Potomac Disposal workers strike in protest against an immigration enforcement threat on Sept. 9, 2013. Photo courtesy of the Laborers' International Union of North America, Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizing Coalition.
A sign on the gate said that the company had no work for employees on strike, Duarte said.
But by 7:30 a.m., a representative for Potomac Disposal had contacted a union representative, and discussions were underway to get the workers back to work, Duarte said. Duarte attributed the start of the discussions to early morning news coverage of the lockout.
In the early morning interim, however, one of the workers standing outside the gate was hit by a garbage truck. The incident was reported to police at around 6:45 a.m. at Woodfield and Airpark roads, Rebecca Innocenti, a Montgomery County police spokeswoman, said.
The truck was a Potomac Disposal truck leaving the company's headquarters, Duarte told Patch.
The trash truck was going too fast to negotiate a turn and jumped the curb, striking the worker on the sidewalk near the company's entrance, Innocenti said. The worker—an adult male—was taken to the hospital with injuries that were serious but not considered life-threatening, Gaithersburg Patch reported.
About 50 of the 57 workers for the trash collection company—which serves much of Montgomery County—went on strike Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 9 and 10, to protest an alleged immigration enforcement threat. Last Friday—the day after workers (most of whom are Hispanic) signed a letter asking for health insurance benefits and higher pay, Potomac Disposal management attached new I-9 (employment eligibility verification) forms to employees’ time cards, asking employees to verify their immigration status, Patch reported.
Currently, trash collection truck drivers for the business make between $120 and $130 a day (before taxes), while those who load trash into the trucks make between $60 and $70 a day, Duarte said.
Workers wished to return to work on Wednesday because they felt that they had made their point, and because they needed to offer to return to work to get their jobs back, Duarte said.
"By law, once striking workers have indicated they will return to work, their employer must accept them back," Duarte added.