Talks continue, but labor contract for trash haulers expires Wednesday

Allied Waste, which provides nearly all trash pick-up services for Edmonds residents living outside the Bowl, said it will “continue to provide essential service to its customers” if drivers go on strike Wednesday.

Republic Services, the parent company of Allied Waste, released the following statement after Teamsters Local 174 on Sunday authorized a strike in advance of contract expiration. The current contract, covering 130 employees, expires March 31, 2010. Contract negotiations between Allied Waste and Teamsters Local 174 have been ongoing since early February of this year, Allied Waste said, and additional meetings are scheduled this week.

“Allied Waste has bargained in good faith attempting to meet Teamsters Local 174 and their demands within a sensible and workable framework. The most significant remaining difference involves pension protection language.  We are taking steps to ensure that the union’s pension trust funds never become insolvent, so employees are able to retire with full pensions.

Allied Waste will continue to make all efforts to reach consensus on the proposed contract with the Teamsters. However, should a strike occur, we will make necessary staffing adjustments by bringing in employees from other local regions and alert customers to the proper procedures for disposing of garbage.

Plans are already in place to minimize interruption of service for our customers on the more than 100 routes we service in the Seattle area. It is important to note that service for establishments such as hospitals and health clinics, where the retrieval of trash is critical to public health and safety, would be prioritized.Garbage collection is an essential public service, and a strike would penalize the public needlessly.” 

Sound Disposal provides service to those living in the Edmonds Bowl, but Allied Waste serves almost all the rest of the city. In addition, Waste Management Northwest, which would also be affected by the Local 174 strike,  provides service to about 100 Edmonds homes in an area north of Lake Ballinger.  The Seattle Times, online news partner for My Edmonds News, reported Tuesday that Waste Management is calling in a large number of potential replacement workers as part of its strike contingency plan, according to a company spokesperson.

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