Waste Management, Teamsters reach agreement: Drivers are back to work today
By STAFF REPORT
Bothell Reporter Reporter
August 2, 2012 · Updated 3:55 PM
The strike is over.
This morning at Union Hall in Tukwila, Waste Management garbage-truck drivers represented by Teamsters Local 117 approved a new six-year labor agreement by a 109-14 vote.
Following a confidential meeting between the parties’ lead negotiators, Waste Management and Teamsters Local 117 announced that they reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday night. The Teamster leadership and the bargaining committee fully recommended that members approve the new contract.
Garbage drivers in Bothell and around Puget Sound were scheduled to return to work Thursday morning and begin servicing their regular Thursday collection routes. However, due to the timing of the ratification vote, recycling and yard-waste collection were to be limited.
Yesterday, Waste Management ran all Bothell Wednesday-customer commercial and residential garbage routes with substitute drivers in expanding its service-recovery efforts.
Apparently, drivers didn't hit every Bothell neighborhood on Wednesday and Thursday.
"I guess they couldn't find our neighborhood yesterday. The crows are thanking WM (Waste Management) in a big way," wrote Kelly Avery Clark on the Reporter Web site.
"They skipped us too, despite the phone call from WM telling us to put out our garbage bin," wrote Kim McKaig.
Jennifer Schnautz added about her garbage piling up: "Yuck!"
Waste Management recycling and yard-waste truck drivers in King and Snohomish counties went on strike July 25 following failed contract negotiations.
The city of Bothell contracts with Waste Management for residential, multifamily and commercial garbage, recycling and organics collection services. Service was disrupted to approximately 8,000 Bothell residents during the weeklong strike.
Waste Management could face up $500 in fines for each block that remained unattended per day.
“We are extremely pleased that we reached an agreement on a new contract that delivers a solid compensation package to our hard-working and professional drivers,” said Robin Freedman, spokesperson for Waste Management, in a statement. “Although regular drivers will be back on their routes (on Thursday), it will take time to fully recover from this unfortunate situation. We appreciate the community’s patience during this time.”
“Teamster drivers work hard and deserve fair compensation for the important work that they perform,” added Tracey Thompson, secretary treasurer for Teamster Local 117, in a statement. “We are pleased to have negotiated a contract that recognizes the professionalism of our members.”
In total, recycling and yard-waste drivers service 220,000 customers in the Puget Sound region.