Waste Management Drivers Strike

Members of Teamsters Local 117 says the company has been intimidating workers and refusing to bargain in good faith, and pickets have been set up at several local facilities including Woodinville.


Charging that Waste Management is intimidating employees and engaging in other unfair labor practices, the company’s recycling and yard waste truck drivers went on strike Wednesday morning, setting up pickets at several facilities. 

Contract talks between Waste Management, which maintains its regional headquarters in Kirkland, and Teamsters Local 117 broke down last month. The 153 drivers have been working without a contract since the previous one expired on May 31.

Paul Zilly, Local 117 spokesman, said that the company has been threatening, coercing and retaliating against workers and that the strike will continue until it returns to the bargaining table.

“It’s going to take Waste Management returning to the bargaining table and bargaining in good faith,” he said. “They have refused to do that and have refused to listen to listen to our offer. This dispute is about Waste Management refusing outright to bargain with our members in good faith.”

A press release by Local 177 said the National Labor Relations Boards is investigating several violations by the company.

Zilly said the drivers want a contract comparable to that of other drivers in the industry. The Local 117 press release said driving waste trucks is a dangerous job and that since 2005, four Local 117 members in the industry have been killed on the job.

Many of the drivers were out on their routes when the union called the strike at 10 a.m., so many Waste Management customers did receive service Wednesday morning. Parts of Woodinville will not get trash picked up Wednesday.

The Local 117 press release urged residents and businesses served by Waste Management to call 1-800-230-7418 to report recycle, yard waste, and garbage service disruptions and visit www.seattletrashwatch.org for updates and information. Customers can also get service updates at the company website, www.wmnorthwest.com.

Patch has put in calls to Waste Management officials and will update this story as soon as they respond. In the past the company has denied Local 117 charges in the dispute and said it has offered drivers a total compensation package exceeding $98,000 in the final year of a new six-year contract.

For a previous  Patch story on the dispute, click here.

Local Guy July 27, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Full agreement Dave. And let's be clear. They are NOT making $17 vs $24 an hour. They are making $17 vs $24 PLUS benefits. A very significant point not to be marginalized...
Susan Milke July 27, 2012 at 05:10 PM
The Seattle Times reported it incorrectly?! as they have $17 vs $9 starting out. And what is wrong with benefits? Do they have us so conditioned that getting benefits from you employer is a bad thing. Isn't that what most of us have or wish we had? Safety issue is covered in the Times this am. Haven't had time to read it, but FYI.
DaveR July 27, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Absolutely nothing is wrong with having benefits. Personally I believe everyone should have them one way or another - especially if we're talking about something that should be a human right, such as healthcare. Given that these whiners have benefits that many others out there do not then perhaps they might consider this as part of the package and not something to take lightly. Until such time as we have truly universal healthcare then it IS part of the compensation scheme whether you like it or not. I have 2 adult children, both college graduates, both working more than 40 hours a week, and neither has benefits and neither is making this very decent living that the trash haulers make.
Local Guy July 28, 2012 at 12:38 AM
" And what is wrong with benefits?" Nothing... Who implied otherwise?
Local Guy July 28, 2012 at 01:01 AM
If you concluded that from my comments, you are in error, in fact I am representing the the opposite. When posters make references to what drivers are being compensated, and marginalize benefit valuations through omission, it portrays an inaccurate representation of true value...


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