Union: Garbage truck drivers' new contract gives them a life

The Mirror

Garbage haulers who work in Federal Way and other south King County areas have accepted a new contract, ending threats of a strike.

Members of Teamsters Local 174 ratified a four-year deal with Waste Management in a vote May 7. The agreement was reached tentatively about a week earlier after lengthy negotiations, including virtually last-minute bargaining before a potential strike by the garbage truck drivers.

An earlier proposed contract was rejected by the union members April 29.

According to the union, the ratified contract reduces the drivers’ out-of-pocket cost for healthcare insurance from $274 a month to $30, puts new restrictions on Waste Management’s ability to require overtime and raises hourly pay by $6.16 over four years.

Local 174 secretary-treasurer Dan Scott, the union’s lead negotiator, said the overtime restriction was a crucial issue. “Garbage drivers want to be able to spend time with their families, go to their kids’ baseball games and school conferences” instead of being forced to work extra hours, he said.

A similar contract was ratified May 7 by union members who work for Allied Waste. That company’s customer area includes Des Moines.

A combined 600 union members are employed by Allied and Waste Management. About half work for Waste Management, which has approximately 16,000 residential customers in Federal Way and another 3,000 living between Federal Way and Auburn. Waste Management also serves Algona and Pacific, plus other areas in King County (including Seattle) and Snohomish County.

Waste Management officials said contingency plans were in place to continue service on a limited basis if drivers had gone on strike.

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