Over 150 Waste Management Recycle and Yard Waste truck drivers went on strike last Wednesday. Garbage truck drivers, as a show of support, joined them on the picket line last Friday. The strike, though, is NOT disrupting service in Snoqualmie so far; nor will it in North Bend.
The City of North Bend contracts with Republic Services for its garbage collection. According to the North Bend officials, ” On June 2, 2012, members of Teamsters Local 117 ratified a 5-year agreement with Republic.”
Teamsters Local 117 members who are employed by Waste Management had been working without a contract since May 31st, though. They say they are seeking equal pay to that of garbage truck drivers. Union members say Waste Management garbage truck drivers make about $9/hour more (including benefits and overtime) for essentially the same job.
Waste Management says it will not return to the negotiation table until workers agree to go back work. In the meantime, Waste Management has brought in out-of-state replacement drivers in an effort to continue garbage service in King and Snohomish Counties.
The City of Snoqualmie just switched from Allied Waste to Waste Management for its garbage service in early June. So far numerous other Eastside cities have been affected by the Waste Management strike, including Kirkland, Maple Valley, Newcastle and Redmond, but not Snoqualmie.
There is no estimate on how long the strike will last. Waste Management could face fines for missed pick ups per its collection contracts with various cities. In Seattle, Waste Management faces a possible $1.25 million performance fee per day for missed garbage, recycle and yard waste service if the strike extends past August 1st. Currently Seattle is deducting $15,000-$20,000 daily in its payments to Waste Management for service disruptions.
Waste Management has a 7 day grace period in its contract with Seattle before those performance fees kick in. In a letter to Waste Management, Seattle’s Director of Public Utilities, Ray Hoffman, reminded the company that “the purpose of the grace period was not to save the company money. It was to give the company a reasonable amount of time to do whatever was necessary to restore service.” Seattle Public Utilities wants full service restored by August 1st, if not sooner, because it believes 7 days should be enough time to settle the labor dispute.
For more information on Waste Management collection disruptions due to the strike visit the company’s delays web page.