(UPDATED 9:13 PM with Times story link noting that garbage=truck drivers walked out too)
(Photo added 12:56 pm – at WM NW facility on West Marginal Way)
11:30 AM: The labor dispute has been simmering for months, and now, as of less than an hour ago, Teamsters Local 117 says its recycling and yard-waste drivers are on strike against Waste Management in King and Snohomish counties. More to come.
12:17 PM: No formal statements yet from WM nor from the city regarding how this is expected to affect service, but we’ve got requests out, and will add information as we get it. So far the first citywide-media coverage we’ve seen is at KING5.com.
12:58 PM: Just added a photo of strikers outside WM’s West Marginal Way facility. Also just received this WM statement:
After more than six months of contract negotiations and sixteen comprehensive proposals, Waste Management was disappointed that Teamsters Local 117 decided to strike today. “We are perplexed that the Union chose to go out on strike and negatively impact the public in this way. This was simply unnecessary, especially considering the fair and generous last, best and final package offered to Teamsters Local 117 over four weeks ago,” said Robin Freedman of Waste Management. “Once again the Union leadership has chosen political gamesmanship rather than allowing their members to vote on the offer.”
The company is now shifting their focus to customer communications and implementing their contingency plan.
Not knowing the length of this strike, WM encourages customers to place their materials at the curb according to their regular collection schedule. If materials are not collected by the end of the day, bring them in and WM will collect a double load on your next collection day. Please check the WM website for daily collection information at www.wmnorthwest.com
ADDED 4:04 PM: Seattle Public Utilities has now sent an advisory to customers – if you’re reading this from the home page, it’s after the jump:
As a strike by Teamster Union Local 117 continues, Waste Management is reporting that nearly all of its business and residential garbage, recycling and yard waste collections have stopped in Seattle today — and that many routes, in all wastes streams, will likely remain uncollected by the end of today.
The company also warns of continuing disruptions in solid waste collections tomorrow, Thursday, July 26.
Seattle Public Utilities SPU) asks recycling customers who were missed for collection today to put out their recycling next Wednesday, Aug. 1. There will be no charge for additional items placed at the curb.
Thursday customers should put their garbage, yard waste and recycling out before 7 a.m. tomorrow.
The strike could affect about 60 percent of the city, in Northwest and South Seattle (see attached map). Teamster Local 117’s contract with Waste Management expired May 31. In Seattle, Local 117 represents only recycling drivers, and other drivers are covered by separate labor agreements. However, Waste Management is reporting that yard and garbage drivers also stopped collecting today.
Collections by CleanScapes, which covers about 40 percent of the city (see map) are not impacted by the strike.
SPU Director Ray Hoffman said that although the City of Seattle is not part of the negotiations between Waste Management and the Teamsters, he expects the two parties continue to engage in good faith negotiations toward a speedy and successful outcome.
Under its contract with the city, Waste Management is required to continue services in the event of any disruption. Specifically, any missed collections due to any labor complications must be collected later in the week, or the following week. Waste Management will not be paid for any non-service.
The contract allows the city to deduct approximately $4,500 per day in payments to Waste Management for any services that are not completed the next day. For any interruptions that continue more than a week, contractors can also be fined substantially for service failure, up to $250,000 per day.
“Protecting public health and safety will continue to be the city’s guiding principle throughout this collection disruption,” Hoffman said.
SPU will provide updates as needed. Customers with solid waste service issues or concerns may call the Call Center at (206) 684-3000.
Customers with labor/union questions or concerns should contact Waste Management or Teamsters Local 174.
9:13 PM UPDATE: An update from The Seattle Times (WSB partner) tonight clarifies that Teamsters garbage-truck drivers are off the job too, in a show of support for the recycling/yard-waste drivers. But as noted above, if you have pickup tomorrow, you are advised to get your can(s) out as usual anyway.