Marin County, Calif., and Washoe County, Nev. — Two garbage strikes have ended in recent weeks. In Marin County, Calif., employees of Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Empire Waste, which is a subsidiary of Houston-based Waste Management, returned to work on Monday after a weeklong work stoppage. A spokesman for Empire Waste told the Marin Independent Journal that the strike, which affected about 4,000 customers in the county, was an attempt to rally support during contract negotiations with Alameda, Calif.-based Local 3 of the Operating Engineers Union, which represents about 150 company employees. However, a union spokesperson told the paper that the strike was undertaken to protest the failure of workers to receive scheduled pay raises or maintenance allowances, and what the union felt were unnecessary firings.
On May 15, employees of Waste Management who collect trash Washoe County, Nev., and are members of Teamsters Local 533 ended a nine-day strike. The employees voted to accept a $2.60 an hour pay raise for the next three years, as well as "a pension increase, a new 401(k) retirement plan and higher holiday pay wages over the life of their contract, which expires in April 2007," according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.