State regulators investigating Waste Management’s performance during its recent garbage strike will hold a public hearing Thursday to determine whether the company was adequately prepared for the strike, and whether it accurately reported garbage collections to regulators during the labor dispute.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission also is considering a request from the company that would allow it avoid fines and forgo refunds for missing deliveries in unincorporated areas of King, Snohomish and Skagit counties. The request would apply to the recent strike, which ended last week, and future labor actions.
The UTC, which regulates private waste collection companies in unincorporated areas, can fine the company up to $1,000 per violation, and has wide latitude in defining what constitutes a missed violation, according to its spokeswoman. Waste Management has separate contracts with a dozen cities, including Seattle, which are pursing their own fines against the company for missed collections.
The commission’s hearing will begin with a presentation by the company at 4 p.m., followed by public comments from customers at 5 p.m. The meeting will be held in city council chambers at Woodinville City Hall, 17301 133rd Ave. N.E., Woodinville.
More than 50 customers have contacted the commission about their service during the strike. Customers can submit comments at online at www.utc.wa.gov/comment, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via telephone at 1-888-333-9882. Customers also can write the UTC at P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, WA 98504.
The strike began July 25, and ended last Thursday, when the recycle drivers, represented by Teamsters Local 117, approved a new six-year-contract. The garbage drivers, represented by Teamsters Local 174, had joined the strike in solidarity.