Trash trouble ahead? Here’s the latest on the possible strike

10:19 PM UPDATE: Here’s the latest from the Times, saying WM is now advertising for replacement workers.

PREVIOUS REPORT, 4 PM: For the first time, Seattle Public Utilities has sent a news release alluding to the possibility of a solid-waste-pickup strike that would affect West Seattleites and hundreds of thousands of others. They’re not a party to the talks, though; Waste Management is in talks with Teamsters Local 174, whose members’ contract expires Wednesday night. No updates on the union site (though there’s related coverage on the site for Local 117, which represents Allied Waste drivers) nor on the WM site, but the latest update from our citywide-news partners at the Seattle Times says talks are continuing, with the help of a federal mediator; the company has said previously it would arrange for replacement workers if there’s a walkout. Meantime, the city’s news release boils down to “just keep doing what you’re doing” – read on for the full text:

With the possibility of a solid waste strike looming this week, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is asking its customers to continue putting out their garbage, recycling and yard waste on their normal pickup days, unless notified to do otherwise.

On Sunday, with their contract expiring on March 31, members of Teamsters Local 174 voted to give their negotiators authority to call a strike if contract negotiations with Waste Management reach an impasse.

Waste Management’s collection contract with Seattle covers about half of the city’s solid waste customers, in portions of northwest and south Seattle. Drivers in other areas of Seattle are covered by separate labor agreements and are not part of the current negotiations.

“The City of Seattle is not part of the negotiations between Waste Management and the Teamsters; however, we expect the two parties to continue good faith negotiations toward a speedy and successful outcome,” Seattle Public Utilities Acting Director Ray Hoffman said.

“Service delivery and the protection of public health and safety will continue to be the city’s top priority in the event of any solid waste collection disruption,” Hoffman said.

SPU will provide updates as needed. Customers with solid waste service problems may call the Call Center at (206) 684-3000.

12 Replies to "Trash trouble ahead? Here's the latest on the possible strike"

  • Carson March 30, 2010 (4:16 pm)

    No mention of having the option of dropping it off ourselves at the transfer station, I know they allowed it during the snow storm in the winter of ’08-09.

    • WSB March 30, 2010 (4:39 pm)

      We’ll be checking on all that, but I believe at this point they’re trying to stay in the “not time for evasive action yet” mode, from everything I’ve seen and heard. Perhaps ironically, on Wednesday afternoon, there is an open house to commemorate the fact that construction is about to start on a new transfer station near the existing one in South Park.

  • d March 30, 2010 (4:18 pm)

    Feeling particularly lucky all of a sudden about my Wednesday pick-up schedule. :]

  • MrJT March 30, 2010 (5:26 pm)

    Can’t wait for that $5.00 credit after 3 weeks of no service !

  • d March 30, 2010 (6:55 pm)

    WSB –

    Where in South Park will the new station be located?


    • WSB March 30, 2010 (7:27 pm)

      This is from a blurb on the South Park Yahoo! group
      excerpting a city announcement:
      >>SPU has contracted with the team of Mortenson Construction, URS, Reed Wagoner, The Miller/Hull Partnership, Swift Co. LLC, O’Brien & Co to design and build the new South Transfer Station. The new station will be built on a 9-acre site on South Kenyon Street, which is immediately northwest of the existing South Recycling and Disposal Station. Site preparation work will start in April and construction of the new facility is expected to start in November.<<
      They were going to have a ceremonial groundbreaking early tomorrow afternoon preceding an evening open house at the South Park Community Center, but canceled that part of the festivities.

  • austin March 31, 2010 (5:33 am)

    One of the many fortunate things about living in West Seattle: If they strike we have an enormous hole at Fauntleroy and Alaska to dump our trash, for free.

  • Eddie March 31, 2010 (6:12 am)

    Seems like many in the media are making this out – in advance – to be some sort of horrible, catastrophic event! “Danger, Danger! Seattle Buried Under Stinky Garbage. Details at 11”

    In fact, the contract that Waste Management has with Seattle requires that they maintain pickup service in the event of a labor dispute, and they have been very dilligent in bringing in qualified employees from other parts of the country and getting them familiar with the neighborhoods. How that translates into the media frenzy around this is beyond me. By the way, it was reported that the median wage for WM workers covered by the contract was over $70K a year.

  • Carson March 31, 2010 (7:16 am)


    I would agree its not much of a problem or health hazard for West Seattle, but most of downtown, Belltown, Int’l District have their trash picked up daily. It will become a health hazard much quicker than for us here locally. I was hoping for a free drop at the Transfer Station, but according to a story in todays Seattle Times ( no freebies yet..

  • sam March 31, 2010 (8:08 am)

    Carson- FWIW- downtown and Belltown (north of Yesler Way) is served by CleanScapes, not WM.

    link below was in the ST Q&A to which you linked:

  • T-Rex March 31, 2010 (12:53 pm)

    And if I picked up other peoples garbage, I would expect $70K a year as well.

  • charlabob March 31, 2010 (6:26 pm)

    I don’t think 70K is even slightly OVERPAID for the job.

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