Massachusetts strike holding up local trash collection

Trash is going uncollected across the Puget Sound as striking sanitation workers traveled more than 3,000 miles to set up picket lines.

The workers walked off the job at Republic Services/Allied Waste outside Boston more than a month ago because of a contract dispute over wages and health care.

Now they have set up picket lines here that local unionized workers refuse to cross.

Laura Hamilton rolled her trash and recycling bins back into her garage, resigned to not having them picked up because 250 local workers are honoring a strike more than 3,000 miles away.

"I just found that out," said Hamilton. "I understand. And I do have sympathy for that."

That sympathy is evident here. These striking sanitation workers from Massachusetts have traveled here to picket to send a message.

"Because Bill Gates is a 32% stockholder in our company," said Bernie Egan-Mullen. "And we figure by bringing light to his state and towns, maybe he'll step in try to mediate or do something to get them to get back to the table."

Meanwhile trash is going uncollected in 10 local cities, most of them on the Eastside, serving more than a half million residents.

The company sent out a voice message warning residents. And Friday night, 
lots of bins hadn't been picked up in Sammamish.

Pat Cook's are among them.

"I feel like Republic is trying to get the word out," Cook said. 
And she is supporting the striking workers. "Yes," she said. "But I also think the company is handling it appropriately."

"I do think there are probably worse problems going on right now than us having to have double garbage next week," said Hamilton, laughing. "But talk to me next week if they don't come."

The striking workers have been traveling the West Coast setting up these picket lines, seeking support for their cause.

They don't know how long they will be here in the Seattle area which means no one knows just yet when the trash pickups will resume.

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