The threat of a strike by garbage haulers in Snohomish and King counties was averted at least temporarily with tentative agreement on a contract with one company and plans to resume talks with another.
A tentative settlement with Waste Management Inc. was reached late Sunday and will be submitted to a ratification vote in about a week, said Dan Scott, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 174. He said both sides agreed not to discuss terms of the deal before the vote.
Contract negotiations with Allied Waste Industries Inc. will likely resume today, he added.
Waste Management has a garbage collection unit based in Bothell, while Allied Waste has a collection unit based in Lynnwood. Both companies serve communities across the county.
Nels Johnson, a spokesman in Allied Waste’s regional office, said the company was eager to get back to the table. “We’re certainly hopeful that we can resolve the remaining issues as soon as we learn about them,” Johnson said.
Although the contracts are negotiated separately, the terms are similar, union leaders say. Scott would not say whether union leaders are recommending acceptance of the Waste Management offer.
Union members began strike preparations after voting Saturday to reject four-year offers from both companies, which haul garbage generated by more than 2 million residents and thousands of businesses in the two counties. Local 174 represents slightly more than 300 Waste Management drivers and slightly fewer than 300 from Allied Waste.
Key issues in the latest round of talks include seniority and attendance provisions and the length of the workday, Scott said.
“We still have some significant work to do on the workday when we meet with Allied,” he said.
Pay was not a major issue in the final phase of negotiations, he added. Drivers now make about $24.45 an hour.
Negotiations with Waste Management representatives began at 5 p.m. Sunday, but scheduling problems delayed the resumption of talks with Allied Waste for a couple of days, Scott said.
Drivers have remained on the job since the old contract expired nearly a month ago.