(Seattle, WA) – Waste Management and Teamster recycle drivers returned to the bargaining table today, but talks stalled yet again because the company refused to engage in meaningful bargaining. Recycle drivers presented the company with a new proposal, but Waste Management refused to negotiate.
“Waste Management has refused to bargain in good faith on repeated occasions,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “The company has backed workers up against the wall and left them with very few options to protect their livelihoods.”
A central issue in bargaining has been the large compensation disparity between recycle and garbage drivers in our region. On average, garbage haulers earn $9/hr more in total compensation than their recycle driver counterparts.
Last month, the Union successfully addressed these inequities in bargaining with one of Waste Management’s principal competitors, Allied Waste/Republic. After challenging negotiations, Allied Waste/Republic recycle drivers overwhelmingly ratified a 5-year contract on June 2.
Waste Management has refused to consider a proposal similar to the deal the Union achieved with Allied Waste/Republic.
“Waste Management has provided no credible explanation for undervaluing the work of its recycle drivers,” Thompson said.
“The fact is whether you are a recycle or garbage driver, this is incredibly dangerous work. Four of our members in the industry have died on the job since 2007. Garbage and recycle drivers work under the same risky conditions and deserve the same fair and equitable treatment,” she said.
150 recycle and yard waste drivers employed by Waste Management have been working without a contract since May 31. On June 2, the drivers unanimously voted to authorize a strike after Waste Management is alleged to have committed a series of labor law violations.
If Waste Management locks out its employees or provokes a strike, drivers are urging customers to report service disruptions by calling 1-800-230-7418. A call to the 1-800 number will patch customers through to their local elected officials where they can report service failures.
The drivers have also established a website at www.seattletrashwatch.org designed to provide the public with additional resources and information about Waste Management’s bullying tactics around the country.
View a PDF of this press release.