Trash strike causes confusion for Issaquah customers

August 7, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Drivers for the garbage hauler in most Issaquah neighborhoods fielded questions in late July as a strike paralyzed another hauler and led to festering containers on street corners in many King County cities.

The strike did not affect either contract hauler operating in Issaquah, but drivers for CleanScapes received questions from customers along collection routes. Many customers assumed the drivers to be nonunion replacement drivers for Waste Management.

CleanScapes drivers, members of Teamsters Local 174, operate under a contract signed last year. The company operates under a single labor agreement with garbage, recycling and yard waste drivers.

The curbside confusion stemmed in part from the recent switch in Issaquah from Waste Management to CleanScapes.

Waste Management used to provide garbage and recycling service for most Issaquah customers, but the city switched to CleanScapes on July 1.

Under a separate contract, Allied Waste — a local name for national company Republic Services — hauls garbage in Issaquah’s South Cove and Greenwood Point neighborhoods along Lake Sammamish. Allied Waste also handles garbage service in unincorporated King County communities, such as Klahanie, Mirrormont and Preston.

“We know that people often don’t know who their garbage and recycling contractor is, particularly in Seattle where there are two contractors,” said John Taylor, community relations manager for Seattle-based CleanScapes. “For simplicity’s sake, we want people to know that if your garbage, recycling or yard waste gets picked up by a bright green and orange truck, then you are a CleanScapes customer, and that truck driver is a member of Teamsters Local 174.”

CleanScapes serves customers in Seattle, Shoreline, San Francisco and Portland, Ore.

In October, Issaquah City Council members selected CleanScapes to haul Issaquah garbage from July 2012 until June 2019 — a $3.8-million-per-year contract. Waste Management and Allied Waste had also submitted bids.

Waste Management service for customers in King and Snohomish counties stopped July 25 after Teamsters Local 117 went on strike over wage and benefits issues. Representatives from Waste Management and the union settled the strike Aug. 2.

State regulators said the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is investigating the way Waste Management handled the strike.

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