Facing growing piles of garbage from a week-old truck driver strike and the looming threat of fines, Waste Management has decided to begin hiring permanent replacement drivers, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The company also announced plans to expand its waste collection efforts today.
It planned to run all of its commercial garbage routes for customers normally serviced on Wednesdays and to provide residential garbage pickup for customers with Wednesday garbage collection in nearly a dozen communities including Seattle, spokeswoman Robin Freedman said.
“We have obligations throughout the Puget Sound region,” she said. “We need to get back to work.”
Recycling and yard waste drivers represented by the Teamsters Union walked out July 25, and Waste Management’s Teamsters garbage truck drivers have honored their picket lines. The strike has affected about 217,000 customers in King and Snohomish counties, including large areas of Seattle. On Tuesday, the strikers extended their picketing to a Waste Management facility in Burlington, in Skagit County.
No permanent replacements have yet been hired, Freedman said Tuesday evening, adding that the waste pickups the company has managed so far have used substitute drivers brought in from other places.
Freedman said she didn’t know how many permanent replacements the company hoped to hire. Plans called for screening candidates identified at a recent recruitment fair and through ads running this week.
Replacements won’t be on the road Wednesday “but it will be soon,” she said.
No talks are scheduled in the strike.