Garbage drivers accept new Waste Management contracton August 1, 2012 @ 6:23 pm (Updated: 1:00 pm - 8/2/12 )
Waste Management and Teamsters Local 117 reached a tentative agreement Wednesday evening.
Teamsters leadership recommended that striking recycling and yard waste truck drivers approve the pact before a vote on Thursday morning, the two sides said in a statement.
"This deal recognizes Seattle-area recycle and yard waste drivers for the tremendous job they do in performing difficult, dangerous work that protects the public health and the environment," Tracey Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117 said in a news release. "Recycling is our future. We thank our drivers for their critical role in keeping our cities clean and for helping to make our region one of the leaders in the industry."
The ratification means more than 200,000 customers can expect the return of regular yard waste and recycling service. The strike began July 25.
Garbage truck drivers, represented by a different Teamsters local, have been honoring the strikers' picket lines, but also returned to work Thursday.
"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," said Robin Freedman, spokesperson for Waste Management.
Due to the timing of the ratification vote, recycling and yard waste collection on Thursday will be limited.
The company is telling residential and commercial customers to put out their bins if Thursday is their regular collection day.
Mayor Mike McGinn said Waste Management customers in Seattle can continue to drop off up to six bags of garbage or yard waste at transfer stations for free. This free service will last through this Sunday.
The company has said it expects it will be fined for missing pickups. Its contract with the city allows penalties of $1.25 million a day for service disruptions that last more than a week. The fines would be used to help customers pay bills.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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