By Jamie Fleming

In a remarkable display of worker solidarity, over 640 Waste Management Teamsters across three Local Unions worked together to ratify a strong new Agreement. The full group encompasses Waste Management employees in various classifications across western Washington, from Local 231 in Bellingham to Locals 117 and 174 in King County. The completed agreement represents a monumental victory, with life-changing increases and improvements on nearly every page of the contract.

The most obvious victories are in the contract economics, including some of the largest day-one wage increases ever negotiated. These wage increases are accompanied by meaningful pension increases, full maintenance of benefits on healthcare, better vacation pay and accrual, two additional holidays, better overtime rules, paid time off when weather events cause havoc, and many more improvements. All in all, there were more than 120 changes made to the contract language, almost all of which were beneficial to the Teamsters working under this agreement. Waste Management also agreed to implement the increases and work rule changes immediately upon ratification, despite the fact that the Local 174 and 231 contracts do not expire until the end of March, and the Local 117 contract was not set to expire until mid-2026.

“There was a time when Waste Management Teamsters from Locals 231, 117, and 174 negotiated separately and were at odds with each other rather than working together as one team. I am pleased to announce that those days are now over,” said Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “Our combined group presented a united front that made sure the balance of power was in our favor, not Waste Management’s. This spirit of cooperation and collaboration carried us all across the finish line, leading to one of the most impressive Union contracts I’ve ever been a part of. Everyone involved should be proud of the work that was done leading to this truly historic agreement, including management who should be commended for stepping up and recognizing the value their employees bring to the bottom-line financial success of the Company.”

“Teamsters in the solid waste industry perform essential, physically demanding work that protects the public health and our environment,” said Teamsters Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer Paul Dascher. “This historic, multi-Local agreement proves that solidarity and a coordinated effort in bargaining can result in great wages, excellent health care, and meaningful retirement security for our members.”

“We entered these joint negotiations with a goal of leveling the playing field for Waste Management Teamsters from north to south, and thanks to the solidarity of the three locals, we will be able to achieve that on day 1,” said Teamsters Local 231 Secretary-Treasurer Rich Ewing. “We are excited not just for our members, but also the Local 117 members who are finally going to be included in this collaborative agreement, which increased our bargaining power here and will continue to pay dividends into the future.”

Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks went on to say, “the success of this Agreement truly demonstrates what can be accomplished for the betterment of all our members when we come together with one voice and one mission. I am proud of the relationship the three Locals Unions have forged through this remarkable process.”

Now that this contract has been fully ratified, it sets a clear standard for the other Teamster-represented companies competing in the sanitation industry. This contract expires in 2029.

Photos from the ratification meeting.