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August 3, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Washington state investigating Waste Management garbage strike

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission said Friday it is investigating Waste  Management’s handling of the garbage strike that halted trash collection in the Seattle area for more than a week.

In a letter to the company, the commission said Waste Management’s ability to resume trash collection after the company’s garbage and recycle-truck drivers went on strike July 25, took longer than the company had indicated in contingency plans on file with the commission, and in meetings with commission staff.

“We are also concerned that the company may not have allocated available replacement drivers equitably,” the commission wrote. It noted that the company took longer to provide service to areas not regulated by the commission. Those areas were often in unincorporated areas of King and Snohomish counties.

The commission asked for reports detailing when service was restored each day of the strike. It also wants to know when the replacement drivers were in place and working.

Waste Management has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The strike, which affected more than 220,000 customers in King and Snohomish counties, lasted a week. It was settled Thursday, when the recycle drivers, represented by Teamsters Local 117,  voted to approve a new six-year contract. Teamsters Local 174, which represents the company’s garbage-truck drivers, joined the strike. They went back to work Thursday.

Comments | Topics: garbage strike, Waste Management

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