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Stericycle workers picket over health plan change

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 7:44 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Almost 30 workers are walking the picket line at Stericycle medical waste disposal plant on Alexis Road.

Employees hit the picket line at midnight on Sunday.

They say they are striking over a reduction in wages and benefits.

Mark Schmiehausen is the Principal Officer at the Teamsters Local 20 that represents the workers.

He says these employees showed up faithfully every day during the pandemic as essential workers disposing of very dangerous bio-hazardous medical waste.

And he says they deserve better when it comes to protecting their health. “Prior to January of 2021 we had an 80/20 plan. It was a good plan, it was affordable to the membership. Since then it has gone down to a 60/40 plan and Stericycle is self-insured. It’s a high deductible plan. Major max out-of-pockets co-pay has gone way up. The weekly contribution that the members pay has gone up.”

But Schmiehausen says contract talks are now at a standstill. “The CEO has come out and said their main goal is protecting their team workers. And this is how they protect their team members by reducing their insurance to protect our members and their families.”

Bert Westfall has worked at the plant for 35 years and says “It’s just unfortunate. We don’t want to be out here - they don’t want us to be out here. It’s just an evil game right now.”

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