Waste Management and Teamsters Local 117 negotiators reached tentative agreement during unannounced talks Wednesday on a new six-year contract for 153 striking recycle and yard waste truck drivers, according to a company press release.
The announcement came just hours after Renton Mayor Denis Law sent a letter to Waste Management Pacific Northwest Area Vice President Dean Kattler and Waste Management Public Sector services Area Director Mary Evans calling for an end to service disruptions by August 2 or face performance fees. A PDF of the Mayor's letter can be seen by clicking the thumbnail image to the right.
Waste Management issued their press release Wednesday night announcing a sudden breakthrough in the week-long strike, saying negotiators reached tentative agreement during “a confidential meeting.” It said the Local 117 drivers would vote on the proposal Thursday morning at the Union Hall in Tukwila, at 9 a.m.
The release said Teamster leadership will recommend members approve the pact. No details of the contract were mentioned in the company press release.
The drivers , accusing the company of coercion and other labor violations and saying the company refused to negotiate in good faith. The drivers had been working without a contract since the previous one expired May 31. They were supported by garbage truck drivers, members of Teamsters Local 174, who honored the Local 117 picket lines.
; however, commercial garbage collection and residential recycling collection has fallen by the wayside. Other cities affected by the strike include Redmond, Woodinville, Kirkland, and Seattle in addition to several others.
“We are extremely pleased that we reached an agreement on a new contract that delivers a solid compensation package to our hardworking and professional drivers”, Robin Freedman, company spokesperson, said in the press release. “Although regular drivers will be back on their routes tomorrow, it will take time to fully recover from this unfortunate situation. We appreciate the community’s patience during this time.”
Tracey Thompson, Secretary Treasurer for Teamster Local 117, was quoted in the press release as saying, "Teamster drivers work hard and deserve fair compensation for the important work that they perform. We are pleased to have negotiated a contract that recognizes the professionalism of our members.”
The release said garbage truck drivers will return to work Thursday morning and begin serving their regular Thursday routes. The return of yard waste and recycle drivers will apparently come after the vote on the contract proposal.