As has been heavily reported, the ongoing Waste Management garbage strike by recycling and yard waste truck drivers represented by Local 117, and the garbage truck drivers represented by Teamsters 174 striking in solidarity with them, continues to impact the greater Seattle-area's garbage service -- said to be 220,000 customers in King and South Snohomish counties. And with news coming today that Waste Management has hired enough replacement drivers to resume some residential garbage pickup Wednesday, perhaps it's not surprising that the workers on the picket lines (and the union that represents them) wanted to deliver a message.
That message, it seems, came via an automated robocall apparently delivered to an unknown number of
Waste Management customers people (see first comment below) throughout the region.
Forwarded to me today from a person living in Federal Way who's currently impacted by the strike (a person who wished to remain anonymous as, you know, he's just an average garbage customer), the robocall voice message - which the Federal Way man says was left on his home answering machine at 2:18 p.m. this afternoon -- purportedly comes from a striking recycling driver.
Listen to it below:
(Note: The person who sent the voicemail to me made it into a movie file and apparently used the Waste Management logo. A Waste Management spokesman says the company had nothing to do with the calls.)
In case you prefer the written word, the message states:
I am Brent Barrett (sp?), one of your recycle drivers calling with a critical update on your garbage pickup: Waste Management Corporation is substituting us with drivers from out of state who may not be qualified to drive heavy garbage trucks on our region's dangerous roads. Please be careful. Make sure your children stay out of the way of the trucks. Call police if you see something dangerous. No trash pickup? Leave it on the curb and then call 1-800-230-7418.
As KING 5 noted this afternoon, the number listed on the message is the same as a telephone number provided on the Local 117 website and affiliated with the website SeattleTrashWatch.org, which has been listed on Local 117 press releases regarding the strike.
I put a call in this evening to Teamsters Local 117 and have yet to get a response regarding the freaky robocall. I will update this post accordingly when and if I hear back.
Waste Management Media Spokesperson Robin Freedman says the robocalls are, "very unnerving," and represent "just another union tactic" for distracting people. Freedman, who says she received reports of people receiving the automated calls in places like Sunset Hills and Bothell, as well as Federal Way, also stresses that Waste Management had nothing to do with the robocalls, and did not provide the phone numbers for them. As far as she knows, today's calls are the only ones that have been made during the strike.
"It's very frustrating that the union would choose to do this," says Freedman, while also admitting the calls will likely have no impact on negotiations between the striking drivers and Waste Management.