Waste Management, serving West Seattle (etc.), now on strike

(Picketers at WM on W. Marginal Way; photo by DEAN RUTZ/used with permission of the Seattle Times)
FIRST REPORT, 11:26 AM: From our citywide-news partners at the Seattle Times: The truck drivers of Waste Management are now on strike. West Seattle is among the areas they serve. WM had said they will work to keep regular service, with strike-replacement workers. More details as we get them. 11:46 AM: No official statements yet from Waste Management or Seattle Public Utilities – we are off to a story interview with an SPU rep on an unrelated topic so will be looking for an update. 11:55 AM: SPU has just sent this news release – some West Seattle customers may have missed pickups today:

Following a strike by Teamsters Local 174 garbage and yard waste drivers, some Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) customers will not have their garbage and yard waste collected today in northwest and south Seattle.

Those customers whose collections are missed today are asked to put all of their garbage and yard waste out next week on their regular collection day.

The City’s recycling services are covered by a different contract, and should not be affected by the strike. All customers are asked to keep their recycling out.

Approximately 18,000 residential customers could be affected by the strike action today in the following approximate areas:

– N. 105th St to N. 85th St, W. of SR-99
– Delridge Way SW to Beacon Ave. S, from S. Royal Brougham to SW Roxbury St.

View a detailed map of the affected area.

Members of Teamsters Local 174 went on strike after contract negotiations with Waste Management reached an impasse.

Waste Management’s collection contract with Seattle covers only 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. Customers in those areas should continue to put all of their garbage and yardwaste out on their regular collection day.

“The City of Seattle is not part of the negotiations between Waste Management and the Teamsters; however, we are disappointed that the two parties were not able to reach an agreement and hope they 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 are the city’s top priority and we expect Waste Management to honor its collection contract, regardless of its dispute with the Teamsters,” Hoffman said.

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

5:04 PM UPDATE: There’s a little more city-produced info on the seattle.gov home page – note the FAQ, which addresses the question about whether you can take trash to a Transfer Station for free (for now, it says “no”). Also, a news release from the Seattle Mayor’s Office has elected officials’ take on the situation, including word that the County Executive Dow Constantine and Mayor Mike McGinn have sent a joint letter – read on:

Regional elected leaders urge both sides to resume service and resume talks in
garbage dispute
County and cities not a party to labor dispute, but strike will affect residents; Seattle and King County send joint letter to both sides

Elected leaders in the region today urged a resumption of service and quick settlement of the garbage-hauling dispute between Teamsters Local 174 and Waste Management, with King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn sending a joint letter to both sides.

“I strongly encourage both sides to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible to work toward a quick and fair resolution to this strike,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “In the meantime, we are taking steps to minimize impacts for residents and making changes at our waste transfer facilities so our workers will not have to cross a picket line to do their jobs.”

Waste Management’s collection contract with Seattle covers about half of the city’s solid waste customers. Drivers in other parts of Seattle are covered by separate labor agreements and are not part of the current labor action.

“I fully support the collective bargaining process and urge both Waste Management and Teamsters Local 174 to return to the bargaining table quickly to reach a fair contract,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “While the city of Seattle is not a part of these negotiations, we are holding Waste Management to its contractual obligation to collect and minimize any interruptions of service in Seattle.”

“We recognize that this is a regional issue and it will affect different cities in different ways,” said Mayor Linda Kochmar of Federal Way, one of the largest suburban cities that contracts for collection by Waste Management. “Our hope is for a speedy resolution to this dispute.”

King County and the cities do not collect garbage, nor are the striking drivers public employees.

To accommodate pickets, the Solid Waste Divisions of King County and of Seattle have established designated areas at transfer stations along with “neutral gates” so that their employees can enter and exit and continue their work. Public Health – Seattle & King County has conditionally approved extended hours for garbage disposal at the regional Cedar Hills Landfill if needed.

Waste Management provides collection services for residents and businesses in all or part of Algona, Auburn, Bothell, Burien, Carnation, Duvall, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Maple Valley, Newcastle, Pacific, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Seattle and Woodinville.

Waste Management also provides collection services for unincorporated area residents and businesses in northeastern and southern King County, including the White Center, Highline and Skyway areas. In the unincorporated areas, garbage is collected by private haulers under franchises from the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC).

90 Replies to "Waste Management, serving West Seattle (etc.), now on strike"

  • Smitty April 21, 2010 (12:31 pm)

    Where do I apply?

    70K plus a pension and benefits?

    Guess I shouldn’t have wasted(pun intended) my time by going to college (let alone finish the 8th grade).

    Bye Bye guys (and gals).

  • jiggers April 21, 2010 (12:34 pm)

    Rocky the racoon, willy the coyote and other furry friends are are lining up for the buffet table in your neighborhood.

  • Carson April 21, 2010 (12:43 pm)

    I applied just to see what the application was like. They asked you maybe 6-10 times if you have ever worked for Waste Management or been a Teamster. They also want you to have a CDL. They declined me…boo hoo, they didn’t think a college grad was qualified enough to drive a truck around and pickup trash!!!

  • Sue April 21, 2010 (12:46 pm)

    Glad we did all the yard work this weekend and that they picked up all that yard waste yesterday!

  • Chris April 21, 2010 (12:47 pm)

    Per the PI: By the last year of the contract, the average driver’s annual compensation will reach $109,553, Waste Management said earlier this month, and the company will contribute more than $15,000 per year to each employee’s pension fund. (Read the full proposal.)

    Talk about greed! How is over $100K in compensation for picking up trash not enough? This is about unions flexing their muscles and increasing their incomes. I hope WM fires the workers and hires new replacements.

  • Aim April 21, 2010 (12:54 pm)

    Considering the arm and a leg we pay for trash service, are they going to cut our bill by 25% to account for them not picking it up?

    Sadly, we forgot to put ours out last week due to illness. Not having pickup again this week is painful, as we only have the teeny tiny tote-style box. We’re going to have to put out a proper sized trash can next week and hope they don’t charge us extra.

  • KBear April 21, 2010 (1:01 pm)

    I doubt they’ve ever turned down anyone for being too smart of brains to be a garbage collector. Too smart of mouth, perhaps…

  • datamuse April 21, 2010 (1:12 pm)

    Right here.
    In case you were actually serious.

  • jwws April 21, 2010 (1:16 pm)

    I heard that the recyclers are honoring the strike and that they won’t pick up recycling either…. In this economy folks should be glad to have a job with decent wages and benefits – try being self employed and trying to find affordable health insurance – forget dental – not to mention making a living. I have no sympathy for the unions and their membership, let the jobs go to people who want to work for a living and not whine about their jobs/benefits/$1000/person extra bonus that was not enough..

  • Ms Bette April 21, 2010 (1:21 pm)

    Not one of the commenters so far has thought about the job that garbage workers do. Would you really recycle your diploma and pick up all the trash that your well-to-do friends create? It is one of the most dangerous jobs, more dangerous than firefighting or police work, and they are NOT making $70,000/year – more like about $25/hr. Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated while supporting a garbage strike in Memphis. Learn the issues: Waste Management wants to control the company, treat its workers in a less humane way. The other companies have already agreed to what the workers are asking for. WM is greedy and doesn’t care.

  • T_Bickle April 21, 2010 (1:22 pm)

    70K for real?

  • Justin April 21, 2010 (1:23 pm)

    How dare these guys make a living wage. Obviously they are just dumb trash haulers, the deserve to live in poverty.

    70k a year is about the same as a carpenter makes. Just about enough to pay a mortgage. Also, these are not public employees mooching off your beloved tax dollars. They work for a private corporation that makes millions off of the services they provide.

  • Kayleigh April 21, 2010 (1:40 pm)

    “in this economy folks should be glad to have a job”—this is the kind of victim, surrender-to-the-powers-of-wealth kind of thinking that keeps wages depressed. How terrible of those union types to band together to demand more money. Why, demanding more money is the province of wealthy and white collar workers!
    Nice to see “liberal” West Seattle-ites sneering at work they think is beneath them, though. Way to go!

  • jwws April 21, 2010 (1:45 pm)


    70K (and bennies) is not a depressed wage, in any economy. I dare say many non-unionized, college educated folks would jump at the chance to make such a wage nowadays.

  • lookin at garbage April 21, 2010 (1:48 pm)

    how much does it cost/ how long does it take to get a CDL ?

    masters degree and several years experience in commercial architecture is getting me no-where, not even 70K if there were jobs in this field !

  • KBear April 21, 2010 (1:51 pm)

    “Nice to see “liberal” West Seattle-ites sneering at work they think is beneath them”

    Also, exactly where do all of you think the concepts of 40-hour work weeks, living wages, overtime pay, weekends off, mandatory breaks, employer-provided health insurance, sick days, holiday pay, and so on CAME FROM? Certainly not from the generosity of employers. These things would not have become commonplace without unions.

  • Kayleigh April 21, 2010 (1:51 pm)

    You miss the point, jwws. I’m college-educated and non-unionized and I’d jump at the chance to make $30 million, too. That isn’t the point.
    The point is that salaries aren’t and never have been a reflection of worth (certainly not social worth). They’re a reflection of what we demand and what the market will bear.
    Do explain how keeping union members’ salaries low helps yours go UP. Or would it just make you feel better to see them making less money?

  • Tony April 21, 2010 (1:56 pm)

    Glad to see people who are unwilling or unable to do physical, dirty jobs are more than ready to bash on unions & their workers. I say let the trash pile up, I will get my hands & truck dirty taking it to landfill station. What will you do? Go to Home Depot to find “affordable labor”??? Pathetic. Signed a hard working, well paid Union employee.

  • twirl-a-whirl April 21, 2010 (2:00 pm)

    Some of you are shooting your mouths off about things you know nada about. My ex worked for a short while doing this type of work, and he was a strapping fellow in his early 30’s, and he could barely do the hard work required. And nowadays, WM requires workers to work 10 to 12 hour days routinely, so they don’t have to hire more workers (more workers=more benefits, WM says no way to that). I dare any of you to get up off your fat hineys and do this work! Betcha last one day, if that. And the salary and benes they make? Sounds about right to me for what they have to put up with and the hard physical labor they do. Are you aware every other waste company in the area already provides the benes that the WM workers are asking for?? That this is dangeous, back breaking work? You should check your facts before shooting yourself in the foot.

  • Smitty April 21, 2010 (2:00 pm)

    Kayleigh, I think everyone (white or blue collar, rich or poor) has the right to demand more money. More power to them (garbage haulers or the CEO of Goldman Sachs, I don’t care nor do I get envious)I just think their timing in this case is horrible. Maybe the teachers that are about to be laid off will apply for these jobs.

  • jwws April 21, 2010 (2:01 pm)


    How is $70K a year “keeping union members’ salaries low”? give me a break. They make good money, the company offered it’s final, best offer yet they strike. Anyone in a non-unionized job would be shown the door…

  • KBear April 21, 2010 (2:02 pm)

    Thanks, Tony. Well said.

  • lookin at garbage April 21, 2010 (2:05 pm)

    aha, here it is


  • M. April 21, 2010 (2:05 pm)

    How much are they earning, and what are they asking for? Interesting how salary numbers are seldom shown for many striking workers. Don’t they have a contract with the City? I’ll bet they could find many who would be happy and qualified to fill those positions. I understand the right to strike, but this sounds like legal extortion. I still don’t understand this whole Union idea…

  • KBear April 21, 2010 (2:11 pm)

    No, they DO NOT have a contract with the city. They have a contract with a for-profit company called Waste Management. Interesting how people can be so opinionated about something they know so little about.

  • Amanda April 21, 2010 (2:12 pm)

    However, I pay my garbage bill every other month and expect to get my garbage picked up. I support you guys, I do, but in a civilized society, we can’t let the garbage just pile up. What is the strike about anyway? Is it more money, or benefits? (I’m serious, I don’t just want to bag (pun intended) on these guys).

  • Kelly April 21, 2010 (2:12 pm)

    “Maybe the teachers that are about to be laid off will apply for these jobs.”
    Oh for the love of Pete. Please do not start dragging teachers into this; even the mention of this just sets me off, as I’m remembering how unsupportive some in WSB-land were of the Kent strike this last fall.
    Strikes are not fun nor easy for anyone, especially those on strike. Just because you like to have your trash picked up every week so you don’t have to think about it doesn’t give you the right to rail against those who do this dangerous job. I think that some people take the phrase “public servant” far too literally.

  • twirl-a-whirl April 21, 2010 (2:15 pm)

    For those wishing to learn a bit more about why the strike, see: http://www.seattletrashwatch.com/

  • Kayleigh April 21, 2010 (2:21 pm)

    you answered the question, jwws. You’d feel better with them making less. Well, then they should demand less, so you feel better about it. People like you are part of the problem. You really are. I’ll remember to ask you how much I should ask for during my next salary review, so that I can ask for what *you* think is fair, which I’m sure will be less than what you make, so you can feel superior. And I’ll check with Smitty to make sure I time my salary request right, or a teacher might take my job.

  • rob April 21, 2010 (2:21 pm)

    here is why i read this go WTF?
    “By the last year of the contract, the average driver’s annual compensation will reach $109,553, Waste Management said earlier this month, and the company will contribute more than $15,000 per year to each employee’s pension fund.”
    my mom has been teaching in a public school in WA since 1969, has two master’s degrees, and makes less than this.
    “The point is that salaries aren’t and never have been a reflection of worth (certainly not social worth). They’re a reflection of what we demand and what the market will bear.”
    until you introduce unions, then what the market will bear becomes much less relevant.
    as mentioned above, unions have had many positive benefits to all of us over time. but, that is no reason to allow them to do whatever they want now. the notion that we should simply accept whatever the union is demanding because of the benefits that have come about from the struggle of unions in the past is silly.

  • Tony April 21, 2010 (2:24 pm)

    $$277 million in profits for WM last year…..it’s ok for them to maximize profits but god help us if those dirty garbage men speak up and ask for a share.

  • alki_2008 April 21, 2010 (2:30 pm)

    Oh geez. jwws makes a valid, logical argument and he’s personally attacked and it’s assumed he just wants people to make LESS than him? You don’t even KNOW how much jwws earns.
    Regarding the strike…I don’t agree with it. Garbage collectors are doing less heavy-lifting as truck technology improves, and it’s not THAT dirty of a job. They’re picking up the bags that you put out…if you touch the garbage yourself without gloves, then is it really that much worse for them while they wear gloves? It’s not like they’re picking up garbage off the side of the road, or sorting through garbage piles at a landfill. For those that say garbage men are dirty and it’s a pitiful job, think about how you’re degrading those garbage collectors (while at the same time trying to support them).
    There are plenty of folks that would gladly do their jobs to get the salary, benefits, and pension that they’re receiving. I like that people have compared the garbage collectors to teachers. Why not pay teachers more…as their work has a much larger social impact than garbage.
    @tony – They are “getting a share”. $70k/yr plus benefits and pension is a very fair share.

  • KBear April 21, 2010 (2:32 pm)

    Collecting garbage is honorable and dangerous work. Those guys have to have strong backs, top-notch driving skills, and thick skins. None of you whiners would have any interest in the job if you didn’t know it paid well.

  • Tony April 21, 2010 (2:34 pm)

    Well said KBear….

  • Kayleigh April 21, 2010 (2:35 pm)

    Rob, what’s your mom complaining about? She should be lucky she has a job in this economy! And benefits and a pension. I bet someone without a PhD would take her job in a heartbeat and do it for less than she makes. (I think all teachers are underpaid and underappreciated, btw. I’m just using your logic.)
    Tony, apparently those trashmen just don’t know their place.

  • Scrappy April 21, 2010 (2:37 pm)

    Guess we should go back to before unions and allow 12 years old to work… And force workers to work 14 hr days with no benefits.. And tell them to like it because they should be happy to have a job!

  • Tony April 21, 2010 (2:46 pm)

    Alki…..WM has already paid out all their $70K + benefits to ALL their employees BEFORE arriving at the $277K in PROFITS. Take home pay of a quarter of a billion dollars & change.. This is why our monthly costs are so much not because employees make too much.

  • coffee April 21, 2010 (2:49 pm)

    if the pay is 25.00 per hour plus benefits, that is a salary, given many people are starting at minimum wage or just above, and many companies are hiring part-time so they do not have to offer benefits. Any job right now is a good job as long as your employeer is paying you.

  • homesweethome April 21, 2010 (2:51 pm)

    Garbage haulers have nothing to complain about – cherry wages and benes that most of us college grads don’t see – stop your whining and get back to work…if any of the rest of us walked out on our jobs we’d be fired and so be it. Unions had their place – in the past.

  • Tony April 21, 2010 (2:52 pm)

    Oops $277 million…..

  • datamuse April 21, 2010 (2:54 pm)

    as mentioned above, unions have had many positive benefits to all of us over time. but, that is no reason to allow them to do whatever they want now.
    Well, that’s why they call it negotiation. Which, last I heard, WM was basically refusing to do.
    I still haven’t read a good explanation for why the union should just roll over in this case because some of us aren’t as well off. What does what a garbage collector earns have to do with whether I have a master’s degree? (Which I do, actually, and I ain’t making any 70k either, but I don’t see much point in resenting the guy who picks up my trash OR the union who represents him for that.)

  • Kelly April 21, 2010 (2:55 pm)

    Here’s a great T-shirt for all of you Waste Management supporters:

    It’s on sale for only $12 and “40% of all profits go towards fighting compulsive shopping addiction”
    There’s something you can feel good about. ;)

  • jwws April 21, 2010 (2:59 pm)


    Thanks (and I’m a she). I don’t want the garbage haulers to make less and, for the record, 70K is more than our small firm makes in net profit and we don’t have bennies being self-employed.

    Kayleigh good luck on your next salary review I’m sure you’re worth millions and, if the market can bear it, hope you get it and no – I don’t expect to make more if you make less. I expect to make a living wage by working with my clients and providing them with a quality product that they are paying for – no more no less.

    And for the record, my brother is a garbage hauler in an East Coast city (non-union) and he makes less than half of what WM is paying their haulers.

  • nearalki April 21, 2010 (3:05 pm)

    In my humble opinion…the union negotiators blew this one. First and foremost I feel for the workers and their families…these hard working men and women need these jobs and the income that comes along with it. Secondly, this has the potential to create a garbage and trash nightmare, along with unsanitary conditions. I HOPE these men and women DON’T permanently lose their jobs…I wonder when the workers last had an opportunity to place a vote to express their opinion?

  • KBear April 21, 2010 (3:24 pm)

    “And for the record, my brother is a garbage hauler in an East Coast city (non-union) and he makes less than half of what WM is paying their haulers.”

    Exactly. And you don’t think he deserves any better?

  • Kayleigh April 21, 2010 (3:40 pm)

    jwws, I wish your firm the very best and I wish tax laws were more favorable to small firms. I’m not worth millions (except maybe to the dog.)
    Considering we *all* use whatever leverage we can to make as much money as we can, I find it odd that otherwise progressive white collar workers resent blue-collar unions for using what leverage they have to make as much money as they can. Yet people resent the same “you make too much” or “you make enough” logic being used against *them*. Most of us think we are valuable and underpaid. And yet….
    I mean, if I had the option of joining a union, I would do it and I’d probably make more money. So why would I begrudge the unions for doing what I’d do in their place? And if I played professional baseball and someone offered me $10 million, I’d take that, too, even knowing I didn’t “deserve” it.
    Jeez, this is part of why we have such wage disparity. We’re fighting for crumbs and told we should be grateful even for those. Talk about backward.

  • natinstl April 21, 2010 (3:40 pm)

    Unions served a purpose once, and yes they did contribute to making things better at one time, but they are a thing of the past anymore. Most (granted I didn’t say all) employers do treat their employees fairly and unions often force people that could have negotiated more successfully on their own to revert to these type of tactics. Does everyone think that Waste Mgmt shouldn’t make a profit? It’s a business for goodness sakes. We don’t know that the profit listed is after they’ve paid all their expenses either. Salaries, benefits, taxes etc… cost businesses a lot of money. Didn’t anyone learn anything from the Boeing strike? Businesses will move out of this area if they are continually being forced to deal with unions who want their employees to strike. There are so many people out of work right now, and the salary listed seems fair to me. Everyone always wants more, so do I, but I don’t think strikes are always the best way to get what you want. It automatically sets up an antagonistic relationship where one side is always resentful of the other.

  • Mr.JT April 21, 2010 (4:15 pm)

    I can’t wait to get my $1.92 back on my ulility bill for missing 3 weeks of pickup !

  • datamuse April 21, 2010 (4:16 pm)

    natinstl, yours is the second comment that I’ve seen claiming that unions are outdated and counterproductive. It’s a claim I’ve encountered before, but I’ve never seen it backed up with any sort of evidence. Anyone want to give it a try?

  • Jeff April 21, 2010 (4:44 pm)


    I agree that they are certainly within their rights to strike. At the same time, WM is perfectly within their rights to hire replacement drivers at a lower wage if there are qualified people who want to do the job. What I don’t understand is the implication that WM is somehow obligated to negotiate with the union. If they give a final offer, maybe it’s just the final offer. At the same time maybe its a bluff, and a strike is a good way to test that. If the drivers get a more beneficial contract good for them. If they lose their jobs forever, I guess they chose poorly. But to imply that WM should never let it get to the strike phase is to remove all the leverage from their side of negotiations. Unless both sides have leverage (the threat of a strike by the union, and the threat of firing by the bosses) it’s really just more a list of demands than any sort of negotiation, wouldn’t you agree?

  • Supporter April 21, 2010 (5:03 pm)

    There are two sides to every story and the union will never be honest with thiers. WM has nothing to gain by stating lies or by having drivers strike, they only have a lot to lose. Do you think that WM would really refuse to negotiate if the deal were fair? The union is asking for a higher increase then ANY other non-union salried or hourly WM employee. So every other WM employee should get LESS of an increase because we are not union or because they belong to a different Union? Is that fair?

    The rest really does not matter, what matters is that ALL WM employees get fair and equal treatment and that is not what the Union is asking for.

  • Kayleigh April 21, 2010 (5:12 pm)

    Jeff, who is served if they fire all the workers and replace them with poorly paid others? WM, of course. This is what I mean by wage depression. For most of us, the economy is so crappy, there are people who’d do our jobs for less $. But why would we want to allow this? Why are the union guys the bad guys for banding together to stop it?
    Are you on the side of the consolidation of wealth and power? Do you think the extremely high wage disparity (CEOs vs. lowest paid workers in a given organization) in our country is a good thing?

  • erin April 21, 2010 (5:16 pm)

    This is so sad. I hope that all the applicants who applied to Waste Management are hired. It’s a poor economy and a bad time to be greedy. So many persons are struggling to make ends meet and will be more than happy to have the same benefits provided by any employer right now!

  • Melissa April 21, 2010 (5:18 pm)

    Curse those darn unions! Why don’t we find some unionized employees and tell them they are overpaid? How ’bout we start at the south precinct and then head over to the local firehouse? Oh, yeah, that would mean telling someone who might save our life someday that they are overpaid. Hmmm. Maybe we should just attack the unions of those we don’t count on quite so much.
    Teachers! That’s it. Those darned teachers. $45K/year for 9 months work. Granted they work nights correcting papers and all, but it is just still too darned much. 30 kids in a class for an average of $123.00/day. Just over $4.00 per day for each student. Way too much money! Oh, wait. I just remembered that I paid the babysitter $13.00/hr last Saturady night.

    Now where was I going with this?

  • Laurie April 21, 2010 (5:29 pm)

    I have a lot of respect for the guys humping the garbage cans on my street. It hurts my back just to watch them hustle. Go, union.

  • Jeff April 21, 2010 (5:31 pm)

    I agree, of course it benefits WM. That’s why they want to do it. This is self evident. You didn’t really answer my question though. If one side issues demands, and the other has no choice but to accept them (which you seem to be calling for), how can it be considered “negotiation”?

    For the record, I have not taken sides or called the union members the bad guys at any point here (I’m a union member myself), so you might tone down the accusatory tone a bit. I’m only stating the obvious: Union member want to make more money, the strike is their best tool to accomplish this. WM wants to pay less than the drivers are asking for, and so they may pay someone else to do it for that lesser amount. Maybe in the end there is an agreement and everyone is reasonably happy. Maybe a bunch of people lose their jobs. That’s the risk of striking though, maybe the final offer isn’t a bluff.

  • Rod Nelson April 21, 2010 (5:40 pm)

    I hope this is settled soon. The Waste Management employees working Genesee Hill have done an OUTSTANDING job; far superior to the former contractor.

  • Melissa April 21, 2010 (5:45 pm)

    For the record, that was Mr. Melissa up above. I agree with most of what he said, though. Those folks bust their butts. And it’s dangerous, hard work. And they add immeasureably to our quality of life, which is something many of us fail to notice until they go on strike.

    Anyone know where/how we can show our support directly to them?

  • Val Vashon April 21, 2010 (5:47 pm)

    I’ll check the city’s website, but does anybody know where we in West Seattle can take our trash, yard waste and recycling? Scabs don’t pick up my garbage!

  • Kayleigh April 21, 2010 (5:56 pm)

    I was asking, not accusing, Jeff; sorry if I sounded strident. But I don’t really know what you’re asking. Demand vs. negotiation is semantics and ultimately becomes meaningless when you have children to feed.
    Unions (even though I don’t much like them sometimes) are one of the few ways everyday people have to offset the extreme imbalance of power that exists in the U.S. Weakening them is not good in the long run, no matter how much we disagree with them in the short run.

  • M. April 21, 2010 (5:57 pm)

    Hey KBear…I was ASKING if they had a contract with the city.Part of the learning process,ya know. For a small business owner such as myself, unions and their dealings can seem a bit strange and outdated.

  • Erik April 21, 2010 (6:28 pm)

    ValVashon –
    You can take all your garbage, yard yaste, and recycling to the South Park transfer station.
    $30 per car load of garbage.
    $20 per trip for yard waste.
    Recycling is free. Separate glass, plastic, paper and cardboard.


  • JimmyG April 21, 2010 (6:47 pm)

    All of you griping about what you see as such a sweet deal the garbage truck drivers are getting–what’s stopping you from going to get your CDL and becoming one yourself? Come on, let’s hear why not?

    Man up and stop complaining. They get paid what the market can bear.

    As a proud union member for 25 years I don’t want scabs picking up my trash, and I’ll haul it to the transfer station myself.

  • Amanda April 21, 2010 (6:49 pm)

    So according to the website http://www.seattletrashwatch.com – sited above. They are striking for better health benefits? Holy crap! Don’t we all want better health benefits? Isn’t that what Obamacare is all about? I’m sorry, but I want my garbage picked up. If the City of Seattle needs to find another company to do that, then so be it. Waste Management isn’t the only game in town right? I think the WM employees on my route are great, they do a fine job. But if you don’t like your job, then quit!

  • Julie April 21, 2010 (7:03 pm)

    We need our unions more than ever. Corporations are not persons with hearts and consciences, despite their persuasive advertising to the contrary. Their only job is to generate profit for their shareholders. (If they don’t, their shareholders should hold them accountable.) To do that, they must hold their workers’ compensation as low as they can–fairness has nothing to do with it. Individual workers are vulnerable–by joining in a union, they can counter the pressure to drive compensation to the bottom.

  • JamminJ April 21, 2010 (8:07 pm)

    Amazing. Since the early 70’s, middle-class income compared to the United States economic growth (GDP) has slowed, and within the past decade the middle class has seen ZERO growth in comparison.
    What does that mean, the rich are getting richer, even during current conditions.. and the middle class is getting the shaft.
    and we have one mechanism to try to get our fair share of profits, and you are upset because the rich can’t keep a bigger portion????
    Why are you fighting against yourselves???
    For the past 30 years there has been a rising inequality in middle class income, and instead of all of us demanding that all workers share in the profit, you want a race to the bottom for the middle-class. incredible.
    And sorry, just because you have a degree, it doesn’t mean cra* unless your work or knowledge is in demand.

  • Smitty April 21, 2010 (8:25 pm)

    Typical liberal attitude.

    1) Most people do not stay in the same “class” their entire life. I didn’t, did you?

    2) Liberals would choose to forgo a 5% raise if it meant their neighbor didn’t get his 10% raise.

    It’s NOT a zero-sum game, folks. Class warfare will ruin this great country if we let it.

  • JamminJ April 21, 2010 (9:06 pm)

    “Class warfare will ruin this great country”
    ‘will’?? where have you been the past decade??

    “Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest people in country, said, “If there’s been class warfare in this country, my class won.” He said he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary pays.”

  • Scrappy April 21, 2010 (9:29 pm)

    I’m with Jimmy… A proud union member for 15 years. I want to know how to tell waste management that I will take my own garbage to the dump before I let a SCAB take it.

  • pzilly April 21, 2010 (9:37 pm)

    If you live in West Seattle and your trash didn’t get picked up, call 1-800-976-0071 to report service disruptions. You will get patched through to city officials and will be able to let them know that your trash is starting to pile up, and that this dispute needs to get resolved soon. You can also go to http://www.seattletrashwatch.com for more information.

  • trashed April 21, 2010 (9:45 pm)

    This strike is avoidable, and seems an awful lot like what I remember from my history lessons. American culture has a fundamental reflex against carpet bagger robber barons moving into towns and short-changing the labor force.

    If you’re angry too, call Duane Woods (WM West Division VP) at (480) 419-6140. If you don’t get him, leave him a message telling him how we don’t want him lowering our local standard of living.

  • EyeLiveInWestSeattle April 21, 2010 (9:47 pm)

    Where do you guys get this info? Warren Buffett said this WHERE? Did someone “tell” you Buffett said this? Did you read it on a “blog” like this one? If so, then it must be true, right? Unless his secretary is making millions, there is no way he paid a lower rate… no way. Unless Buffett lied on his taxes and his Gross Income was reduced to under 100,000, there is no way he is paying a lower tax rate. Be sensible with your so-called facts.

  • Move to Bellevue April 21, 2010 (9:50 pm)

    The 109k salary (which is wages plus other compensation) is based on MANDATORY overtime. Meaning you work 12-14 hours a day.

    A CDL costs about 6K to get, and you are subject to random drug and alcohol tests (with much more stringent guidelines that regular DUI tests) at any time. How many of you could live under that?

    Waste Management requires mandatory OT that so they don’t have to hire more people, because more people=more benefits.

    Figure it out, and don’t be so naive as to take the Times as anything even remotely accurate.

  • WSB April 21, 2010 (10:03 pm)

    In response to the Buffett question:

  • dsa April 21, 2010 (10:06 pm)

    Just get people who want to work. At those wages for the complexity and job security there should be plenty of applications.

  • JamminJ April 21, 2010 (10:42 pm)

    more on warren buffett and his tax rate:
    “Buffett cited himself, the third-richest person in the world, as an example. Last year, Buffett said, he was taxed at 17.7 percent on his taxable income of more than $46 million. His receptionist was taxed at about 30 percent.”

  • Confused April 21, 2010 (11:40 pm)

    Union or no union. This is just bush! $110K for hauling garbage. All I see is the arm of the truck pick up the cans and dump it in and then lower it to the ground where the worker puts the emply can beck close to where they found it (and many times missing the lid). That doesn’t constitue that kind of salary….I’m sorry! At least they have a job and many would take it in a haeart beat. There is no training (college etc) (except for CDL) here and anyone could and probably would do it. Have always been for the union but not when this is so lop sided. $110K a year w/beannies! Give me a break.

  • Kayleigh April 22, 2010 (5:25 am)

    The wealthy and powerful INVENTED class warfare. How do you think they became wealthy and powerful? Oh, because they’re Better Than, right? (stronger, smarter, exercised more Personal Responsibility, worked harder, etc.) The wealthy and powerful *never* try to rig government in their favor. They never fight things like estate taxes, corporate safety regulations, tax laws, environmental protection laws…nope, never. We’re a pure meritocracy here, folks.
    Welcome to the myth of the American Dream.

  • Smitty April 22, 2010 (7:00 am)

    i will trade you Buffet’s 17% for his secretary’s 30!

    BTW, his tax rate is lower than almost ALL his employees because he is taxed as a BUSINESS OWNER not as an EMPLOYEE. And as its largest shareholder he gets tax advantages that his employees do not: He earned that VAST majority of his income in capital gains – taxed at a maximum of 15% – his SALARY was $100,000 and taxed between the standard 15-28%. How DARE he get taxed at 15% for taking a risk, starting a business and employing people. The nerve!

    Despite conventional liberal “wisdom” the INCOME TAX is very progressive, and actually got MORE progressive under GWB (look it up).

  • ivan April 22, 2010 (7:11 am)

    Here are some facts that Waste Management doesn’t want you to know:

    They demanded that the Teamsters sign a contract that would have allowed them to reduce health benefits unilaterally, at any time during the contract, without bargaining. That was the “last, best, and final” offer. Who do they think would sign such a thing? THEY provoked this strike, and only a gullible fool would believe otherwise. When the Teamsters stayed at the table, WM just refused to bargain further.

    WM wants King county to give them the exclusive contract to haul our trash to THEIR landfill. Once they have that exclusive contract, only a gullible fool would believe that rates will remain stable. WM has jacked them up in every locality that has given them the sole hauling contract.

    Only the Teamsters and their supporters are standing between YOU and Waste Management’s extortion. Only a gullible fool would believe the bulls**t lie that “unions served a purpose once, but their day has passed,” and only a liar would repeat it.

    Call 1-800-976-0071 and tell the city that the scabs have not picked up your garbage. The city will start fining them, and this will drive WM back to the bargaining table. It’s not the Teamsters who are refusing to bargain. Force WM to bargain in good faith.

    Strike WM, shut them down.
    Seattle is a UNION town!

  • Smitty April 22, 2010 (7:17 am)

    Oh, and BTW, if Mr Buffet (or any other liberal elites) want to send an extra check to the Treasury because they feel they are paying too little I am certain they would cash it!

  • Ms Bette April 22, 2010 (7:37 am)

    Thank you, ivan. Well Said.

  • JJM April 22, 2010 (8:15 am)

    The trash will get picked up. Step aside men and women, here comes the Green Team!

  • Aa April 22, 2010 (8:17 am)

    As much as I’d like to shut down WM’s disgusting profit-mongering, a strike by the very well-paid workers leans me toward the side of the corporation. I work 10-12 hour days regularly (much of it hard labor), and there are no benefits and my salary is less than 20% what those trash-haulers earn.
    I do hope WM finds replacement workers, and I do hope the union gets the shaft.
    Next time Seattle should do a better job of vetting the company before awarding a contract, perhaps. I don’t see any winners here.

  • ivan April 22, 2010 (8:29 am)

    Aa, WTF? YOU need a union! Does it enter your head that these trash haulers were once in the same situation as you? What did they do about it? Did they whine about someone who had it better? Hell no! They ORGANIZED! THAT is why they are making what they make.

    YOU might not “see any winners here.” I sure as hell see a loser.

  • Aa April 22, 2010 (8:58 am)

    Too bad, ivan. I’m pretty happy with my situation, as I consider it a personal choice. I work with the public and help education them on the environmental ramifications of their daily choices. My company is open and fair with their profit distribution.
    Though you may have thought I was “whining”, perhaps that is just a reflection of your place in life, and I can accept that.
    My thought is that by using name-calling and personally attacking anyone of a different opinion, you may not be helping your cause.
    For the record: I DO support the individual worker. I do NOT support the Union’s action.

  • arbor April 22, 2010 (8:59 am)

    Waste Management CEO David P. Steiner was compensated $5.5 million dollars in 2009. That’s our utility bill money, going into the pocket of some desk jockey in Houston, while we quibble about paying our hardworking neighbors a living wage. Why don’t we demand they tighten old David’s belt in these tough economic times?
    Nobody likes going on strike, but Waste Management refused to play fair. The City should put pressure on Waste Management to do the right thing and return to the bargaining table, or risk losing our lucrative contract to another corporation which will provide us service.
    BTW I don’t know anyone personally affected by this strike, nor am I a union member. I’m a self-employed WS resident who supports the workers in this issue.

  • ivan April 22, 2010 (9:15 am)

    @ Aa: “I do NOT support the union’s action.”:

    Waste Management told the Teamsters: We want you to accept a contract that will allow us to cut your salaries and your health insurance benefits, which include your children, unilaterally at any time, without allowing you to bargain over it. This is our last, best, and final offer, and we refuse to negotiate further. Take it or leave it.

    And you do not support the UNION’s action? The union IS the “individual workers” who voted — VOTED — for Teamsters representation. The “individual worker” whom you SAY you support IS the union, and the union IS the “individual worker.”

    What’s more, these “individual workers” voted, with only one or two dissenting, to authorize any strike. You can’t separate that “action” from the “individual workers” whom you SAY you “support.”

    I’m sorry if you think I’m “attacking” you. I just don’t find your position very credible, or very realistic.

  • nadine April 22, 2010 (10:22 am)

    Everyone is complaining about them having a job that pays so well during this bad economy…yes they make good money but I say thank God we have unions still today!!!You better be thankful there is still a union to watch your back in these times.. It’s not the union’s fault the rest of the world collasped and now it’s difficult to find a job! When you have no protection at all, you will be crying even more.

  • JO April 22, 2010 (3:47 pm)

    Good luck to the drivers! When Milwaukee went on strike 2 yrs ago, we got screwed pretty bad. I hope things work out better for you guys, but they have the money to “waste” till they get what they want!

Sorry, comment time is over.