(Seattle, WA) – Waste Management forced recycle and yard waste drivers who service King and Snohomish counties to strike this morning by violating federal labor law. Picket lines were established at several Waste Management facilities at 10 A.M. this morning.
The National Labor Relations Board is investigating a number of violations committed by the company, including bad-faith bargaining, coercing and direct dealing with its employees, threatening to retaliate against workers, and unilaterally changing working conditions.
“Waste Management has forced this labor dispute through its blatant disregard of U.S. law,” said Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, Tracey A. Thompson. “Now they are on the verge of provoking a public health crisis. Waste Management needs to realize that this community will not sit idly by while they put our families at risk. We call on Waste Management to return to the bargaining table immediately and bargain a fair contract in good faith that recognizes the health and safety hazards its drivers face on the job.”
153 recycle and yard waste drivers employed by Waste Management have been working without a contract since May 31, 2012. On June 2, the drivers unanimously voted to authorize a strike after Waste Management committed a series of labor law violations.
Sanitation workers perform one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, putting their lives on the line every day to protect the public health. Since 2005, four Local 117 members in the industry have been killed on the job.
“With the health and safety hazards we face every day, we deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The last thing we want is a strike, but Waste Management is using illegal bullying tactics to threaten our livelihood,” said Brent Barrett, a Waste Management yard waste driver who works out of the company’s Seattle facility.
Residents and businesses should call 1-800-230-7418 to report recycle, yard waste, and garbage service disruptions and visit www.seattletrashwatch.org for updates and information.
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