Strike Against Waste Management Will Affect Monday Garbage Pickup

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Due to a strike by Teamsters Local 117 that began last Wednesday (July 25), Waste Management has been unable to provide regularly scheduled garbage/recycling/yard waste service – so please note that there will be NO residential pickup Monday (July 30).

“Waste Management does not know how long the work stoppage will be,” reads a note on their website.

Residential customers will NOT receive regular service this week, but WM says it “will collect up to twice your regular amount of missed services on your next regular service day at no additional charge.”

Substitute drivers will be deployed Monday, and WM is asking customers with commercial Monday pickup to place their containers out as they normally would.

Here’s what the Teamsters Local 117 announced:

On Friday, recycle drivers reached out to Waste Management and made a good-faith offer to take down picket lines and give the bargaining process a chance for success.

Waste Management refused that offer.

Instead, Waste Management is moving forward with a plan to put hundreds of out-of-town strikebreakers on the roads in your neighborhood.

Strikebreakers may be inexperienced, and they will be navigating hilly, narrow streets in dangerous trucks where you and your family live. Accidents may occur, pickups will be missed, and garbage will start to pile up.


  1. Report all Accidents: Call the police and your local politicians to report accidents caused by strikebreakers in your neighborhood. Send us a photo of the accident and we will post it at
  2. Report Missed Pickups:  If you live in a Waste Management service area, and your garbage, yard waste or recycle isn’t picked up, call 1-800-230-7418.  Send us a photo of garbage piling up, and we will post it on the Trash Watch website.
  3. Strike Line Support: Recycle drivers need your support on the strike line!  Visit them in Seattle (8111 1st Ave. S.), Woodinville (6211 234th St. SE), Marysville (13019 41st Ave. NE), or Auburn (702 2nd St. NW).  Critical times are between 5am – 8am and 3pm – 6pm.

Thank you for your support!
Seattle Trash Watch

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31 Responses to “Strike Against Waste Management Will Affect Monday Garbage Pickup”
  1. nicky says:

    They’ll pick up twice the regular amount for no extra charge???!!! A-holes. They should be reducing our monthly bill for not providing the service we pay for.

    People are lucky to have a job in this economy. Get over it and go back to work. The employees are being paid a fair wage. Normally I support unions and strikes but this one is a little hard to support.

  2. Ken C says:

    They are striking to make $98,000 a year. Are they getting paid too much or am I being paid too little? Not sure how I feel about this strike. They do the same work as garbage handlers and should be compensated the same. My real question is why the hell do they have two separate unions? Wouldn’t it be a stronger union if garbage handlers and recycling handlers were in the same union?

    • Dixie says:

      The point is, they DO do the same work as the garbage handlers and deserve the same compensation. Also, as far as the amount of pay, keep in mind this is a VERY physical job and often they don’t make it to retirement age, or if they do, in very poor physical condition. Therefore the higher pay compensates at least in part for what they will lose later in life. Sort of along the line of hazzard pay. My question really is why they weren’t on the same contract or pay rate from the beginning. Seems to me WM was taking advantage of the workers by having their contracts separate, and therefore, unequal.

      • sallie tierney says:

        I agree with Dixie. Can’t believe WM hasn’t corrected this inequality long ago. I’m selling my WM stock.

      • elizabeth2 says:

        First of all, none of the recycle drivers were FORCED to take the job they were offered – they accepted the job at the salary offered. These were at wages negotiated by THIER OWN UNION, which happens to be a different union than the trash drivers.

        Second, they do not like the contract that they signed, they can quit and see if they can get a job on the higher wage contract anywhere with anyone. This is a country of free choice.

        Third, please watch the work that the recycler driver do…drive the truck to the large recycle can, push buttons to have the hydraulic arms come out, which mechanically lifts the cans and dumps them. $98,000 a year?

        • Eric says:

          E-2 Using your logic, yes the divers took the job under the old contract. They worked under that contract until it ended. That contract has now expired. So the workers have a legal right to bargain for a better contract, one with higher wages. Money that goes to American workers that will most likely be spent in America (likely greater Burien/Seattle) helping the entire economy get better. (Increased wages for hundreds of workers does a lot more to improve the economy then greatly increasing the wages of just a hand full of CEOs, who already make more money then they can spend.)

          So yes they were not forced to sign up and work under the old contract. But now that the contract is over they are not required to keep working for the same wages from the prior contract. WM is a very profitable company. Under a new contract the workers should be able to share some of those profits, after all they do the work that has made the company profitable.

          As for how hard their work is, it is much harder than you think. I know I no longer have the strength to do that job 5 days a week. (No I never had that job, I just want to see workers share in the profits they help companies earn. After all, workers are always asked to share in cut backs when profits are down. It should be a two way street.)

  3. Corinda LeClair says:

    This strike is unreasonable. You need to hire all new workers and end the labor union. In this economy they are lucky to have such high paying jobs. I would be happy to have a job that paid that amount with those amazing benefits.

    • Eric says:

      Corinda, if you want one of these jobs, apply for it! You do not explain why these workers should not share in the profits WM is making. I cannot see a reason why companies, including WM should not share its profits with the workers who do the work that creates the profits.

      Yes, some people do not have jobs right now. Others are not being paid a fair wage. But those are not good reasons to keep workers’ wages down in companies that are profitable. I think we should support any legal effort to raise workers’ wages in this economy. Right now we need more people who can afford to buy American’s goods and services not less.

      • nicky says:


        How many companies share their profits with the employees? Most do not. Why this sense of entitlement? If someone wants their pay based on the profits the employee generates then they should work in sales. No business is obligated to distribute the wealth equally. It’s a benefit that could help retain employees and businesses have every right to share the profits, but there is no obligation to do so.

        Business owners and CEO’s got to their position for a reason. Could be family, hard work, education, a lucky break. However, they most likely didn’t get there by working their 8 hour shift and paying their monthly union dues.

  4. Johnny says:

    I don’t live in Burien, just work there. At our business, the driver never gets out of the truck for the garbage. He lifts the dumpster with the truck and dumps it in the back, not too much physical activity there! Also, if they dump stuff on the ground, oh well, our custodian has to pick it up. The recycle driver does have to get out to unlock the recycle dumpster, not too physical there either.

  5. John Poitras says:

    Anyone that is making 6 figures and goes on strike in this economy does not have my sympathy. Compare these jobs and what they make to coal miners or taxi drivers.

    • Eric says:

      John, you make a good argument for why coal miners and taxi drives need a good strong union. Unions are what helped America build its middle class. (Unions are not perfect, no organization created by humans will every be perfect.) Even Henry Ford, no friend of unions, was smart enough to see he had to pay a living wage to his workers. if the workers could not earn enough to buy his cars, Ford could not sell enough cars to be profitable. Rather than rush to see how little profitable companies can pay workers, I believe we should all support efforts that will rebuild America’s middle class and get the economy going again.

  6. Eaton B. Verz says:

    Waste is a terrilble thing to mind!

  7. Karen says:

    I have no sympathy for the workers. They have a job and they’re getting well-paid for it. In this economy, that’s a lot to be thankful for right there. Get back to work.

    Garbage piling up in front of my house and all up and down my street. I say bring in the out-of-state drivers and stop punishing those of us who have to work hard for a living and deal with the messes you refuse to pick up.

    I’ll bet even with my arthritis I could collect garbage with the trucks they have out there now. Pull a lever, push a button, dump. Repeat. Even if it’s more than that, they’re better paid for what they do than most people.

  8. Jay says:

    Lets all not pay our garbage invoices and let them know maybe we’ll double up on it next time only if they perform the services agreed upon.

  9. Frances says:

    LETS ALL PULL TOGETHER after all our City COuncil is on the side of the Srikers they voied in FAVOR of higher wages, So just shut up and follow YOUR City Council

  10. Shari says:

    Does the $98k figure refer to base salary or total compensation? TC can be double (or more) base salary because it’s fully loaded with all bonuses, benefits, perks, incentives, etc.

    • Mike says:

      $98k is total compensation. The way it used to be in the USA was no one would cross picket lines. If you did you were labeled a scab. Now most posters say they would cross and take their jobs. It’s sad how people have changed. People don’t see the reality of the CEO’s and upper management that make multi-million dollar salaries that could pay many workers salary. I don’t see anyone talking about cutting their huge out of whack salaries, only scabbing on people that work their butts off and want what garbage collectors get for doing the exact same job.

      BTW, WM netted $208mil for the first quarter of ’12, and are willing to pay “the green team” to fly in, stay in hotels, all their meals, higher salaries and huge attorney fees to fight against hard working Americans.

      just sayin…

  11. tripC says:

    ** Waste Management spokeswoman Robin Freedman;
    “The offer of $98,000 is the total compensation our drivers will receive at the end of the proposed six-year contract. That includes a 4 percent raise year over year and it includes a healthy employer funded pension and health benefits.
    “On average, drivers make $58,000 and at the end of the proposed 6-year contract, they will make $68,000 salary.”
    So for perspective, add to the salary benefits such as health care, sick and vacation pay, and a generous employer pension contribution of some $10,000 annually. You could compare the pension contribution to your employer’s 401k match, for example.
    Is this compensation outrageous for this area? As a benchmark for comparison, you could look at U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, which put average wages (wages only) for refuse workers at $44,960 statewide, but that includes the whole state, much of which has a lower cost of living than Waste Management’s coverage area. Still, Washington is the third-highest paying state for refuse collection (recycling and yard waste within the same industry is not broken out on the report).
    **quoted from article by Jeanne Gustafson, in the Sammamish-Issaquah Patch, July 25, 2012

    I think making $58,000 with 4% raises year over year ending up around $68,000 plus benefits, and pension seems fair. Most of the working middle class at my company of over 300 would be happy with a wage like this. One only has to look at one of the areas’ largest employers of what I would call “middle class” workers, and see that most of the employees at Boeing make similar, if not less wages.
    I disagree with the position of the union. I believe that the wages of the Garbage worker’, should have no bearing on the wages of the recycling workers. To me this seems like extortion. The union is trying to force WM to pay them. If it were my company, I would let the strike continue, and break it by cutting the wages of the garbage workers to make them more in line with each other. We are paying the price now, and we will definitely pay later. This constant entitlement mentality has to end. Its GARBAGE people! I know plumbers, pipefitters, electricians, welders, and carpenters who would be happy to have a wage like this, and they actually perform a skilled trade.

  12. Mike says:

    You said you believe The garbage worker should have no bearing on the wages of the recycle drivers. Why? They do the exact same job. They drive the same trucks with similar controls for loading and possibly do more work separating bottles, cans, cardboard etc.

    I believe the 98k is based on hourly wages ($28/hr) PLUS overtime which will be suspended if the work load isn’t there.

    FYI: Carpenters scale was until June ’12 $35.39 wage, 5.50 pension, 6.91 health
    Operators scale was $36.92 wage, 6.90 pension, 7.55 health
    I believe Boeing full scale machinists are in line with these crafts.

    According to my figures the trash ( and recycle drivers) are paid appropriately for their skill set.

    The union is doing this because they have leverage not entitlement.
    And if YOU were to continue the strike beyond tomorrow you’d be fined up to $1.25mil/day. And trying to lower the trash drivers wages would prolong it even further since they have walked off as well.

    WM should cut its losses now and get back to the table since the teamsters said they would return to work when they do.
    And to the people that think fighting for better/equal pay is a bad thing you should rethink your logic.

  13. VERY TIRED says:


    You have a job. You wanna strike? Maybe you ought to consider that fact. You have a paycheck. You have benefits. Your neighbour down the road has been unemployed for two years and has a family he has to take care of. Mindless stupidity.

    It’s real clear…if you want to strike, WM should pull a Reagan. There are plenty of other people out there that would jump at the chance to make the money have the benefits you have right now. Be grateful, and shut it. Get back to work!

    • Mike says:

      Off for two years? They should get off their lazy a$$e$ and apply to be scab replacements and see if they can make the cut to make the pay and benes.

      WM should pull a Reagan and see how that works out. They could end up losing the rest of their contracts. They aren’t the only show in town. They’ve already lost a sizable portions of their contracts to the other union trash haulers. Then the former WM employees can work at those places where they just signed a multi year deal for the same pay the trash drivers at WM make.

      WM should fire a bunch of the overpaid execs that got their multi million dollar jobs thru nepotism er I mean entitlement.

      Is that CLEAR enough for you scabs?

      • VERY TIRED says:

        I don’t belong to a union, so your Socialist BS doesn’t affect me in the slightest.

        I think you missed the point of my example. Those people don’t want to be sitting on unemployment or food stamps. They have no choice because of the economy. Like all union lapdogs, you don’t understand the actual working conditions of the rest of us, because your union has managed to pull the wool over your eyes. As long as you “get yours”, who cares? What a sad lot you must be.

        You know what happened when Reagan fired those people? A new round of workers came in and did the same job without complaining, and without biting the hands that fed them. You might do well to learn from their example. Life isn’t fair, and you’d better learn that very quickly if you want to learn how to be a decent human being.

        • Kingston says:

          Very T, I agree with you 100%……Mike should check out this video for the truth:

          • Mike says:

            That maybe your truth. No one said you had to work for the union man. Have fun washing all his toys. Think I’ll go have a micro beer in the shade. Wish you could join me…

        • Mike says:

          Decent human being? Who called names? Idiots, lapdogs? A sad lot you are.

          I think you missed the point entirely. There are too many employers such as WM that are top heavy with multimillion dollar salaries. Instead of picking on the people that are hard working, how about loose some of the fat cats at the top. These hard working Americans want equal pay for doing the same job as their counterparts. WM has a team on standby 24/7 to break the unions. They would rather spend millions more to do that than pay their hard working employees equal pay. That says alot for WM. Does Allied Waste/Republic or CleanScapes have a team on standby to break unions?

          I don’t know anyone that wants to work that has been off for more than a few weeks. And I didn’t miss your point. As far as your working conditions, you don’t like it? Because the corporations have pulled the wool over your eyes about how great it is to NOT have a union.

          As far as the Reagan union busting, the air traffic controllers is a monopoly.
          WM has competition. They risk huge penalties and the loss of more contracts with bringing in the “green team”.

          You should learn to be a nicer human being. You’ve made me “very tired” of your crap. Now I must go to my entitlement job And make top union wages and benefits.

          • VERY TIRED says:

            I am perfectly nice to people. Just not idiots or lapdogs. 🙂

          • Jay says:

            No one at Waste Management has a multi million dollar salary. If you were educated and could read an annual report you would know how top management was paid. You get a degree and then a graduate degree from a college that requires exceptional grades. Then work for years at 60-70 hours a week and then you can comment about how much execs are paid. How easy it is to bitch about people who have made huge sacrifices to be successful when the average union worker has never taken a college class but somehow believes they are deserving of a huge salary and benefits package just because they show up and work 40 hours a week. If you don’t like the deal, get off your ass and get an education. Make some sacrifices, work hard and then become responsible for your success or failure. If you still don’t like the deal, move to a third world country and see how the rest of the world lives.

  14. othersideofthetracks says:

    So thats what you changed your moniker to tiger boy? very tired?..*lol*
    Well, with all the bs you spew I would imagine you are tired.
    Anybody that has been out of work for 2 years is just plain lazy, there are jobs out there if they want to work.
    Ohhhh, wait, they don`t want to go back to work because they feel they shouldn`t have to take a cut in pay to work anywhere else because they feel whats the word?? Oh yeah, ENTITLED.
    Very Tired, you are a sorry P.O.S. who is just lashing out because you never got that union job you hoped for because you weren`t ,,, what is it? Oh yeah, SKILLED enough

    • VERY TIRED says:

      Well, aren’t you a sour puss?

      I can tell you that I am skilled. I don’t need a union to do my negotiating for me. I take pride in my own accomplishments, and no union boss will make me pay dues to a glorified protection racket. I have too much self-respect.

      I really don’t know who you are referring to (tiger boy…kind of lackluster name), but if he got your knickers in a twist over something, maybe you ought to take a chill pill.

      • devilsadvocate says:

        Thats only because jealous people like you make me sick, just because you can`t get ahead in life nobody else should be “entitled” to either right? I would tell you to go back to bed, pull the covers over your head and shut your eyes, but your eyes are already shut.

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