SEATTLE — A waste collection company and its striking drivers announced a tentative agreement Wednesday in an eight-day walkout that has left bags spilling from trash cans in Seattle and nearby cities.
The company had announced Tuesday that it had decided to begin hiring permanent replacements.
Waste Management Inc. and Teamsters Local 117 said the agreement on a six-year contract came after a confidential meeting between the parties’ lead negotiators.
Teamsters leadership will recommend that striking recycling and yard waste truck drivers approve the pact in a vote scheduled this morning, the two sides said in a statement. Terms of the tentative deal were not released.
Garbage truck drivers, represented by a different Teamsters local, have been honoring the strikers’ picket lines. Due to the timing of the ratification vote, recycling and yard waste collection will be limited Thursday, the statement said.
The walkout that began July 25 has affected 217,000 customers in King and Snohomish counties. Some business owners have angrily paid to dump their own trash. In neighborhoods, flies were circling curbside garbage bins where trash has started to stink in the summer weather.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department urged residents to keep garbage enclosed to avoid attracting raccoons and bears.
“We are pleased to have negotiated a contract that recognizes the professionalism of our members,” said Tracey Thompson, secretary-treasurer of Local 117, which represents the 150 recycling and yard waste drivers.
“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,” Waste Management spokeswoman Robin Freedman said in the statement.
She asked for customers’ patience as the company works to “fully recover from this unfortunate situation.”
Waste Management said its most recent previous offer was a six-year deal that would raise average salaries from $58,000 to $68,000 a year. If benefits are included, that offer was worth $98,000 a year to a driver at the end of the sixth year, the company said.