When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

Life Insurance benefit for DOC

The deadline to enroll in or increase your optional life insurance for yourself or eligible dependents has been extended from Nov. 30 to Dec. 16.

Current employees can elect up to $500,000 in coverage (in $10,000 increments) without answering health questions or having a medical exam – even if you have previously been denied life insurance coverage.  

You can also elect or increase life insurance coverage for a spouse/state-registered domestic partner or children.  Note: If you currently have Dependent Basic Life Insurance for your spouse, state-registered domestic partner, or child(ren), you must act in by December 16 to elect Optional Life Insurance for them for 2017 to avoid a lapse in coverage.  MetLife does not offer Dependent Basic Life Insurance, so this coverage will end December 31, 2016.

You can enroll with MetLife online at www.mybenefits.metlife.com/wapebb.  Just create an account by using PEBB Benefits - State of Washington as your employer name and sign up for your optional life insurance benefits.  Even if you are not enrolling in or changing life insurance amounts for 2017, you should create an online account and name your beneficiaries with MetLife.  (Your beneficiary designations will not automatically transfer to MetLife.)

More details can be found on the HCA website at www.hca.wa.gov/public-employee-benefits/employees/life-insurance.

Welcome, Pat Silvernale, to Local 117!


Pat Silvernale comes to our Union with several years' experience negotiating contracts and representing union members.

Let's extend a warm welcome to Patrick Silvernale who joined our Local 117 staff effective November 21. Pat comes to our union with many years' experience negotiating contracts and representing members in the public and private sectors.

For the last three years, he represented members from the City of Tacoma, Pierce County and Clark County while at PTE Local 17. Prior to that, he worked for UFCW 21 for over ten years, first as a Union Representative, then as a Contract Negotiator.

Silvernale’s experience includes internal organizing, contract enforcement, building steward networks as well as steward training, labor-management work, grievance investigating and processing, and contract negotiations in both the public and private sectors.

"I understand the importance of workers standing together to improve working conditions."

“I am very appreciative and excited to be joining the staff at Local 117," said Silvernale. "Local 117’s reputation as a progressive leader in the Washington state labor community was the main reason I pursued working here."

Silvernale has lived in the Seattle area all of his life and comes from a strong union family.

“Growing up, I understood the importance of workers standing together to improve working conditions, benefits and wages for themselves, as well as future generations of union members. It’s these principles that drive me to do the work I love, helping others create a better life for themselves.

"I am honored to be serving the members of Local 117 and look forward to working with you and for you.”

Mourning the tragic death of a Tacoma Police Officer


By Michelle Woodrow,
Teamsters Local 117 President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement

As a Local Union representing over 6,000 Law Enforcement and Corrections professionals, we are grieving with the entire Tacoma Police Department on the tragic death of one of their officers who was killed in the line of duty last night.

We extend our condolences to the entire Department and to the friends and family of the fallen officer. 

This kind of tragedy strikes a deep chord in all of us and reminds us of the tremendous risks that our brave men and women in law enforcement and corrections take every day to protect us and keep our communities safe. 

We express our gratitude to the community that is showing its support to law enforcement and to our members at South Sound 911.

Member survey! Help build our Union's future


We are currently in the process of developing a strategic plan to guide your union over the next three years. Your input and involvement as members is important for setting our priorities together.

Please take a few minutes to take our online survey.

The survey is designed for you to provide feedback on topics like our union's mission and purpose, building unity, communication, and member involvement. You will also have an opportunity to provide additional comments you believe are important.

Your ideas, opinions, and concerns will help shape our union's future over the next three years. 

In addition to the surveys, we will also be holding a workshop on December 10 that will give members an opportunity to participate more deeply in the strategic planning process.

If you are interested in getting more information about the workshop, please email strategicplanning@teamsters117.org

You can find more information about our union's strategic planning process here.

Thank you for helping to build a stronger union! 

King County update, next steps in bargaining


Members at King County tally up the ballots from the total comp contract vote.

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to keep you updated with the latest union news for Teamsters at King County.

Matt House is your current contact for any representational issues that arise in the workplace. Matt is our Business Representative Coordinator and can be reached at 206-441-4860 ext. 1242 or matthew.house@teamsters117.org. If you have an issue with your contract that cannot be resolved by your Shop Steward, please contact Matt.

We’re also excited to announce that we have hired Pat Silvernale who will be assuming the responsibility of bargaining several unit-specific contracts at King County. Pat is an excellent labor negotiator with many years’ experience bargaining union contracts in the public sector. Today was Pat’s first day at the Local and you will be seeing more of him soon!

Group of five senators object to phasing out use of “offender” at DOC

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the Department of Corrections’ decision to phase out the word “offender” and replace it with words like “individual,” “patient,” or “student” in reference to the men and women serving time in our state’s prisons.

Some DOC members say they aren’t bothered by the change in terminology, while many others are deeply offended by the DOC’s focus on the issue.

Our representatives in Olympia are paying attention as well. A group of five senators sent a letter to DOC Secretary Dick Morgan earlier this month expressing their concern over the Department’s decision.

They say the decision could pose “a public safety risk” by creating confusion among DOC personnel. They also question whether the Department had the independent authority to make the change in the first place.

Teamsters demand that the City of Kent honor its commitments


Local 117 members at the City of Kent pack Council chambers on Tuesday to demand a fair contract.

Teamsters at the City of Kent are fed up and speaking out. In bargaining, the City promised to restore some of the sacrifices that employees made during the recession starting back in 2008. Now, the City is backing off its prior commitments.

Employees took furlough days and endured a five-year wage freeze when times were tough, and City officials had given them their word. Once the City is back on secure financial footing, we’ll make it up to you, they said.

But the City’s proposals this contract cycle tell a different story. The City is insisting on higher out-of-pocket health care costs for City employees, and they’ve made little effort to rectify the sacrifices their employees made in the past. 

Safety and Service at King County


By Clementine Brewer
Customer Service Specialist III at King County

This past summer, the challenges of working in a public building came to a head.

For five months a homeless encampment consumed the patio behind the King County Administration Building. This generated stress for employees, but it also opened our eyes to the needs of the homeless community and improving safety in and around our workplace.

The camp was erected by a homeless advocacy group as a plea to government officials for much needed resources. To many, this was another chapter in Seattle’s ongoing homelessness crisis. But to those who work in the Administration Building, it was a stark reminder of the reality of working in a public space. For nearly half a year we witnessed and experienced the sanitary and safety concerns of the encampment.

Local 117 Member Registers 14,000th Voter


After the infamous 2000 election, Deb Dahlin made it her mission to help more people vote. With only a 537 vote margin in Florida separating George W. Bush from Al Gore, she saw the importance of each vote.

In 2000 there were over 4.7 million people eligible to vote in Florida that did not cast a ballot. Many of them simply were not registered. After Deb saw this, she set out to register 537 voters in Washington. She started with friends and her Teamster coworkers at Macy's. And, within a short time she had reached her goal.

Guardian Newsletter - Bringing Our Voice to Olympia


The new issue of our Guardian newsletter is now available! 

The Guardian focuses on news and information for our members who work at the Department of Corrections.

For DOC Teamsters, there's a lot going on. We recently achieved at least a 10.5 percent raise for all members over the next two years through the interest arbitration process.

We also achieved an improved vacation schedule and interest arbitration rights in the DOC contract moving forward.

Our economic gains through arbitration must be approved by the state legislature, however. That's why we're gearing up for a big Legislative Reception and Lobby Day event on February 13-14. 

You don't have to be a DOC member to join us at that event! 

You can read about the contractual and interest arbitration gains as well the Lobby Day event in the new Guardian. You'll also find an article that highlights the work of Officer Hector Padilla on the DOC Honor Guard at AHCC.

You can access the Guardian newsletter here. For print copies, talk to your Shop Steward or Business Rep.

An Agreement To Be Proud Of


Members of your DOC bargaining team during a bargaining session in July.

As I’m sure most of you have heard, the details of your 2017-2019 contract are set.

I am extremely proud of the work that went into achieving this historic agreement. 

By the end of this contract, Teamsters at DOC will have received a 20.3 percent wage increase over the last four years. No other state employee group of your size has received as large an increase.

Will you join us to help get our DOC contract funded? Register for Lobby Day now!


REGISTER HERE for our 2017 DOC Lobby Day and Legislative Reception on February 13-14 in Olympia.

This is our opportunity to talk directly with legislators about critical issues facing DOC Teamsters:

  • Funding our DOC contract for the 2017-2019 biennium.
  • The need for a comprehensive statewide staffing audit.
  • Improving staff safety at all DOC facilities.
  • Recognizing the public safety service we provide.

We will be holding a legislative reception starting at 7:30pm at the RL Hotel in Olympia on February 13. All members are invited to stay at the hotel on the night of Feb. 13. There will be a buffet dinner for all members who attend.

The next morning we will have a training and breakfast and then hit the hill for Lobby Day appointments with legislators. 

It's important that we have an excellent showing at this event so that we can make sure we get our contract funded. 


Arbitrator Vivenzio certifies internal election results

Arbitrator Anthony Vivenzio has certified our internal union election results for Teamsters Local 117.

Arbitrator Vivenzio is an experienced arbitrator who has overseen many other union elections. We hired him at the beginning of the process to monitor all aspects of the election to ensure transparency and fairness.

The Arbitrator's certified results report the following:

Members of our Union voted to elect the Scearcy Unity Slate to continue to lead our Union for the next three years. 

4164 members cast their ballots in the election. The Scearcy Unity Slate received 47.3 percent of the vote and the Pete Lamb Leadership Slate received 39.6 percent.

6.7 percent of the ballots were cast for individuals instead of a slate. These votes brought the total for John Scearcy to 51 percent and Pete Lamb to 43 percent. The numbers varied slightly for other members of each slate.

6.3 percent of ballots were challenged.

You can view the Arbitrator's complete certified results here.

The new Teamsters 117 Executive Board as elected by the membership of our Union is:

John Scearcy – Secretary-Treasurer
Michelle Woodrow – President
Marcus Williams – Vice President
Dave Roberts – Recording Secretary
Cynthia Adams – Trustee
Scott Anderson – Trustee
Alfredo Espino – Trustee 

Thank you again for all members who cast a ballot and participated in our Union's democratic process. Your voice matters!

And please don't forget to vote in both our Teamsters International Union election and our local and national elections. Election Day for the statewide and presidential election is November 8. Your ballot for our the IBT election must be received by November 14.

Secretary-Treasurer's Message: Building Unity


This week, you granted me the honor of continuing to serve as your Secretary-Treasurer for the next three years. And for that, I am humbled, and grateful.

Thousands of Local 117 members cast a ballot in our Union’s election over the past month. Thank you to all of you who took part in our Union’s democratic process. Your participation makes our Union strong.

41-year Coke member Dale Ekstrom heads into retirement


Dale Ekstrom (center) together with Local 117 ST John Scearcy (l) and President Michelle Woodrow (r). 

Congrats to Dale Ekstrom, a 41-year Teamster at Coke, who retired at the end of last year.

Dale stopped by the office today to pick up his 40-year watch, catch up with Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy, and reflect on his career choice.

Drafted by the Portland Timbers in 1978, Dale had to choose between playing professional soccer and a summer job at Coke with the Teamsters.  He decided to pass on the soccer gig and he's happy he did.  The Timbers ended up folding later that year.  

"It turned into a very long summer," Dale said. 41 years later, Dale can retire with the security of his Teamsters pension. He plans to spend as much time as he can out fishing.  

Congratulations on a great Teamsters career, Dale. Enjoy your retirement, brother. You earned it!