Teamster Shop Stewards and other leaders at King County interviewed fellow members on Thursday as a part of our Every Voice Counts project. Interviews took place in a relaxed environment, over lunch in the County's Chinook building.
You can view photos from the day's activity here.
The purpose of the event was to discuss issues at work, and brainstorm solutions. Folks had lots to say about how to improve their benefits and working conditions, and even their safety.
"I'm concerned about the recent shootings," said Enrique Ferrer, a weapons screener at the Regional Justice Center in Kent. "We could be susceptible to that, too."
Members also discussed recent attacks on labor, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, and a case currently before the Supreme Court that could place significant burdens on public sector unions.
If the Court rules against unions in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, it could create a union-hostile environment in public sector workplaces across the country. (See who's behind the Friedrichs case here.)
A "freeloader" dynamic would arise. Members could abandon their union membership, but continue to receive all of the benefits of union representation without having to pay for it. Unions would lose resources, and the membership as a whole would suffer.
"It seems like more and more people keep giving this country to the 1%," said Phil Kouse, a paralegal at the Prosecuting Attorney's Office. "It's part of a concerted plan to undermine the unions. They make unions provide the services without providing the funding to do it and people can get something for nothing."
Kouse and others at the meeting acknowledged the threat and identified the need to build a stronger union, with a committed and engaged membership.
"It's important for people to engage in union activities because the power comes from people being united and being active," he said.
Our Every Voice Counts campaign is just getting started and will be ongoing for the next several months. Talk to your Business Representative or Shop Steward about scheduling your interview, or call Karen Estevenin at 206-441-4860 ext. 1244.