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Teamsters dump Waste Management's 'best, last, final offer'
by KOMO Staff
Originally printed at http://www.komonews....l/89813027.html
SEATTLE -- The Teamsters Local 174 says it has chosen not to accept Waste Management's 'best, last, final offer."
Union spokesman Michael Gonzales said the Teamsters have submitted a new proposal with "significant movement," and have no plans to strike.
"We have requested that the employer return to the bargaining table, and at the time of this press release we have not received a response," he said.
But Waste Management spokesperson Jackie Lang said the company is standing by its "last, best, final offer," and in the case of worst-case scenario, will utilize the workers it has standing by under its contingency plan.
Waste Management on Wednesday presented the union with what it calls a "generous compensation package" for the 350 union members. But the union said the company's contains "significant changes that had not yet been discussed in bargaining."
"The idea that the company can introduce new language and throw all kinds of changes at us and expect our members to vote on a short deadline is offensive," said Rick Hicks, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 174 and lead negotiator.
"From a union's perspective, this appears to be a tactic to divide the membership and force them to vote on a substandard deal," said Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, Tracey A. Thompson. "This approach to bargaining calls into question whether the company is bargaining in good faith."
Waste Management's five-year offer includes a wage increase of $1 per hour in the first year, bumping up the current pay rate of $26.29 per hour by 3.7 percent.
By the last year of the contract, the average driver's annual compensation will reach $109,553, Waste Management said, and the company will contribute more than $15,000 per year to each employee's pension fund. (View the full proposal)
In addition, Waste Management said it is offering a one-time $1,000 bonus to each employee if the contract is ratified by April 3.
"By attaching an artificial deadline, it looks like they're trying to ram a bad contract down the sanitation workers' throats," said Brent Barrett, a yard waste driver.
The Teamsters' contract with Waste Management expired on March 31; however, workers chose not to strike and continue negotiation talks.
The reached a tentative deal with Allied Waste on Wednesday. The details of the agreement were not released.