City of Kent wants Republic Services to set up drop-off site

Trash, recycling piling up during work stoppage as drivers honor union strike in San Diego

Kent city officials say they are pushing Republic Services to offer a central drop-off location for garbage and recycling at the soonest possible opportunity due to the worker stoppage that has canceled service on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We are also reviewing our contract with Republic for options to penalize the company financially if it isn’t willing to refund customers for missed service,” according to a Jan. 13 city statement.

Arizona-based Republic Services contracts with the city of Kent to handle garbage, yard waste and recycling services. The contract runs through 2029.

Residents have not had service on Wednesday or Thursday, Jan. 12-13, due to a temporary work stoppage by union members in honor of striking teamsters against Republic Services in San Diego. The unions represent garbage, recycling and yard waste drivers.

Several residents posted on the Kent Reporter and city of Kent Facebook pages that they have not had garbage picked up for about a month due to previous cancellations due to snow and flooding.

“Oh man, the garage piling up on my streets,” posted Michaela Williams. “Crows and animals ripping bags apart and making a horrible mess. We’ve been keeping our bagged up and in the garage, some people just keep piling it outside. I hope this gets resolved soon.”

In response to the Kent Reporter about the city’s request for drop-off sites and potential fines, Republic Services issued a statement Thursday similar to its Wednesday statement and didn’t address drop-off locations, potential fines by the city or reducing customers’ bills.

“Republic Services is experiencing a temporary work stoppage at our Seattle, Bellevue, Kent and Lynnwood locations,” according to the statement. “This is related to a labor issue in California that has nothing to do with any Washington employees. We are taking the steps necessary to minimize service disruptions, and we thank our customers for their patience and understanding as we work to resolve this temporary issue. We will provide more details as soon as they become available.”

The company also did not release any details about how long the stoppage might last.

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