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Waste Management recycling and yard waste drivers striking

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on July 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
July 25, 2012 2:40 pm

Residents in a number of King and Snohomish County cities may find their recycling and yard waste containers still unemptied at the curb today because of a strike by Teamster Union drivers.

Waste Management Northwest said pickups in Federal Way, Enumclaw, Auburn, Algona and Maple Valley in South King County could be affected by the strike. They asked residents to keep their recycling containers out until at least 6 p.m.

Company spokeswoman Robin Freedman said the company will activate its contingency plan if the strike continues. She declined to say what that plan includes.

She advised residents in affected areas to check Waste Management Northwest’s website for updates.

If the cans remain unemptied, the company will pick up a double load on the next scheduled recycling day without any extra charge, she said.

The strike stems from the failure of Teamsters Union Local 117 and the company to reach a new working agreement. Drivers have worked without a contract since May 31.

The union claims Waste Management violated labor law by bad faith bargaining, coercing and dealing directly with employees and threatening to retaliate against union workers.

The company says it has offered what it considers a fair deal that would raise total compensation and benefits for the average recycling truck driver to $98,000 by the sixth and final year of the contract.

The company would pay health care cost increases of up to 8 percent a year. The deal also includes paid pension improvements and a $2,000 signing bonus, the company said.

The union said the recycling truck drivers still would make less than their counterparts driving Waste Management trash trucks.

Some of those trash truck drivers were honoring picket lines set up by the recycling truck drivers Wednesday. Refuse customers on routes served by those drivers many not have received service Wednesday, the Waste Management spokeswoman said.

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