Waste Management Garbage Haulers Finally Decide To Strike

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Wednesday morning (April 21) at 10:30am, garbage hauling members of Teamsters #174 decided to finally haul out their pickets and strike against Waste Management.

The strike affects trash and yard waste pickup for about one million homes in King and Snohomish counties, including the Burien area, which has pickups on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Waste Management presented to the union what it called its “best, last, final offer,” and has so far refused to budge or resume negotiations with the Teamsters.

In early April, more than 1,600 job applicants applied to work as replacement drivers in case of a strike, but Waste Management has not yet announced whether it will use them to pick up trash while union drivers are on the picket lines.

To check the status of garbage pickup or service delays, WM has created a website here: www.wmnorthwest.com/servicedelays.html; as of Wednesday, it implied that it will continue “regular service” for customers with Thursday pickup:

Service Interruption for Wednesday Customers; Regular Service Expected Thursday.

Collection is not being provided for some King and Snohomish county customers today due to a strike announced at 10:30 this morning by Teamsters Local 174.

If your garbage, yard waste or recycling container was not emptied, please keep the uncollected material until your next regular collection day for each container, when the extra material will be collected at no extra charge.

We regret this inconvenience, and appreciate your cooperation.

We expect to resume regular collection on Thursday morning, April 22. However, please check this website for regular updates as negotiations proceed.

Thank you, Waste Management

Tips for Managing Extra Garbage & Recycling.

The Teamsters have also set up a website with news on the strike: www.seattletrashwatch.com, with the following statement:

Waste Management is the most profitable waste company in the U.S., provides trash collection services for King County and souther Snohomish Count. The company, however, is attempting to lock out its employees or force a strike.

Sanitation work is the fifth most dangerous job in the country. Although sanitation workers expose themselves daily to hazardous substances and perform backbreaking physical labor, the company is refusing to provide workers with the same health care protections provided by all other sate companies in our area.

When Waste Management locked out its workers in Oakland, California many residents did not get their trash picked up for one month.

Union garbage collectors who work for Allied Waste reached a tentative agreement in March, so anyone served by that company will not see any service interruptions.

Waste Management serves the Burien area, and, far as we know, the cityfolk here have no contingency plan. On the other hand, the City of Normandy Park’s leaders had a plan where, if Allied Waste workers went on strike, they would lease equipment back and have their own public works staff go out and collect garbage.

Here’s a video report on the strike from KING5.com:

As this story progresses, we’ll continue posting updates.

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7 Responses to “Waste Management Garbage Haulers Finally Decide To Strike”
  1. Coverofnight says:

    After all this back and forth on this issue…………sorry, Union – no sympathy from me. Get back to work; be thankful for what you have!

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    • Really? says:

      Wow, that’s quite an attitude. Not much room for negotiations or empathy there. What is wrong with trying to keep benefits one has earned? Seems justified to try and maintain the health benefits one has, especially when by the time you hit 45, your back and knees are shot. It’s a hard, physically demanding job.

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  2. Diana Arney says:

    I’m curious to know what “unfair” labor practices they are striking against…You know, three additional people were laid off at my company today; I bet they would LOVE to have a job right now. Do the WM workers want more money? Better benefits? Well, so do I. I didn’t get a raise last year; probably won’t get one this year, but that’s the way it goes…I’m fortunate to have a job. It seems pretty selfish (to me) for these union workers to complain about not making enough money when there are so many thousands of people unemployed. But, that’s just my opinion. Maybe I don’t know the whole story. Are they using water-boarding techniques? Are they working 20-hr days? Someone please enlighten me on exactly what they want in their new contract.

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    • Ivan Weiss says:

      Glad to oblige, Diana.

      Here are some facts that Waste Management doesn’t want you to know:

      WM demanded that the Teamsters sign a contract that would have allowed them to reduce health benefits unilaterally, at any time during the contract, without bargaining. That was the “last, best, and final” offer. Who do they think would sign such a thing? THEY provoked this strike, and only a gullible fool would believe otherwise. When the Teamsters stayed at the table, WM just refused to bargain further.

      WM wants King County to give them the exclusive contract to haul our trash to THEIR landfill. Once they have that exclusive contract, only a gullible fool would believe that rates will remain stable. WM has jacked them up in every locality that has given them the sole hauling contract.

      They are bad actors. They have provoked this strike b y refusing to bargain. Once they return to the table, the Teamsters will return to the job.

      Finally, I get a little tired of the argument “People should be lucky they have a job.” People have jobs because they worked hard to get them and they work hard to keep them. “You’re lucky to have a job” is something a nobleman would say to a serf. We are Americans here! We earn our keep! I’m sure that’s not how you meant to come across.

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  3. trashed says:

    This strike is avoidable, and seems an awful lot like what I remember from my history lessons. American culture has a fundamental reflex against carpet bagger robber barons moving into towns and short-changing the labor force.

    If you’re angry too, call Duane Woods (WM West Division VP) at (480) 419-6140. If you don’t get him, leave him a message telling him how we don’t want him lowering our local standard of living.

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  4. Seriously says:

    Seriously? There is something wrong with our society when we will pay the ridiculous amount (see below) for folks to pick up our trash and our public educators starting salary is around 30k, oh and by the way you get to pay your student loans back! As public educator you can look forward to making on average about $47k per year. In regards to the comments about it being a dangerous job, have you been in a classroom lately? Every Waste Management truck I have seen in recent months has these handy arms that the haulers roll your container out to and it is magically lifted into the bin. And if you want to bring up that it is hard on your body then hit the weights my friend. I am going to tell my kids to skip college and the expense of it and go make 100k picking up trash, sorry, no sympathy here!

    “It is offering Teamsters Local 174 members a wage increase of $1.00 per hour in the first year from the current $26.29 per hour – a 3.7% increase.

    Waste Mangement says in a release Thursday night, “in the last year of this final offer, the average driver’s annual compensation will exceed $109,553, including wages and benefits. This includes a contribution of over $15,000 per year to each employee’s pension fund with no employee contribution required.”
    Source: http://www.kirotv.com/news/23011399/detail.html

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    • Think about it says:

      There’s a problem with your logic, The goverment is paying the salary of the teachers, not the individual person. Trash haulers are creating revenue. Please don’t misunderstand me, I will vote for public educaters every time, but until everyone votes that way, it won’t happen.

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