Negotiations between workers and the Waste Management company have reached an absolute standstill, with hundreds of trash and recycling workers striking and the sanitation giant refusing to negotiate with picketing workers.
Waste Management employees, represented by Teamsters Local 117, walked off the job last Wednesday after working without a contract since May 31. Waste Management is proposing a contract that pays recycling workers less than garbage haulers, despite the similarity between the jobs. Tellingly, Waste Management has historically taken an oppositional stance to organized labor, and seemed to be priming for a lock-out in June. After the contract expired, Waste Management held a job fair for replacement (scab) workers, and increased security at its Puget Sound headquarters. Alas, the replacement workers have not managed to keep up with the overflowing garbage and recycling heaps in Puget Sound.