Dozens of Uber and Lyft drivers filled a Seattle City Hall hearing room today to demand better working conditions and a voice.
Drivers held signs that read, "Pro-Union Driver" and "Raise Up Uber: Make Uber Jobs Good Jobs."
The City is in the process of establishing rules that govern its new law that gives drivers the right to unionize. The hearing allowed the public to weigh in on the new rules.
"I came here today to fight for our rights. We need to have a union."
"I came here today to fight for our rights. We need to have a union," said Mustafa Abdi, who has driven for Uber and Lyft for three years. "We need to have the same rights that other Americans who work at other companies have. As Uber drivers, we are slaves of Uber. They can deactivate us whenever they want - we don't have any rights."
Another driver, Abdi Haj, talked about the difficulty of earning a living wage in the for-hire industry.
"Uber doesn't care about its drivers. They just want to dominate the market," he said. "We work 12 hours and make less than $100. That's less than Seattle minimum wage. We have a family to support."
To support drivers in their effort to win a living wage, please sign our online petition at www.RaiseUpUber.org.
Today, the Republican State Senate released its 2017-2019 biennial state budget proposal, and there was good, bad and ugly news.
- The proposal fully funds our 2017-2019 Teamsters-DOC collective bargaining agreement for corrections workers, including our 10.5% across-the-board wage increases over the course of the next two years. This is a testament to your participation in the process, including our record participation in Lobby Day.
- The Senate DID NOT propose funding for our DOC staffing model audit. DOC has not updated its staffing model in nearly thirty years, and the failure to address this issue continues to put our members in danger.
- Our brothers and sisters who work in other public safety and law enforcement units like the University of Washington Police Department and Community Corrections are left out of this budget: their negotiated wage increases are substituted by $500 per year for each year of the biennium.
- Other than Washington State Patrol, no other state employee agreements are funded, meaning the people who provide the other vital public services we all enjoy are not recognized in this budget.
- The Senate Republicans also propose to eliminate state contributions to the LEOFF-2 retirement system and instead shift the responsibility of the contributions to local government, negatively impacting the communities we serve.
We anticipate the State House Democrats to release their budget next week, at which point the Senate, the House and the Governor will convene to reconcile their respective proposals.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely as negotiations over the budget continue. Please stay tuned for updates as well as ways you can participate in ensuring all collective bargaining agreements are funded.
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.
In February, we had our biggest, most successful Lobby Day ever, with 230 members and their families converging on the State Capitol in Olympia. Check out photos from the event in the Guardian here.
The newsletter also contains news of recent organizing at the Department of Corrections, with several unrepresented groups electing to join Teamsters.
You can access the Guardian newsletter online. For print copies, talk to your Shop Steward or Business Rep.
Now that we’ve reached the midpoint of legislative session, it's a good time for an update on policy issues that impact working families.
Several of our Union’s priorities, including many bills that we’ve been supporting, are still moving through the legislative process.
These include bills that would secure paid family leave (HB 1116), prescription drug transparency (HB 1541), and important accommodations for pregnant workers. In addition, our budget proviso that would fund an external staffing audit at the Department of Corrections is still in play.
These bills and provisions are important to protecting and expanding rights for working families and ensuring the safety and security of our members.
This session, we have also successfully staved off a massive attack on our state’s workers’ comp system and helped defeat a number of bills designed to erode protections for workers and weaken unions.
Hundreds of union members turned out to testify against a so-called “right-to-work” bill aimed at crippling unions. We also beat back a bill that would have required annual union recertification and proposals that would weaken the state’s collective bargaining laws (SB 5726 and SB 5727).
Unfortunately, our bill to modify the Public Records Act to protect the personal information of members working in law enforcement and at the Department of Corrections did not move out of its policy committee. However, thanks to the fantastic turnout at our DOC Lobby Day event, we have secured commitments from a powerful group of legislators to work on the bill next legislative session.
Members at QCD line up to take a vote to authorize a strike at our Union hall in Tukwila.
Bargaining is heating up at QCD and our members are not standing down.
Members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike after an update meeting yesterday at the Union hall in Tukwila.
"QCD continues to subvert industry standards and the company is failing to recognize the valuable contributions of its employees"
"Our bargaining team has made a good faith effort to reach an agreement, but QCD continues to subvert industry standards and the company is failing to recognize the valuable contributions of its employees," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.
Our Union represents approximately seventy drivers and helpers at QCD who deliver products to over 300 Starbucks stores across the Pacific Northwest.
Members at QCD deliver food service products - coffee, sandwiches, juices, water, yogurt, tea - to hundreds of Starbucks stores across our region.
Our Union team signed an extension agreement with the company, which expires tomorrow. We will be back at the bargaining table with the company today and tomorrow in an effort to reach a contract proposal that honors the work and livelihoods of our members.
Last night, a half a dozen Teamster Union Reps, including Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy, and Vice President Marcus Williams, visited members at the United Natural Foods, Inc warehouse in Auburn.
The group was out after last night's quarterly membership meeting to invite members to tomorrow's contract update meeting at the Union hall in Tukwila starting at 12 noon.
Many Teamsters and community members will remember the contentious three-month UNFI strike that took place at the facility in 2012-13.
Five years later, we're back in bargaining with the company again and will be getting into conversations about economics soon.
Our members who work at UNFI need to know that we have their backs no matter how negotiations turn out!
The King County Coalition of Unions after their meeting on March 16.
Our King County Coalition of Unions negotiated Total Compensation bargaining with the County last year covering basic compensation elements of your contract, which was overwhelmingly ratified by individual bargaining units within the King County Coalition of Unions.
As part of the agreement, we committed to bargain a Master Labor Agreement (MLA) based on the structure of the National Master Agreement between United Parcel Service (UPS) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The idea behind the Master Labor Agreement is to consolidate language in our contracts into one general agreement that will apply to all Unions in the Coalition that vote to accept the Master Labor Agreement as well as setting contractual minimums for all participating bargaining units to promote internal equity throughout the Coalition agreements. Additionally, some Coalition bargaining units are simultaneously bargaining their individual contracts at the “small” or individual tables.
If we are successful in ratifying a Master Labor Agreement by the end of 2017, members of the Coalition will receive an additional 1 percent general wage increase effective January 2018.
Starting in January of this year, individual bargaining units began meeting to set their priorities for their individual bargaining unit negotiations. We met with the County in February, established ground rules for bargaining, and received and reviewed the County’s initial comprehensive proposal for a Master Labor Agreement. Our Coalition group has met in caucus on several occasions to prioritize contract provisions that we believe belong in the Master Labor Agreement and to draft the Union’s proposal.
On March 16, our Coalition of Unions met again in caucus to finalize our initial comprehensive proposal for the MLA. We will be ready to make our presentation of that proposal in our next meeting with the County on March 30.
If you have questions, please contact your Bargaining Committee member or your Union Representative. We will have another update for you after the meeting on March 30.
Thank you for everything that you do.
Check out the video update from Lisa Huntley and Brian Pinney, two members of our Union bargaining committee:
Chad Young is one of our new members at the state's Department of Corrections.
Another group at the state's Department of Corrections has joined Teamsters 117.
Seventy-one Correctional Specialist 2s were certified as Teamsters on Tuesday, March 7 by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC).
That makes five DOC groups that have joined our Union or are awaiting PERC certification since December.
"We now have the backing of a whole organization rather than just being a lone voice."
"Gaining representation brings a lot of value," said Chad Young, a CS2 who helped with the organizing drive. "Now we have the backing of a whole organization rather than just being a lone voice."
Chad and his co-workers were motivated by a growing pay disparity between his CS2 group and members of the Teamsters bargaining unit. Represented DOC staff performing similar work were receiving $300 more a month.
The only difference was that he was responsible for training staff while they were training offenders."I felt like the state was putting less money toward training staff than training offenders," he said.
At first some of his co-workers were hesitant about joining the Union, but when he showed them the pay gap, they got on board.
Now that the group is certified, they will have a chance to voice their priorities for bargaining, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks.
"I want to welcome these new members to our Union," said John Scearcy, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer. "We look forward to ensuring that their rights are protected and that they receive the outstanding representation they deserve."
Members who work at two more companies - Fleischmann's Vinegar in Sumner and Paco in Seattle - voted overwhelmingly to ratify their contracts this week.
That makes three contracts ratified in the last seven days, counting our agreement with US Foods.
"Our bargaining got a little contentious," said Todd Leeper, a Shop Steward at Fleischmann's. "But our representation was fantastic. Paul (Dascher) came through for us. We were all very satisfied with the result."
The contract vote at Fleischmann's took place on March 8. The agreement covers a small group of members who manufacture white distilled vinegar and apple cider vinegar from scratch.
"Congratulations to our members at both Fleishmann's Vinegar and Paco. No matter the size of the bargaining unit, whether it's three or three hundred, our members will receive the best representation we can provide," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.
Check out this video of our Shop Steward at US Foods, Richard Milestone, talk about his new contract at US Foods:
Members at US Foods voting on their new contract at the IBEW Hall in Tacoma.
Teamsters who work at US Foods voted overwhelmingly yesterday afternoon to ratify a new 4-year contract.
"It takes care of our kids...It's absolutely fantastic."
The agreement covers 128 drivers and warehouse workers who operate out of the US Foods facility in Fife as well as members of three other Local Unions.
"This is an industry-leading contract that provides strong, family wages, excellent health and welfare benefits, and retirement security for our members and their families," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "Our bargaining committee did a tremendous job."
Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy headed up the negotiations that involved four Teamster Locals - Locals 117, 162, 483, and 690.
"This is a really good contract," said Richard Milestone, a 33-year member and Shop Steward. "It takes care of our kids, we've got four more years of good quality medical, four more years of good quality pension. It's absolutely fantastic."
Teamsters at US Foods house and deliver food service products to restaurants, hospitals, daycare centers, and retirement homes throughout our region.
It was an impressive show of union power: Hundreds of Teamsters 117 Shop Stewards filling a massive auditorium at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle.
The occasion? Our annual Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day, which was held on Saturday. View photos from the Seminar here.
"As Shop Stewards, you are the backbone of this Union," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117, as he welcomed the group. "Your work on the shop floor and in the community is essential to our success at growing our Union and building power and unity for working families across the Pacific Northwest."
The theme of this year's Seminar was United for the Future. "Our strength is our pathway to unity," Scearcy said, as he laid out his vision for the future and unveiled a new mission statement for our Union:
The new mission, Scearcy said, was inspired by input from over 2,500 membership surveys collected over the past few months.
Scearcy was followed by Senator Rebecca Saldaña (37th LD), this year's keynote speaker. Senator Saldaña has been dubbed a rising star in Olympia who is able to reach across the aisle to get things done.
The breakout workshops focused on developing our Union's strategic plan, building power in the workplace, and forging our future through family, strength, and community.
During lunch, members tried their luck at stumping four attorneys, including three from the labor-side law firm, Schwerin Campbell Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt LLP, along with our new Associate General Counsel, Marie Duarte.
Thank you to our members who attended the event and to all Local 117 Shop Stewards. You make our Union strong!
We are welcoming seventy DOC Shop Stewards today for our annual meeting here at the Union hall.
The meeting with our DOC members precedes our Shop Steward Seminar at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle tomorrow.
Members are rolling into town now. Our meeting will kick off at 12:30 P.M. after registration and lunch.
Today's agenda involves a presentation by Karen Estevenin, our Membership and Staff Development Coordinator, on how to exercise power in the workplace. We'll also be discussing how we can use Labor Management Communication Committees to engage members toward collective action.
Finally, our new Associate General Counsel, Marie Duarte, will lead the group on the Steward's Role in investigatory interviews.
Dinner will be at 6 P.M. when we will be presenting the award for the annual DOC Shop Steward of the Year. Stay tuned!
Members of our Union bargaining committee that negotiated the contract proposal with US Foods.
It's a busy weekend coming up. We've got hundreds of Stewards coming into town from all across the state for our annual Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day. About 270 are expected to gather at the Washington State Convention Center starting at 7:30 A.M. on Saturday.
Today, DOC Shop Stewards will be meeting to discuss strategies for getting our DOC contract funded.
To top it off, we've got demands meetings for our members in the grocery industry who work at SuperValu and a US Foods contract ratification vote on Sunday!
The US Foods vote will be held at the IBEW Hall in Tacoma (3049 S 36th) at 1 P.M.
John Scearcy, our Union's Secretary-Treasurer and the lead negotiator in bargaining, will be presenting the offer. Members will have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the proposal before the vote.
Members at Macy's Logistics voted last Wednesday to ratify a new four-year contract.
The agreement secured wage increases in every year of the contract and the highest pension increases that the group has seen in several years.
Still, there is work to be done moving forward, says Julio Paulson, a ten-year member, who works as a sorter operator in the warehouse.
"I feel like we're moving in the right direction, but in the future, we all need to get involved."
"With the rising cost of living and with what Macy's pays, it's hard to pay the bills," he said. "I feel like we're moving in the right direction, but in the future, we all need to get involved."
Julio has recently started becoming more active in his Union. He's started attending Union meetings and he's speaking up when he has a question.
Early in his career, he viewed his job as many of his less tenured co-workers do now - a temporary job that would transition him into something better.
Now, he sees things differently. "It's our job to ask questions, to come to the meetings," he said. "This is how we support our families."
Julio is already looking down the road to the next contract.
"You're going to be hearing from me a lot more. I'm going to be speaking up and making sure my co-workers get involved. I'm confident that we will all come together."