RENTON, Wash. — Scheduled trash service cross Puget Sound was disrupted Wednesday after local workers with a disposal company paused work to support a worker strike happening within the same company in California.
Hundreds of Seattle area-based workers with Republic Services participated in a work stoppage to support the strike happening in San Diego, according to the labor union's web page.
"Sanitation workers on strike at Republic Services in San Diego extended their picket line to four Republic facilities in Seattle, Bellevue, Lynnwood and Kent, Washington today. Over 300 Teamsters who work at these trash and recycling facilities are refusing to cross the picket line," the post from Teamsters says.
Teamsters workers in San Diego are asking for the company to address concerns over "excessive overtime, pandemic safety, and harassment by managers," according to the post.
For many residents in Washington, the delay in pickup on Wednesday meant trash has not been collected since mid-December, due to previous delays from winter weather.
"We haven't had our garbage emptied in over a month,” said Renton resident Katrina Jones. “Nobody's calling us, they're not telling us anything.”
Jones started placing heavy stone slabs on top of the trash in her garbage bins to smash it down and create more space.
She said in her 20 years living in Renton, she has never seen such delays.
"Clearly, there's something different going on," said Jones.
The additional delay from the Republic Services work stoppage means customers may have to wait until the next scheduled collection service, which could be a week to two weeks for some customers.
"You can't burn it, you know,” said LaTonya Rogers, who has been living in Renton for 24 years. “It's piling up, so we've been storing it.”
Rogers said her husband has been hoping to drop off excess trash at transfer stations, but was unable to. They instead opted to store some trash in the garage and a spare truck.
"What we worry about is rodents, you know?" said Rogers.
The mayor of Renton issued a letter acknowledging the delays and reiterated the automated call that customers received about the delay, which said the company will collect double the regular trash amount at no charge on the next regular service collection day.
"We are actively discussing this disruption and alternatives for collection while reviewing solutions with Republic Services," said Renton Mayor Armondo Pavone.
Customers in Kenmore and Covington reported to KING 5 they are experiencing the same thing.
In Kent, the public works department said it is in touch with Republic Services regarding the interruptions related to the strike in California.
"The City of Kent was notified this morning that Republic Services drivers in Puget Sound walked out to support the sanitation strikes. Republic Services let customers know via phone first thing this morning," an email from the City of Kent Public Works Department stated.
Kent residents will also be notified via automated calls if there are further delays.
As with Renton, Republic Services said it will collect missed pickups on the next scheduled collection day.