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Waste Management to provide credits to strike-impacted customers

Thousands of Waste Management of Washington, Inc. (WM) customers will receive a credit on their next billing for missed garbage, recycling and yard-waste collections during last summer’s eight-day labor disruption under a settlement agreement approved by state regulators today.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) adopted the settlement agreement in which WM agreed to provide about $620,000 in bill credits to more than 135,000 customers in UTC-regulated service areas of King and Snohomish counties for missed service during a strike last summer by Teamster union drivers.

The UTC also penalized WM $20,000 for failing to provide service according to the company’s published rate and service schedule. The company is not allowed to pass any penalty amounts to customers through rates.

The settlement resulted from a complaint commission staff filed against WM in April alleging service violations and some minor safety violations by the company during the 2012 strike.

The typical WM residential garbage, recycling and yard waste customer with regular service collection will receive a $5 bill credit, as will commercial and multi-family customers with fewer than three carts/cans. Larger commercial and multi-family customers with three or more carts/cans or detachable container service will receive a $25 bill credit.

Based on data supplied by WM, commission staff estimated the utility missed more than 208,000 pickups during the strike. The commission received 136 consumer complaints from the company’s customers whose waste was not collected during the strike.

The strike, which involved Teamsters Local Union No. 117 recycling and yard-waste drivers with support from the Local Union No. 174 garbage drivers, began July 25 and ended Aug. 2, 2012.

The UTC regulates WM solid waste, recycling and yard-waste collection service in mostly unincorporated areas of Snohomish and King counties, unless service is provided by a city.

The UTC regulates the rates and services of privately owned solid waste and recycling companies, except those under contract with municipal governments. Please visit www.utc.wa.gov/solidwaste for more information.

-from a press release

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