Photo by Steve Shay
UPDATE: A tentative 6-year agreement has just been reached between Waste Management & Local Teamsters 117. Recycling was beginning to be picked up in residential Burien today by temporary out-of-state workers. Looks like this will soon be resolved.

UPDATE 3:Burien Wednesday customers will get garbage, yard waste pickup on Friday

UPDATE: 6:21 p.m.
If you are a Burien Wednesday residential customer, Waste Management will collect garbage and yard waste on Friday as part of our recovery services (only
garbage and yard waste collection).

Waste Management is working diligently to resume services throughout Puget
Sound. We are pleased to announce that WM is expanding our service recovery
efforts to include regular Friday routes and additional recovery in certain
residential areas. Customers may double load at no extra charge and please keep your carts out until 6:00pm.

Update: 11.28 a.m.

Press release from Seattle Public Utilities

Teamsters Local Union No. 117 recycling drivers voted this morning to end their strike against Waste Management, and garbage and food/yard waste collections have resumed.

UPDATE: 7:20 p.m.

Tentative agreement reached. Here is the press release issued by Waste Management:

Following a confidential meeting between the parties’ lead negotiators, Waste Management and Teamsters Local 117 announced that they have reached a tentative agreement on a new 6-year contract. Teamster leadership and the bargaining committee will fully recommend that members approve the new contract at the ratification vote scheduled for 9:00am on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at the Union Hall in Tukwila.

Garbage drivers will return to work in the morning and begin servicing their regular Thursday collection routes. However, due to the timing of the ratification vote, recycling and yard waste collection will be limited.

Please see for more information.

“We are extremely pleased that we reached an agreement on a new contract that delivers a solid compensation package to our hardworking and professional drivers”, said Robin Freedman, spokesperson for Waste Management. “Although regular drivers will be back on their routes tomorrow it will take time to fully recover from this unfortunate situation. We appreciate the community’s patience during this time.”

“Teamster drivers work hard and deserve fair compensation for the important work that they perform,” announced Tracey Thompson, Secretary Treasurer for Teamster Local 117. “We are pleased to have negotiated a contract that recognizes the professionalism of our members.”


Burien City Manager Mike Martin told the Highline Times today that Burien's yard waste is now being picked up on schedule. He said it is expected that those who regularly have their recycling removed on Wednesdays will have theirs removed today, and the other residents with Monday and Tuesday pickup times will have service beginning next week.

However, the strike is still on with no end in sight, a Teamsters Local 117 spokesperson told the Highline Times.

"I was told this morning that Waste Management intends to pick up recycling today, Monday and Tuesday, at residential accounts," Martin said. "I don't have any insight into the workings of the strike situation. There are certain liquidated damages that we can levy if we choose to do so and I sent a letter to Waste Management that said we'd do that if we didn't see them return to (servicing Burien). We're interested in getting our garbage collected and we're trying not to pick sides on this. But I told them that if necessary to get this thing resolved we'd certainly consider it. I'm in a bit of a wait-and-see position."

"The strike is not over," said Paul Zilly, speaking for Teamsters Local 117. "Pickets are still up. We have reached out to Waste Management through a federal mediator at different times to get the company back to the bargaining table. They've refused. This is about Waste Management's refusal to engage in meaningful bargaining with recycle drivers. We can't even start negotiating about wages, benefits or working conditions until we get to the bargaining table.

"Waste Management announced yesterday they would permanently replace its workers in this area with out-of-state workers," Zilly continued. "That's actually an unlawful action to take, an official unfair labor practice during a strike. Under the National Labor Relations Act the company is prohibited from permanently replacing workers. They have the right to replace workers with temporary replacements, which they have done. We believe that is a bullying, scare tactic to intimidate its local work force that is ready and willing to get back to work to pick up people's recycling.

Zilly added, "We're saying the best way to provide service for your customers is to sit down and bargain with the professional, experienced, local workers who know the routes, the streets, the neighborhoods who can get the job done instead of bringing in out-of-state workers."

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.