Trash strike continues; no talks yet
Waste Management reported sending replacement drivers Monday on some routes. Substitute crews did reach many medical facilities and restaurants, though trash was piling up in front of one local hospital.
The union for the recyling and yard-waste drivers confirmed making a weekend overture to restart mediation, though it was unclear whether Sunday's effort had yielded any breakthrough.
"We made a confidential proposal through a federal mediator," Teamsters Local 117 spokesman Paul Zilly said Monday.
The strike stems from a contract dispute between Waste Management and about 150 yard-waste and recycling drivers who serve about 220,000 residential and commercial customers in portions of Snohomish and King counties. The sides have spent seven months negotiating a new six-year contract. The old contract expired May 31.
Drivers started picketing July 25. Garbage collection also ground to a halt when about 350 garbage drivers from Teamsters Local 174 joined the picket lines in support.
The union wants to close a gap of about $9 an hour between the pay of its recycling truck drivers and the garbage truck drivers of Local 174.
Waste Management is offering a six-year deal it says would raise average salaries from $58,000 to $68,000 a year. If benefits are included, the offer is worth $98,000 a year to a driver at the end of the sixth year, the company said.
Waste Management reported bringing in substitute drivers over the weekend and planned to focus on commercial routes, including restaurants.
"Additional substitute drivers are on the way and we are beginning to hire replacement drivers identified during our job fair last month," the company said in a statement.
Recycling and solid waste pickups have not been interrupted at either Swedish/Edmonds or Swedish/Mill Creek, the stand-alone emergency room near 128th Street SE south of Everett.
"Neither has had any sort of negative effect because of the strike," said Swedish spokesman Ed Boyle.
The Everett Clinic also reported it is getting normal pickups at its Mill Creek, Marysville and Harbour Pointe clinics, all served by Waste Management.
Waste Management has listed hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and day care among its priorities, because of their potential impacts on public safety.
That's not the case at Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington, where garbage is stacking up.
Normally, the hospital gets twice a week pickup, according to Clark Jones, the hospital's chief executive.
"We are hoping that (the company) comes through soon," he said.
Affected Waste Management routes in Snohomish County run through Arlington, Granite Falls, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Marysville, Mukilteo and large parts of unincorporated Snohomish County.
Customers of Allied Waste Services and Rubatino Refuse Removal are unaffected.
Picketing workers have been visible around the clock at Waste Management facilities in Maltby and Marysville.
The Associated Press, Sharon Salyer and Alejandro Dominguez contributed to this report. Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, email@example.com.
Waste Management encourages people to check for service updates at www.wmnorthwest.com or call 800-592-9995.
Teamsters Local 117 says people and businesses can go to www.seattletrashwatch.org for updates and call 800-230-7418 to report yard waste, recycling or garbage service disruptions.
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