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.
Waste Management issued the 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.
The City of Kirkland contracts for refuse collection with Waste Management, which maintains its regional headquarters in Kirkland. Other cities affected by the strike include Redmond, Woodinville, Renton, Seattle and 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.
Kirkland Patch has calls in to both Waste Management and Teamsters Local 117 and will update this story as details become available.