A days-long, regionwide strike against Waste Management by its recycling and garbage truck drivers will likely be over as of tomorrow, thanks to successful negotiations that resulted in a new multi-year contract, the company and Teamsters Local 117 announced this evening.
The strike began last week when recycling truck drivers began picketing Waste Management after the company broke off negotiations on a new contract. After the strike began, Waste Management’s garbage truck drivers (who have a separate contract) walked off the job in solidarity with their brothers and sisters, resulting in missed curbside pickups across the region, from Seattle to Redmond to Auburn.
As recently as a few hours ago, it appeared the two sides were at loggerheads, and the strike would be continuing for some time. Waste Management revealed yesterday that it was preparing to bring in replacement drivers, which justifiably drew condemnation from the Teamsters. But now it appears this labor dispute is over. Here’s Waste Management’s statement on the resolution of the strike:
Waste Management and Teamsters Local 117 have reached a tentative agreement on a new 6‑year contract. Teamster leadership and the bargaining committee will fully recommend that members approve the new contract at the ratification vote scheduled for 9:00am on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at the Union Hall in Tukwila.
Garbage drivers will return to work in the morning and begin servicing their regular Thursday collection routes. However, due to the timing of the ratification vote, recycling and yard waste collection will be limited.
All Thursday RESIDENTIAL customers in King, Snohomish, and Skagit counties: Please place all of your regularly scheduled carts out for collection. We appreciate your understanding as we work to restore service to our communities.
All Thursday COMMERCIAL customers in King, Snohomish, and Skagit counties: Please set out and/or unlock your containers as you normally would on a service day. We appreciate your understanding as we work to restore service to our communities.
To all of our customers, we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this labor disruption has caused. Thank you for your continue patience.
We commend Waste Management’s executives for coming to their senses and returning to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith with the Teamsters. If they had only done so sooner, this strike could have been avoided. The company’s drivers are professionals who provide a crucial service and they deserve to fairly compensated for their work. That’s all they have been asking for.
Several of us at NPI are among the thousands who have been affected by the strike. While we don’t mind having to wait another week for our recycling, trash, and food scraps to be picked up, we do not appreciate the way in which Waste Management responded to the strike prior to the company’s decision to return to the bargaining table. Threatening (and preparing) to bring in replacement workers to break the strike was a bad move.
We’re very glad to hear that the eighty plus members of Teamsters Local 117 — who dutifully pick up our recycling every week — have reached agreement on a new six year contract that hopefully pays them a living wage.