GFL Environmental Inc. is a North American environmental services company providing waste management, infrastructure and soil remediation, and liquid waste solutions to customers in the industrial, commercial, and institutional sectors. With over 140 facilities and more than 10,000 employees, GFL operates across Canada and the United States. The company offers services such as solid waste collection and disposal, hazardous waste management, liquid waste management, soil remediation, and infrastructure services.
However, recent reports have raised concerns about GFL's labor relations practices. Research conducted by LaborLab has found that the company hired Scott Michel, Senior Labor Consultant at Reliant Labor Consultants, a firm that specializes in union busting. Michel, who spent 20 years with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is "persuading" employees not to unionize. It is not uncommon for some anti-union persuaders to have once been union representatives who were seduced by big paychecks.
GFL has not disclosed any financial relationships with union-busting consultants, and neither has Scott Michel nor Reliant Labor Consultants. Reliant Labor Consultants' 2021 and 2022 financial disclosures are delinquent, but it is known that in 2022, they made over $600,000 in union busting contracts.
Unionization gives employees a collective bargaining voice, often leading to improved working conditions, better pay, and greater job security. Companies that engage in union-busting tactics are often criticized for being anti-worker and anti-labor.
GFL Environmental Inc. should be transparent about its labor relations practices, disclose any financial relationships with union-busting consultants, and respect the rights of its employees to unionize if they choose to do so. The company's hiring of Scott Michel, a former union leader and organizer, to "persuade" employees not to unionize raises questions about GFL's commitment to fair labor practices.
Published April 24, 2023