Snoqualmie's First Month With Waste Management Could Be Marked By A Strike

Snoqulamie is three weeks into its new garbage service with Waste Management and already is dealing with a possible strike.  Recycle truck drivers have been without a contract since May 31st and negotiations between management and union representatives have continued for weeks.  Over the weekend, union drivers wouldn’t look at the company’s latest contract offer, but did say they would work on Monday.

The labor dispute involves Teamsters Local 117, which represents recycle and yard waste drivers who serve King County.  At the heart of the issue is recycle drivers wanting equal compensation of garbage truck drivers.  Teamsters 117 already negotiated a more equitable contract for its Allied Waste/Republic recycle drivers, which was overwhelmingly ratified on June 2nd.

“We drive the same trucks, operate the same equipment, are held to the same standards, and are often out on our routes for longer periods of time than the garbage haulers. We’re just asking for equal pay for equal work,” said Becky Colburn, a Wast Management yard waste recycle driver.

Waste Management garbage truck drivers have stated they will show solidarity with the recycle drivers and also picket if there is a strike or lockout this week,  Allied Waste/Republic and Clean Scape drivers have also expressed the same intentions.  So although it seems just an issue between Waste Management and Teamsters Local 117 members, all drivers in local Teamsters Unions will stop working in support of the strike.

Allied Waste and Clean Scapes are under contract to collect garbage and recycling and face heavy penalties from cities if those collections are missed.  The same is true for Waste Management’s garbage collection service.  Hence, all companies plan to hire replacement workers if a strike occurs to avoid those penalties and fines.

Waste Management reported the last six-year contract offer it made union members included wage and benefits increases averaging more than 4 percent a year, plus a $2,000 ratification bonus to each employee if the contract was accepted by June 17.

Teamsters say that contract offer is not equitable with garbage truck drivers’ compensation. The union reports Waste Management  is preparing to lock out 150 of its recycle truck drivers, affecting hundreds of thousands of customers.

Again, Waste Management says it plans to hire replacement drivers in event of a strike.  You can also check Waste Management’s Snoqualmie page for collection service updates.

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