By Polly Keary, Editor
Monroe residents found their garbage cans still full on the curb Wednesday, after garbage trucks were due to pick them up.
That was because members of Teamsters Locals 38 and 117, which represents workers at Republic Services, Monroe’s waste management company, decided to support striking workers in Ohio.
Republic Services provides waste management services in 44 states. In Ohio, workers are wrangling with the company over pensions. Ohio workers are striking.
Teamsters Joint Council 28 members have the option to support what are called extended picket lines, which only exist when union members from strikes elsewhere appear in person and picket locally as several Ohio strikers did last week.
“We’re very unfortunate that the Teamsters decided to bring that non-local issue here to the Northwest and chose to disrupt services to customers,” said Anne Laughlin, communications specialist for Republic Services, on Friday.
Monroe residents get their yard waste, garbage and recycling picked up once a week, either Tuesday or Wednesday. Tuesday’s service wasn’t interrupted, but about 2,700 residents didn’t get service Wednesday.
Commercial service was also interrupted Wednesday. Republic Services has about 80 commercial stops on Wednesdays that didn’t get made last week, but according to Republic Services, the company was caught up by Friday.
The company is treating the interruption like a snow day; garbage collectors will pick up double loads next Wednesday.
Currently the picket lines from Ohio have been put down and negotiations are underway, said Michael Beranbaum, Collective Bargaining and Organizing Director for Joint Council 28, the governing body of Teamsters unions in the northwest.
“Hopefully they will receive a labor agreement that is acceptable,” he said. “If not, I don’t know if the people from Ohio will come back.”
Other affected areas included Kent and south King County, where about 13,000 people were affected, and Lynnwood, where about 3,500 people were impacted.