they've been working trying to negotiate with the company since May but those talks came to a stand-still at the end of July along with their contract.
Right now, low wages and high insurance costs are their major complaints.
The strike could impact several major entities like Atlanta Public Schools, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Emory Midtown Hospital, Phipps Plaza, various apartment communities, and more.
When 11Alive spoke with workers earlier in the week, they said they're willing to risk wages for better pay and insurance along with respect.
Sanitation strikes are nothing new. One of the more famous ones happened 50 years ago when Dr. Martin Luther King led the Memphis Satiation Workers' Strike. And just 5 years ago in McDonough, Georgia workers staged a strike against the same company - Republic Services - over federal labor law violations.
"[We're] Hoping that the company is going to see, and they are going to realize that we are the backbone of the company. We are the one who pick up the garbage. We are the one who do the job," Rafael Castellan recently told 11Alive. "We deserve dignity and respect."
About 120 workers now on strike. 11Alive reached out to Republic Services for comment but have not heard back.