Garbage haulers are officially on strike

After weeks of working without a contract, garbage haulers are officially on strike against Waste Management. Teamsters Local 174 spokesperson Michael Gonzales tells our news partners, the Seattle Times, that the strike started at 10:30 Wednesday morning. Workers were told to return their trucks to their base and set up picket lines. According to the Times, about 400 union members who drive garbage trucks and work at county landfills and transfer stations are on strike. The 300 members of Local 117, who collect yard waste and recycling, are expected to honor the picket lines, the Times reports.

Seattle Public Utilities says that if your garbage was not collected Wednesday, put it out again next week on your normal collection day. If your collection day is Thursday, put your garbage out as normal. “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,” Seattle Public Utilities Acting Director Ray Hoffman said. (Thanks crownhiller for posting this in the forum.)

Help support My Ballard's independent local journalism


44
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
foo
Guest
foo

Of course this was the week that I forgot to set out our bins. :)

asdf
Guest
asdf

Whew! Well, it's a good thing that I got all the trash and recycling out this week – we had been hosting a family of houseguests for the last 2 weeks and all our bins were seriously overflowing. If they had gone out on strike last week, we would have had a real mess on our hands already.

I hope the strike is settled quickly.

monkeylover
Guest
monkeylover

I hope these idiots just get replaced. There are literally thousands of people who would gladly take their positions/pay. Give me a break.

Dave_0
Guest
Dave_0

Does this mean that we won't be charged for garbage pickups on our utility bills for the length of this strike?

B
Guest
B

Cool, you start next week!

SPG
Guest
SPG

But the people who would replace them won't get their pay. They'll get less. And you'll get less service, and the underpaid replacements won't afford to spend that money on healthcare and wind up using the emergency rooms or welfare like Walmart employees.
I'm not in a union, but I sure am glad we have them to keep the wage pressure in place.

isabeau
Guest
isabeau

That's what I was wondering Dave_o!

SPG
Guest
SPG

They'll get some untrained scabs to do the job, most likely very poorly because none of them will have experience (or likely be the pick of the job pool if you know what I mean).
You'll still get charged as though a guy making a living wage was picking up your trash even if they are paying less to a guy doing a half assed job.

SPG
Guest
SPG

At least the strike went into effect right after they picked up my trash.
Hopefully they get this squared away quickly and the union guys get back on the job.

Steve Edwards
Guest
Steve Edwards

The attrition rate for these jobs is really high – about 80% of new hires don't make it 2 years. It's hard work and and although it pay's reasonably well a lot of people don't last long. WMI is ALWAYS hiring replacement workers.

tiktok
Guest
tiktok

From the news reports, the WM guys were already making a living wage and wanted a much better living wage, whereas WM was only willing to offer them a better living wage. I suspect we can find some people who are willing to accept a “mere” living wage to do the collections.

cyclistandSUVdriver
Guest
cyclistandSUVdriver

So that explains why my recycling is still sitting out front. Great – every two weeks isn't enough as it is for recycling.

Just not feeling all that sympathetic given the crap job market out there.

monkeylover
Guest
monkeylover

So that is your argument? There is high turnover so the union deserves more money? I'm not following.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Anyone know what a typical hourly wage is for a garbageman?

eric
Member
eric

regardless of how tough the work may be, i think these guys may be in for a rude awakening…

boatgeek
Member
boatgeek

I guess if you wanted to be all technical and stuff, it means that garbagemen aren't paid enough. If 80% of the workers don't think the money is worth it after two years or less, the money probably isn't worth it.

(Not trying to make Steve's argument for him, just answering the question)

Dweezil
Member
Dweezil

We'll still be charged normally as the waste will still be picked up. A slight hiccup in service, but life will go on.

This is from the Seattle Times
“Due to the strike, some Seattle Public Utilities 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, the city says. All customers are asked to keep their recycling out.”

cdpenne
Member
cdpenne

I am not anti-union, but I think that I would be very hesitant to call a strike right now, or agree to participate. As others have said, it's a tough as hell market, and any job is better than no job.

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

I hope the gal that lives above me chooses now to start recycling… She doesn't & it drives me crazy! We have 3 regular sized garbage cans, 4 large green recycling bins, and 2 yard waste bins, YET she puts EVERYTHING in the garbage, EVEN perfectly fine cardboard… shoot. I don't even know HOW she gets all that cardboard in there, BUT I'm the one who ends up pulling it out because I use common sense.

plasticbags
Guest
plasticbags

As long as garbage makes it from my cans to the truck with nothing escaping on the street, I'm satisfied. Are you implying that the workers being paid less are going to fling trash about on the streets or drive the truck through my grass? I guess I've never had the trash not make it from the bin to the truck so I'm wondering what can go wrong if the union's demands aren't met.

Corbeau
Member
Corbeau

I support trash collectors getting paid a decent, middle income wage. While it may not be rocket science and require a college degree it IS a vital job for the safety of the public (unlike many jobs that do require a college degree and pay far more!) Bad – REALLY bad – things happen if garbage doesn't get picked up. I spent enough time in Third World countries to see this first hand. Beyond the filth and smells it can quickly become a source for all sorts of disease outbreaks, vermin problems, fire hazard, etc. Trash collectors are right up there with fire fighters and public works engineers on the list of people you absolutely need to have if you want to have a safe and functioning society. They work hard and perform a vital function so they deserve a decent paycheck.

That said, now is probably not the smartest time to go on strike and I wonder how much public support they'll get. Also happy our pick-up was this morning.

unionsstink
Guest
unionsstink

If you are in a union go shoot yourself. Your time has come and gone. You brought about the changes necessary decades ago now we have laws to protect true workers.

trashed
Guest
trashed

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.

SPG
Guest
SPG

1. Your collection will get missed.
2. Your car won't get missed and the truck will run it over.
3. The scabs won't stick around on the job and more pickups will be missed.

SPG
Guest
SPG

I think it's come down to WM not wanting to pay for the ever increasing costs of health insurance for a bunch of guys in a very physically demanding job. They're also looking at it as an opportunity to break the union. Neither position I'm willing to support, so I hope the union gets to keep their health care and that they're back on the job soon.