Waste Management recycling/garbage strike: Thursday updates

July 26, 2012 at 7:32 am | In Utilities, Waste Management strike, West Seattle news | 29 Comments

(UPDATED 11:13 AM with city statement)

FIRST REPORT, 7:32 AM: Today’s first update on the recycling/yard waste/garbage truck drivers’ walkout: Waste Management says, no service today. (According to this map we used during the 2010 strike, there’s no Thursday pickup zone in West Seattle – let us know if that’s inaccurate.) This is the statement the company e-mailed early this morning:

Service Disruption Today
Thursday, July 26th, 2012

If today is your collection day, please see information below.

Due to a work stoppage that began on Wednesday, July 25th, we will not be able to provide your regularly scheduled service today. Waste Management does not know how long the work stoppage will be.

Residential Customers: We will collect up to twice your regular amount of missed services on your next regular service day at no additional charge.

Commercial Customers: We will pick up extra garbage, recycling and/or yard and food waste on your next scheduled service day at no additional charge. If the work stoppage goes beyond a few days, accounts affecting public health and the environment, such as hospitals, day care centers and nursing homes will be our first priority.

As reported here yesterday (story here), the recycling and yard-waste truck drivers went on strike after working without a contract since May 31st (and taking a strike-authorization vote June 2nd). The statement by their union, Teamsters Local 117, is here.

For each day the strike lasts, we will have a story with that day’s updates, adding to it as that day goes on, linked atop the “BIG STORIES” list on the right sidebar so you can easily find the newest information.

ADDED 11:13 AM: Here’s the Seattle Public Utilities statement for the day:

As a strike by Teamster Union Local 117 continues, Waste Management is reporting that none of their regular business and residential garbage, recycling and yard waste will be collected today in Seattle.

There is also potential for continuing disruptions in solid waste collections tomorrow, Friday, July 27.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) asks customers who were missed for collection today to put out their garbage, recycling and yard waste next Thursday, Aug. 2. There will be no charge for additional items placed at the curb.

Friday customers should put their garbage, recycling and yard waste 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 waste and garbage drivers are also not 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 to 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 top priority 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 117.

29 Comments

  1. This doesn’t explain why our garbage wasn’t picked up yesterday.

    Comment by Chris — 8:46 am July 26, 2012 #

  2. The strike started at midday. We published a story at 11:30 – KING was first to report it, and when I saw the Teamsters tweet before publishing our story, it was almost an hour old, placing it, I believe in the 10 am hour.

    Comment by WSB — 8:58 am July 26, 2012 #

  3. So let me get this straight. Other drivers make more money then they do so lets go on strike. Well how many of you out there go to work and the person next to you makes more money? Well we now know the solution. We should all go on strike if other people in your work place make more money then you. Even if they offer you 10gs more in the next 4 years. This is class warfare. You know, I work as hard as that guy but he has more stuff then I do.

    Comment by boy — 9:55 am July 26, 2012 #

  4. WOW, women have been fighting this fight for years!

    Comment by T-Rex — 10:25 am July 26, 2012 #

  5. boy, you nailed it.

    People are generally satisfied with what they make UNTIL they find out what the other guy makes!

    A study a few years back asked people if they would rather:

    A) Take a $10,000 raise if their neighbor also received a $10,000 raise.

    OR

    B) Take a $20,000 raise if their neighbor received a $40,000 raise.

    They picked A.

    Comment by Smitty — 10:34 am July 26, 2012 #

  6. don’t they already make 100K a year?

    Comment by fj — 11:42 am July 26, 2012 #

  7. I certainly hope this is not about salaries. WM employees are WAY OVERPAID! I met one, who operates one of those loaders, pushing stuff around at the drop off point. He has 4-5 experience, no previous experience and he was at $65k-$75k per year! what B.S! (now you see why our garbage/recycling rates are so darn high).
    -
    And sure, it’s a smelly job, but they all work at their own pace, it’s an easy as hell job. There is something truly wrong with salaries of soo many occupations.

    Comment by Dan — 12:08 pm July 26, 2012 #

  8. This is just a strong-arm shakedown, despite the rousing union spin. NO sympathy for a strike that threatens public services. None.

    Comment by G — 12:48 pm July 26, 2012 #

  9. Look, you have to know how to drive a big truck, operate lifts and be able to roll bins. Quite a bit of education is needed for this job and some of you are over estimating the amount of pay. Without overtime, starting pay is only about $48,000 a year with lousy benifits. This is a very dangerous job! There are very few of you that could do this, let alone want to!

    Comment by Dunno — 1:14 pm July 26, 2012 #

  10. Is this why Alki Beach was so trashy this morning? My wife and I walk along there early every morning and this morning it was obvious there was a trash problem. Cans not emptied, litter strewn about.

    Comment by Chris — 2:19 pm July 26, 2012 #

  11. My garbage was not picked up on Wednesday. I am wondering if us Wednesday people also get 2x the pick up next week?

    Comment by Tina — 2:23 pm July 26, 2012 #

  12. Why do people always reference “starting pay”? Whether it’s teachers or garbage haulers the argument always centers around starting pay. Who remembers what they started out at? It’s typically a pretty small number.

    What is the average pay? Median pay? Those are much more relevant to the discussion.

    Comment by Smitty — 2:39 pm July 26, 2012 #

  13. Spoiled brat union workers. Unskilled labor starting at $48k!? No wonder US manufacturing can’t compete with China. And how many people are drawing unemployment in our state who could be taught to drive a garbage truck in a few hours?
    I’m making 30% less than I was 4 years ago with no cushy union contract protecting my guaranteed income – that’s the fact of the economy. Why shouldn’t union workers take comparable reductions? Unions CAUSE wage inequality.
    Waste Management should be looking for non-union freelance drivers to permanently replace the union workers at a huge discount.

    Comment by carlmon — 3:44 pm July 26, 2012 #

  14. One word. Privatize.

    Comment by Tuesday — 4:08 pm July 26, 2012 #

  15. Lets put it in perspective, these folks receive wages and benefits similar to an upper grade machinist at Boeing…I love the comments about danger etc. They operate automated machinery that is basically hands free…A fair wage would be around 15-20 dollars per hour based on what the workforce would earn in a private non-union environment…More perverse government/union coercion…Here’s an idea GET KING COUNTY OUT OF THE DISPOSAL BUSINESS!!! And other business for that matter….

    Comment by boogins — 4:20 pm July 26, 2012 #

  16. hey Tuesday – Waste Management is a private company.

    Comment by Chris — 4:35 pm July 26, 2012 #

  17. Wow! Looking at all these comments, and wondering where they come from? Privatize? Sure, if you’re okay with the mark up on our liquor, I guess you’ll be okay with the mark up on your wsg bill too. 100K a year? Yes, a few people in management, who have been there a relatively long time, make that. Average pay 44-52 k a year. Seattle is not a cheap date! We struggle to keep ours heads above water on significantly more than these people on the picket lines are asking for! Please settle! We appreciate all you do!

    Comment by kim dixon — 5:20 pm July 26, 2012 #

  18. AMAZON should get into waste management. Have robots do the work and optimize efficiency by a factor of 10.

    Comment by mike — 5:48 pm July 26, 2012 #

  19. Hey Carlmon, Dan –

    If you think these guys are overpaid, why don’t you go do their job? These guys are paid what the market pays them – if there were more people willing to do the job, the wages would go down.

    It’s a little thing called supply and demand.

    Comment by Euripides — 9:46 pm July 26, 2012 #

  20. Wow, anyone here actually know someone who works for WM? I do and I can tell you he doesn’t earn 98k salary. Comp is salary, benefits and pension and that for us isnt 98k….

    Amazes me how people begrudge a decent salary and do so by trying to justify it as an easy job. Try the job for a week then comment. We are grateful for the job and simply want equal pay for the same work garbage does. We are middle class, two jobs, earning a decent living with a kid in college. Yes, it’s a union position. Think for a second how youd feel when you know a coworker doing the same job as you do makes more, your told how you’ve helped the bottom line etc but make much less and see your company made massive profits….Youd be pissed off. With the union, something can be done. Non union you just deal, complain about big corporations and profit and either shut up or quit. No one likes to strike but this has been months in the making….

    Im sure someone will think this whining but its not. Just a few facts about a day in the life and what they encounter…..

    Drivers are at constant risk of termination for one accident, pick up all the junk you leave outside the bins, empty your bin when you forget to leave it out, pick up the boxes of bottles that bust through the bottom because you dont bag it right. They get up at the crack of dawn ie 3am, work some holidays, work in all weather conditions, and hope a nearby store will let them run in to use the bathroom…afterall they are on a schedule and downtime isnt productive. They navigate these huge trucks down alleys, corners and roads where people haven’t a clue how to park. Backup hundreds of feet to get into tight spots while not hitting anything and inches to spare…, they watch out for your kids running out from behind a car so as not to hit them.

    My fiancé’s knees are a mess from jumping in and out of the truck over 200 times a day, he’s got carpel too. It’s not hands free, many times because of what I stated above…he’s exhausted daily, has had rats jump on him and homeless people pop out of the containers downtown at 5am right as the container was ready to lift. Yet still grateful for the job and a union supporter through and through. These are the guys that do the work you won’t.

    Perhaps leave them a soda or cookies during the holidays. They appreciate it.

    Comment by Tammiws — 10:00 pm July 26, 2012 #

  21. Thank you, Tammiws, for the heartfelt comment. I do not understand people who begrudge those who just want to make a decent living, nor people who think unions are evil. Unions just speak for employees who individually would not have much say about their working conditions or pay. Just because some jobs do not require a college degree does not mean that they are easy, unskilled, or do not deserve a decent wage. Anyone who thinks garbage or recycling collection is an easy job has obviously never tried it, and just as obviously has not thought about what it entails.

    Comment by dcn — 11:04 pm July 26, 2012 #

  22. The “last, best and final offer” was a 6-year contract that included an average annual pay of $98,000, a fully-funded employee pension and “a generous health and welfare benefits package,” according to Freedman.

    That’s the offer REJECTED because it wasn’t as much as the garbage guys get. The garbage guys get 107K.

    Euripides – SIGN ME UP. Oh wait I don’t have an uncle in the Union, ergo I cannot get in. If you think monopoly union labor in a city granted monopoly service operates on supply and demand, then, well WSB doen’t allow personal comments so I’ll shut up.

    But hey its cool since the transfer station has a $25 minimum dump fee I’ll just take my trash and a few neighbors trash every week, and charge them a nominal fee for gas and the dump fee and my time, say $40 a month. Oh wait the city would DESTROY me if I dared. Supply and demand, right? Is that why I pay $80 a month?

    Comment by resident — 12:38 am July 27, 2012 #

  23. Resident …not sure whose comp plan Freedman, WM spokesperson, is referring to but it’s not ours. If my fiancée made 90k and struck I’d tell him he,was crazy.

    Don’t believe everything you read and assume its all drivers. To get to that salary level you’d need to work some massive OT and nearly every holiday.

    Recycle and yard make less hourly, have a health plan that’s not as comprehensive as garbage and get less funded in their pensions, which makes a huge difference long term.

    As for it being baffling to Freedman, please, this has been months in the making and the union has gone back as often as WM has. In fact went back and offer was rejected weeks ago so here we are.

    Comment by Tammiws — 5:16 am July 27, 2012 #

  24. Tammiws; re your 10:00 pm comment:

    .

    QFT

    .

    “Like”

    .

    +1

    .

    FTW

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 10:43 am July 27, 2012 #

  25. Miss, not sure what youre saying…sorry!

    Comment by Tammiws — 10:22 am July 28, 2012 #

  26. Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho!
    Teamsters union’s got to go!
    Hey! Hey!…

    Seriously people, does it really make sense to engage with a union as corrupt as the Teamsters to provide a service so critical to public health and safety as trash collection?! These people can and will strike at any time, for any reason. All they have to do is walk off the job and they’ll have us over a bin, as our recent experience proves. I have not been impressed with WM at all. Sometimes they won’t pick your trash up at all if they don’t feel like it. Our recent experience with them is that they didn’t pick up trash or recycling because “it wasn’t near the curb.” We called and complained telling them that WE DON’T HAVE curbs, out containers were about 5 inches off the street. Is that not close enough? They said they’d send somebody over to pick it up and strangely enough, they dd. But this is just bogus. Now to make things better they go on strike. Wonderful! This one has been settled but I bet it won’t be long before the next strike occurs. I mean, if you were a mob, uh, I mean Teamster’s boss wouldn’t you? Think of it. I say Seattle, get WM and all unions OUT of the garbage business. Sorry labor-lovers, unions just suck and are nothing more than self-important spoiled babies that pitch a fit (sometimes violently) when they don’t get what they want. I have no sympathy for them and then latest escapade just pisses me off.

    Now that the strike is “over” we were “promised” that they’d resume service. Nope. There is trash lined up and falling out onto the street.

    Comment by Rahul — 9:06 pm August 3, 2012 #

  27. Anyone know whether recycling will be picked up this week? One section says “We will collect up to twice your regular amount of missed services on your next regular service day,” while the other section says “Any missed collections due to any labor complications must be collected later in the week, or the following week.”

    Since recycling was supposed to happen last week, and it gets picked up every *other* week, will it get picked up “on the next regular service day” (next week) or will it get picked up “the following week” (this week)…?

    Comment by GatewoodToo — 12:24 pm August 6, 2012 #

  28. The next regular service day, is what WM told me, as we noted in our daily preview today:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2012/08/west-seattle-monday-trash-traffic-voting-business-reopens

    Comment by WSB — 12:33 pm August 6, 2012 #

  29. Unions tend to make people too expensive to hire. More money for less work, over and over, and eventually outsourcing starts to look pretty good.

    Comment by Brandon McBride — 12:42 pm August 7, 2012 #

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