Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy with a Local 117 fan after the Republic Services ratification vote.
Sisters and Brothers -
It’s been a busy, exciting year for our union. As we move into the last quarter of 2017, I want to give you a recap of what we’ve accomplished so far and a sense of where we are headed in our work to build unity and power for all members of Teamsters 117.
With over 80 contracts expiring in 2017, we have successfully ratified over 50 with another 30 remaining while building solidarity by focusing on member engagement with strategic contract campaigns. Our contracts have increased industry standards. Our DOC contract is the strongest in history for that group. Our contract for our recycle and yard waste drivers achieved groundbreaking wage increases and long fought-for wage equity with the garbage drivers.
We have organized or are in the process of organizing the following new groups:
- We Drive You (Facebook and Google transportation)
- Additional DOC groups
- Emerald Services
- Woodland Park Zoo-Educators
- Renton Printery
- TransDev Dispatchers
- Caretransit Drivers
Our recent action at SeaTac Airport exposed the exploitation of Seattle-area taxi drivers, which put in motion major improvements to their working conditions.
Working together with Local 117 members, our political team, helped pass Paid Family Leave and other worker benefits in Olympia this year. We also built member participation on our 9-member Political Advisory Committee that meets regularly to interview candidates and make endorsement recommendations to our union’s E-Board.
Our Local has committed to member engagement and development through programs like “What A Teamster Looks Like”, “Family Strength Community” and a recent essay contest asking members to express the freedoms they enjoy as union members.
Member and Staff Training
We are developing a general Membership Training Program and a Member Leadership Academy focused on diversity, inclusion and development for the future.
Our Local 117 staff has had over a thousand one-on-one conversations with members to identify their co-workers with leadership qualities. Through this program, members have identified over five hundred fellow Sisters and Brothers that they trust as member leaders!
We are on track to begin our Local 117 Member Leadership Academy and general Membership Education Program in early 2018. We are also putting together a development program for staff to ensure that members receive the best possible representation from their union.
Thank you for the incredible sacrifices and efforts you all put forth each and every day, and thank you for your membership in Teamsters 117.
A small group of Teamsters who work for Republic Parking in downtown Seattle voted to ratify a new three-year contract last week.
It was unanimous – all members voted in favor of the agreement. Members will receive wage increases in every year of the contract and increased contributions to their retirement plan.
"The group felt that greater retirement security was an important goal for this contract and they accomplished that," said union rep Takele Gobena.
Another huge improvement for members was the addition of vision coverage to their health and welfare plan.
The Teamsters covered under the new contract work at the Puget Sound Plaza building and in the garage of the IBM building. They greet customers, help them process their tickets, and assist with building maintenance.
When disaster strikes, Teamsters roll in to help out. That’s what three members at Republic Services did when their boss asked for volunteers to help clean up in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey that devastated south Texas earlier this month.
One of them was Ben Goodrich, a Local 117 residential yard waste driver, who has serviced neighborhoods in Snohomish County for the last ten years.
Ben jumped at the idea of pitching in to assist in the hurricane relief effort. “I felt I could come down here and work my ass off and help clean this place up, but I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he said.
Ben says he's witnessed destruction on a colossal scale. He’s been especially struck by the number of displaced people – families moving into hotels and living on the streets. “It’s pretty humbling."
Since arriving in Houston just after Labor Day, he has been at it 10-12 hours a day, hauling away mounds of rubbish from houses, some of which were fully submerged in the floodwaters. He plans to continue aiding in the effort until at least September 23.
On Saturday, August 26, Teamsters gathered outside the Tukwila Hall for a Back-to-School barbecue fundraiser. The event was sponsored by the Teamsters Pacific Northwest Black Caucus.
"All donations went to a school that operates at 80% below the poverty line."
It took four members to haul more than three large boxes of the gathered supplies. All donations went to White Center Heights, an elementary school that operates at 80% below the poverty line where 75% of students are children of color.
The burden of school supplies on families in poverty is enough to push some families over the edge and make students not want to come to school. Thank you for all who donated and participated. Your contributions will ensure increased school participation in our most vulnerable communities and help reduce bullying.
In the wake of the Trump Administration’s announcement that the DACA program is being terminated, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the Washington Dream Coalition are hosting community forums to help answer your questions.
Get the latest information, talk to an immigration attorney, and learn about other resources for DACA recipients and their families.
The City of Seattle has put together a resource guide that includes the NWIRP forums and other events where you can get more information.
If you have questions, contact Adriana at 206-441-4860 ext. 1221.
Members of our Local 117 union coalition team representing Teamsters at King County in MLA bargaining.
King County Master Labor Agreement (MLA) bargaining is getting down to the wire. The county is interested in ushering any tentative agreement reached with the coalition through the county’s contract transmittal process by December 28. To meet that timeline, they have proposed wrapping up MLA negotiations by next week and small table bargaining by October 2.
Our union coalition is committed to achieving the best possible agreement on behalf of the membership based on your feedback. We are amenable to the county’s timeline, but not if it means sacrificing our priorities at the bargaining table.
Any agreement reached by our coalition and the county is subject to ratification by the individual bargaining units in the coalition. If we are able to reach an agreement with the county, we anticipate giving you the opportunity to vote on the MLA this fall.
Looking for fun way to escape the late summer heat?
Our sisters & brothers at the IAM 751 have graciously offered Teamsters Local 117 members and their families the opportunity to partake in a union solidarity event at the Wild Waves theme park in Federal Way.
The event will take place on Sunday, September 10 from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M at Wild Waves (36201 Enchanted Parkway S., Federal Way, WA). This is a private, discounted day for union members and their families.
Tickets are $15/person plus processing fees ($18.10/person) - includes parking, all rides, and water park. (Normally $40/person plus $12 parking). Tickets must be purchased online.
To purchase tickets, visit the Union Solidarity Day - IAM Machinists 751 page on the Wild Waves website. You must enter a Username: IAM751 and Password: Sept10
Tickets are limited!
Teamster families across the country, including many at our Local Union, have been afflicted by the devastating storm that has swept across the southern United States over the last several days. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the storm's victims.
Our Local 117 Executive Board has committed to support the ongoing emergency relief effort.
We will be passing the hat to support disaster relief at our upcoming membership meeting on September 21. Our Local Union has pledged to match the donations collected at the meeting.
Teamsters on the ground at Joint Council 58 are assessing how our disaster relief donations can best support the millions of people stricken by this terrible storm.
If you are unable to attend our membership meeting on September 21, but would like to contribute, please send a check payable to Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund c/o Teamsters Local 117, 14675 Interurban Ave. S. Tukwila, WA 98168.
Your tax-deductible donations WILL make a difference in the lives of a Teamster family.
Thank you for your support!
Welcome our new Union Representative for members at the Department of Corrections, Frederick Rodgers.
Fred grew up in Miami Florida and graduated from Southeast Oklahoma State University in 1990 with majors in Sociology and Physical Education. After college he joined the Dallas Police Department where he reached the rank of Senior Corporal and taught defensive tactics. At that time he was part of the Texas Police Officers Association. After 10 years with the Dallas Police Department he pursued a different career and moved to Washington State to become a security director of Go2Net. After leaving Go2Net he managed his own security consulting company Rodgers Ventures LLC.
Fred started working with DOC in 2003 at the Monroe Correctional Complex. He started as a custody officer and worked his way up to a Sergeant with experience working at all the facilities at MCC. In December 2011, he became a classification counselor and upgraded to a supervisory role including a year and a half as Correctional Unit Supervisor at the Washington State Reformatory Unit A/B units.
Fred is assigned to Monroe Correctional Complex. He is looking forward to working with his old colleagues in a new role.
In his spare time, Fred lift weights and plays racquetball. He also follows the success of his 15-year-old son who plays football at Kentwood High School.
Welcome to the family, Fred, we wish you success!
Drivers in Seattle’s for-hire industry expressed disappointment at yesterday's order by the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to temporarily block Seattle’s collective bargaining law.
“We’ve been waiting for two years to be union, to be human beings,” said Mustafe Abdi, an Uber driver and member of the App-Based Drivers Association (ABDA). “They say we are partners, we are not partners. We need medical, we need retirement, we need Social Security. We don’t make enough money, we don’t feel safe.”
Seattle for-hire drivers who work for companies like Uber and Lyft are not protected by traditional labor laws, such as Seattle's $15 an hour minimum wage law and its paid sick and safe ordinance.
"We've been waiting for two years to be union, to be human beings."
Uber and Lyft drivers sought assistance from Teamsters Local 117 to improve their pay and working conditions. In 2014, drivers formed ABDA to promote fairness, justice, and transparency in the industry. They helped pass a 2015 law that gave drivers in the City of Seattle the right to unionize.
On Thursday, August 24, Judge Robert Lasnik of the federal District Court of Washington issued an order that lifted a preliminary injunction blocking the law. Yesterday’s ruling by the 9th Circuit temporarily puts the law on hold again.
“We are confident the 9th Circuit will uphold the lower court’s ruling that gives drivers a voice as intended under the law. For-hire drivers should have the same right to self-determination shared by millions of working people across the country. Like other workers, they should be able to stand together in their union to improve their pay and working conditions,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.
“We urge Uber to stop disenfranchising its drivers by trying to block the law. For-hire companies like Uber should welcome the law as an opportunity to forge a meaningful partnership with drivers to improve our economy and raise up safety standards for the public.”
Teamsters Local 117's statement on Judge Lasnik's ruling regarding for-hire law:
We are pleased to see that Judge Lasnik has ruled in favor of giving drivers in Seattle's for-hire industry a voice as intended under the law.
For-hire drivers in Seattle should have the same freedom afforded to millions of working people across the country. They should have the right to stand together in their union to improve their pay and working conditions. They should have the opportunity to contribute to improving safety and reliability to benefit the traveling public. This law enables them to accomplish those goals.
We urge companies like Uber and Lyft to stop their efforts to disenfranchise their drivers by attempting to undermine the law. They should welcome the judge's ruling as it provides them with a real opportunity to partner with drivers to improve our economy and lift up our community.
We thank Judge Lasnik for allowing the law to work as it was intended: as an innovative effort to address the many challenges and injustices facing workers in the on-demand economy. This ruling benefits the community of drivers not only in Seattle, but across the country.
The winning team at Woodland Park Zoo. 83% of the Education Department voted to become members of Teamsters117.
As children and adults at the zoo flock to educators holding animals and explaining their behavior, did you know about their struggle? The education department at Woodland Park Zoo has been fighting for better wages and respect for a long time with little success.
“Many of us are not compensated enough as educators for the type of work that we do. We feel like we don’t have a voice. We’ve tried to address it year after year but were ignored,” shares Celwyn Green, an ambassador animal coordinator who has worked at the zoo for 30 years.
Drivers demanding fair working conditions and reinstating of their terminated coworker Ali Sugule (left).
“Unfair!” “Justice!” Loud voices of taxi drivers resonated across the parking garage at SeaTac Airport yesterday. East Side for Hire management stared in bitter frustration at drivers who exercised their right to collectively voice their issues with their dispatch company and the Port of Seattle who contracts with Eastside by suspending work for an hour. It was their second day demonstrating against inhumane working conditions and unjust retaliation by the company. Eastside for Hire has failed to reinstate the 18 drivers who were unjustly suspended for participating in a demonstration on August 21rst.
Taxi drivers at Sea-Tac Airport express their growing frustration with poor working conditions and unjust terminations.
Taxi drivers exerted their collective power at Sea-Tac Airport today by staging an hour-long work stoppage that sent Port officials and the drivers’ dispatch company reeling.
At approximately 9:30 a.m., drivers in the airport taxi lot got out of their cabs, raised signs, and began chanting, “Unfair, unfair!” Cab service for arriving passengers slowed to a trickle.
"I have to fight for my freedom."
“I work 16 hours to try to pay my bills. When I got home yesterday, I almost fell down,” said Alamu Tegegn. “I said to myself, ‘If I continue like this, I will die.’ So I have to fight for my freedom.”
The strike represented the culmination of months of frustration over humiliating working conditions and the unjust termination of union supporter, Ali Sugule.
On August 8, Sugule had criticized the airport dispatch company, Eastside For Hire, in public testimony at a Port Commission meeting. His dispatch services were revoked later that week.
Mark Hackett, Kimberly Braun, Tanesha Van Leuven, and Roger Gale at the Emergency Food Network's Breaking Hunger event.
Teamster members took aim to fight hunger last week at the 5th annual Trap Shooting and Archery Tournament sponsored by Tacoma's Emergency Food Network.
The contest, held at the Gig Harbor Sportsmen’s Club on August 11, raised thousands of dollars to help feed hungry families throughout our region.
"We were doing what we like to do, having fun, and doing it for a really good cause."
"There are a lot of ways to raise money but we were doing what we like to do, having fun, and doing it for a really good cause," said Tanesha Van Leuven, a member who participated in the event.
Van Leuven, who is an officer of ten years at the University of Washington Police Department, talked about the importance of our union giving back to the community.
"It's important to partner with various organizations in the community. Anything we give, donate, or sponsor can help people who need help right now."
Our Local Union’s Executive Board sponsored the team at the $600 level. All proceeds from the event went to benefit the Emergency Food Network.
Thank you to the members from the Teamsters Law Enforcement & Corrections Division and their friends who participated in the tournament.
- Tanesha Van Leuven, University of Washington Police Dept.
- Mark Hackett, University of Washington Police Dept.
- Roger Gale, City of Pacific Police Dept.
- Kimberly Braun, Friend
The Pierce County emergency food system includes 67 food banks providing over 15 million meals annually to over a hundred thousand families in need. Teamsters Local 117 is a generous supporter of EFN and has participated in a number of volunteer events to benefit the organization.