Garbage service returns this week in Kent after work stoppage

Republic Services drivers back to the streets after three-day halt to honor picket lines

Garbage and recycling service returned to normal this week for Kent residents after a work stoppage last week and previous cancellations due to rain and snow.

“Republic Services is collecting with normally scheduled services today, Tuesday, Jan. 18 and through the week,” according to a city of Kent statement. “Please leave your carts at the curb until they have it collected!”

City officials also promised to continue to try to get some help for customers from Arizona-based Republic Services, which contracts with the city to provide garbage, recycling and yard waste services. That contract runs through 2029.

“We will continue to push for additional drop-off locations, bill credits and other items,” according to the city.

Several residents who hadn’t received service for three or four weeks commented on the city’s and Kent Reporter’s Facebook pages about getting refunds or credits due to the missed service for so many weeks.

Drivers didn’t cross picket lines Jan. 12-14 in Kent and at other locations to honor striking garbage workers against Republic Services in San Diego.

Several hundred Kent residents were able to utilize the temporary drop-off Jan. 14 at the accesso ShoWare Center, according to the city Public Works Department.

“Republic Services is experiencing a temporary work stoppage at our Seattle area locations,” according to a statement last week from the company’s media department. “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.”

Local drivers agreed last week to honor the picket lines.

“Our members are standing in solidarity with their Teamster Sisters and Brothers in San Diego who are fighting for a fair contract,” said John Scearcy, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 117, in a statement last week. “Rather than provoking a strike, Republic Services should honor workers who have braved the pandemic to provide essential sanitation services that help keep our communities healthy and safe.”

The union said workers are on strike in San Diego because of concerns about excessive overtime, pandemic safety and harassment by managers.

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