Waste Management strike update: City says it might fine WM for non-collection; sets up #theymissedme

As the walkout by Waste Management‘s recycling/yard-waste/garbage truck drivers starts its second week, the city says it’s taking action – “possible fines” for WM, plus a request for tweets about missed pickups, and extended hours at transfer stations. Here’s the full city news release:

At a City Hall news conference this morning Mayor Mike McGinn announced that city inspectors will begin assessing possible fines to be imposed on Waste Management for non-collection of garbage, recycling, and food and yard waste, with funds to be returned to the public in the form of bill adjustments. The fines could reach as high as $1.25 million per day.

“This service disruption is creating a hardship for residents and businesses, and we expect Waste Management to fulfill their contract,” McGinn said. “We will be looking for every missed collection by Waste Management and with the public’s help we will hold them accountable. I urge both sides to return to the table to reach a mutually acceptable solution.”

With Waste Management’s one week grace period over, Seattle Public Utilities inspectors will begin fanning out across Seattle looking for missed collections and assessing possible penalty fees. Wednesday customers have been asked to keep any uncollected carts out until Thursday, August 2. Any uncollected carts will be recorded for fines — up to $1.25 million a day — to be issued to Waste Management.

The public can report missed collections through the following ways.

· Clicking on a link on Seattle Public Utilities website at www.seattle.gov/util

· Via personal twitter accounts: making sure to include the block where they live (a specific address is not necessary), the hash tag #theymissedme, and a picture of their carts.

In addition to reporting missed collections, the public can get rid of uncollected garbage at the city’s transfer stations. Single-family residents in Waste Management’s service areas may drop off up to six bags of garbage and yard waste for free at the South and North transfer stations. Both stations are open seven days a week. The north station operates 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the south station’s hours have been extended until 9 p.m. for the duration of the strike.

Customers should bring appropriate identification — for example, a driver’s license or a utility bill — to demonstrate they are City of Seattle residents.

Recycling drop-off is always free.

SPU is also similarly asking Thursday customers to put garbage, yard waste and recycling out before 7 a.m. tomorrow morning. Carts should be left out until 6 p.m. Friday night, August 3, for possible collection and recording for fines.

Mayor McGinn also directed SPU to return any collected penalties to its customers, in the form of adjustments to their solid waste bills. Details of that arrangement are being developed by SPU.

The Mayor emphasized that the city’s top priority is safeguarding public health and safety, and he urged the company and the union to get back to the bargaining table immediately to get their differences resolved and the garbage picked up.

SPU operates two transfer stations:

· The North Recycling and Disposal Station is located at 1350 North 34th Street in the Fremont/Wallingford area.

· The South Recycling and Disposal Station is located at 8105 5th Avenue South in the South Park area.

Customers can also check to see if there are lines with SPU’s station web cams (here’s the South Park view).

WM says it’s providing residential service for GARBAGE ONLY today in Seattle, per its web page. If there are any more updates today, we’ll add them to this story; you can always find the newest update linked atop the BIG STORIES list on the WSB sidebar.

12 Replies to "Waste Management strike update: City says it might fine WM for non-collection; sets up #theymissedme"

  • Brian August 1, 2012 (12:37 pm)

    Our bus driver pulled up beside one of the replacement drivers on 16th this morning. I didn’t catch everything which was said. I did overhear her say her husband was one of those on strike, so I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant.

    My compost bin is full and will be packing quite the odor by the time it is picked up. Presents for whoever has to pick it up.

  • Justin Wright August 1, 2012 (12:40 pm)

    Did anyone catch the horrible rotten garbage smell wafting through Pigeon Point this morning?

    My thought was winds from a backed up transfer terminal but that’s just speculation.

  • WS Parent August 1, 2012 (12:53 pm)

    They got our garbage today but our recycling bin is absolutely full. I am unsure how to transport it since we don’t have a truck. We live in one of the areas with every other week garbage pickup, which has us use our recycling and yard waste containers to the last square inch. It’s frustrating. Maybe a neighbor with a truck can help us get it to recycle. Argh.

  • JG August 1, 2012 (2:29 pm)

    I’m generally against scab workers but this starts to become a public health issue rather quickly. I hope the Mayor is more aggressive with this than a mildy worded press statement.

  • Wally August 1, 2012 (3:28 pm)

    City is coming out smelling pretty good on this one. Unlike the Seattlelites. City might break the Union, they continue to charge the customers even though their is real limited service, City is still deducting 15-20% from WM and now they might fine WM daily.

  • ws parent August 1, 2012 (3:34 pm)

    For what it’s worth apparently the transfer station is a surprisingly fun field trip for a 2 and a 4 year old. We went right before 11am today and I was surprised that there was a very short line. As we were leaving it started to look like there was more of a wait.

  • DCo August 1, 2012 (5:49 pm)

    I’m so ready for this to be over and get my trash picked up. Its totally disgusting. BRING ON THE REPLACEMENTS

  • Marie August 1, 2012 (5:51 pm)

    It’s pretty smelly with all this sun, and I’d like to know that they will not be billing us for this week missed! It would be appreciated that they make some adjustments to our monthly bill! This is ridiculous for us customers. I realize this may have needed to happen for the workers, however to me… With this large of a company, one would think there is a back up plan in place…

  • miws August 1, 2012 (6:06 pm)

    ws parent, the transfer station is a fun field trip for a nearly 54 year old too! ;-)



  • JayDee August 1, 2012 (7:00 pm)

    Justin Wright: Sometimes near Avalon and Spokane there is a really rude odor — I smelled it today in fact. IMHO what you smelled is uncontrolled landfill gas from the inactive West Seattle landfill located just to the north of that intersection. I could see that the odor could waft to Pigeon Point under light winds.

  • Brandon McBride August 7, 2012 (12:27 pm)

    It’s the middle of summer. Trash is sitting out for two weeks in the heat. Insects and disease start to become a problem.

    Hey, if they don’t want to do their job, I’m all for replacements. Someone out there needs money enough that they’re willing to take it so I say let them.

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