Teamsters at Ridwell gather after voting unanimously to ratify three-year contract.

Teamsters drivers and warehousers have voted unanimously to ratify a first contract at Ridwell, Inc., a recycling start-up based in Seattle. Highlights of the three-year agreement include substantial wage increases, significant increase in paid time off, triple the number of paid holidays, employee stock options, and improved working conditions.

“This contract is a smashing success for all of us, better than I could have possibly expected. I’m blown away by the power of Teamsters Local 117,” said Eamon Keane, an operations lead at Ridwell since 2021 and shop steward for Local 117.

“The company respects us now. It’s changed how management approaches every decision. Before moving forward on anything that affects us, they now check with the union first,” Keane added.

In November, Keane and his co-workers voted overwhelmingly to join Teamsters Local 117, becoming the first group of workers at the company to unionize. The 50 Teamsters collect hard-to-dispose materials from homes in King and Pierce Counties.

“Congratulations to drivers and warehousers at Ridwell on unanimously ratifying a first-time contract in the fast-growing recycling industry,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “This is a strong group of workers who fought hard to gain Teamster representation.”

"I also want to thank the company for doing right by their workers," Scearcy added. "Starting by voluntary recognizing the bargaining unit, Ridwell worked cooperatively throughout the bargaining process, and they have committed to a positive working relationship under this contract.”

Since its founding in 2018, Ridwell has expanded to California, Colorado, Minneapolis, Oregon, and Texas.

“This contract victory represents a larger campaign for our division, in an area where we see real growth. Ridwell may be smaller player now, but it will eventually employ hundreds, if not thousands, of workers in the industry. More states are starting to see the potential,” said Chuck Stiles, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division. “The Teamsters are focused on growing our membership in these niche industries outside of the traditional waste haulers.”