Garbage Strike to Cost Waste Management $1.24 Million

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Remember back in the summer, when you had to put up with overflowing garbage cans, foul odors and flies thanks to the city's longest garbage strike in history? Still mad about that?

*See also: Five Garbage Strikes That Have Changed the World

Well, Mayor Mike McGinn has some good news, and some not-so-good news, for you.

The good news, he's announcing at a press conference this morning, is that garbage hauler Waste Management is going to pay--to the tune of a $1.24 million. That's because of a clause in the city contract with the company that provides for a hefty fine should a strike go over seven days.

This one was eight, ending August 2. That one extra day had the potential, according to the contract, of costing the company a maximum $1.25 million. But the contract doesn't make the fine automatic. It's tied to exactly how much garbage was left sitting out, rotting and collecting flies.

The city sent inspectors out to tally the sorry total, then sat down with Waste Management to present its case. In the end, the city and the company agreed on an amount that fell only $100,000 short of the maximum fine possible.

The not-so-good news is that you are going to get very little of that money. In Seattle, Waste Management serves 90,000 households, 2,200 apartments and 4,500 businesses. So even though the settlement money is going to be shared with them all, $1.24 million doesn't go that far. To be exact, each household will get a $10 credit on its garbage bill for the November-December period, while apartments, condominiums and businesses get a $50 credit.

As McGinn points out in a statement, though, the threat of a substantial fine helped bring an end to the strike. Perhaps, by carrying through with it, the city will help prevent another one.

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