Union trash haulers offer to end strike

April 22, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 4:05 p.m. April 22, 2010

Waste Management trash haulers represented by the Teamsters Union offered to return to work at midnight Friday.

The union said haulers plan to return to work without conditions “to prevent a public health crisis” and reduce service disruptions.

Waste Management trash haulers represented by Teamsters Local 174 went on strike Wednesday morning. The company picks up garbage in most of Issaquah, except for the Greenwood Point and South Cove neighborhoods. Altogether, Waste Management serves more than 1 million customers across King and Snohomish counties.

County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn sent a joint letter to Waste Management and Local 174 on Wednesday afternoon, urging the parties to resolve the labor dispute.

“At the urging of Seattle Mayor McGinn and King County Executive Constantine, we commit to getting this done at the bargaining table and to keep the public out of it, if possible,” Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks said in a statement.

The contract for Waste Management haulers expired March 31. Union negotiators rejected what Waste Management described as the “best, last, final offer” in early April.

Waste Management directed questions about trash pickup to the company website.

The city of Issaquah is not a party in the labor discussions. Municipal officials worked with Waste Management to ensure strike contingency plans could be implemented.

Autumn Monahan, the city spokeswoman, encouraged residents to track the situation on a section of the city website devoted to the strike.

Meanwhile, union officials prepared a plan for customers to report service disruptions and problems in the event of a strike. The union encouraged customers to report service interruptions through a strike website or at 800-976-0071.

But the toll-free number connects callers to officials in their areas, instead of to Waste Management or the union. The hotline directs callers who input the 98027 ZIP code, for instance, to Mayor Ava Frisinger’s line at City Hall. The city, in turn, asks callers to contact Waste Management or Allied Waste.

Allied Waste, the hauler responsible for Greenwood Point and South Cove, reached a labor deal with workers April 11. Allied Waste also serves Klahanie and Mirrormont in unincorporated King County.

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