Waste Management strike affects service in Federal Way
By GREG ALLMAIN
Federal Way Mirror reporter
July 27, 2012 · Updated 1:13 AM
Earlier this week, drivers with Teamsters' Local 117 went on strike against Waste Management, the company responsible for waste pickup and disposal throughout much of the Puget Sound region.
Drivers in King and Snohomish counties walked away from their jobs over a contract dispute. Teamsters' Local 174, the union that represents drivers in the Federal Way area, also went on strike in conjunction with their fellow drivers farther north.
Federal Way posted a brief announcement on its website, informing residents that "Waste Management Inc. has notified the City of Federal Way that Teamsters' Local 174 is striking in support of the Local 117 work stoppage. This strike affects garbage, recycling and yard waste service."
City spokesman Chris Carrel said city staff noted the work stoppage.
"Yesterday (July 25), city staff documented incomplete service on regular Wednesday service routes," Carrel said.
As for Thursday, July 26, Carrel said there was no garbage or recycling pickup at all for that day, due to the strike.
Waste Management said they are attempting negotiations with the disgruntled Teamsters.
"Today, Teamsters 117 contacted Waste Management via a federal mediator to continue negotiations on Saturday, July 28," said Waste Management spokesperson Robin Freedman. "We are prepared to do this provided the union leadership discontinues the pickets and allows our drivers to return to work. Unfortunately, the union leadership refuses to allow our drivers to return to work and refuses to ensure uninterrupted service next week."
Approximately 150 recycling and yard waste drivers that service King and Snohomish counties for Waste Management have been without a proper contract since May 31, leading to this disruption. The drivers of garbage trucks for Waste Management honored their fellow drivers' actions, and also walked away from the job.
"It really just became enough is enough," said Teamsters' Local 117 president Tracey Thompson. "We have done everything we can think of to encourage this employer to act lawfully, to come to the bargaining table, to engage in meaningful bargaining, to stop retaliating and intimidating their worlds and they're just refusing to do that."
Contact Federal Way Mirror reporter Greg Allmain at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-925-5565 ext. 5054.