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Trash Collector Strike In Maryland Enters Fourth Day

Friday will be day four of a garbage strike in parts of Montgomery and Howard counties, and some of the striking workers say they've been fired for hitting the picket line.

Trash collectors for Unity Disposal and Recycling went on strike Tuesday, claiming the company was intimidating and retaliating against them because they were trying to unionize. Two days into that strike, workers say 47 of them were fired by Unity, and they are now filing complaints with the National Labor Relations Board and the Montgomery County Council.

Those who went on strike do not comprise all the trash collectors for Unity. Emails and voicemails left with Unity by WAMU seeking comment were not returned.

In a statement, the fired workers claim Unity is also using subcontracted workers and paying them Maryland's minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, well beneath the living wage of almost $14 which they claim is mandated by Montgomery County law. The strike by Unity workers affects not just Montgomery County however, but also parts of Howard County.

Meanwhile, trash collectors for Potomac Disposal are on strike for a third day. They're protesting a contract offer from the company they say does not offer affordable health insurance. It's the second time in a month Potomac collectors are picketing. Their strike solely affects garbage pickups in Montgomery County.

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