When we fight, we win!

Private Sector

Teamsters help fight homelessness through tiny house project


It was an impressive sight. Fifty volunteers, all union members, coming together to fight homelessness. Teamsters working together with Machinists, working with members of the Building Trades and the Martin Luther King County Labor Council.

The group set out to build two tiny houses at our Teamsters Union hall on Saturday, and they succeeded in spectacular fashion. The new structures will be transported to a local homeless camp in the coming weeks.

"With all of the uncertainty in our world, this represents hope," said Cynthia Adams, a member of our Local 117 Executive Board who works at King County, as she observed the group's progress.

The volunteers hammered out the frames in just a few hours, added siding, insulation, doors, windows, and a roof. One house was completely finished by day's end. The second house is nearly completed as well.

 "What a fantastic project," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "We are proud to give back to our community by adding Teamster labor to this great cause. Thank you to the many volunteers who lent a hand in this effort. You make our union and our community strong."

Teamsters will build tiny houses to fight homelessness


Join us as we partner with several other Unions this Saturday to construct two tiny houses in an effort to help combat homelessness.

Three Teamster Locals as well as members of the Seattle King County Building Trades, the Machinists Union, and the Martin Luther King County Labor Council will be lending a hand on the project. 

The event will take place this Saturday, April 22 starting at 8 a.m. at our Union hall in Tukwila. Volunteers are needed any time between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. A barbecue lunch will be served.

Contact Mary Keefe at 206-441-0763 or Mary.Keefe@teamsters763.org for more information.


Congrats to Beckendorf Scholarship Recipient, Michelle To


Congratulations to Michelle To, the daughter of Phuong To, a Teamster Local 117 member who works at Sysco. 

Michelle is one of the recipients of this year's Jerry Beckendorf Scholarship. Since 2003, the Jerry Beckendorf Community Services Scholarship program has awarded approximately $50,000 to dozens of graduating seniors from Union families living in Pierce County.

Michelle was presented with the award at the Pierce County Central Labor Council meeting on April 12. When she was called up to receive her certificate, all the Teamsters in the house came up to stand with her in support.

Here are a few words about Michelle and her future plans courtesy of the the PCCLC:

Michelle is graduating from Rogers High School and plans on attending the University of Washington for a degree in Pre-Medicine as well as Bioengineering.

Michelle will be the first of her family to attend college, and has set the bar high for herself while remaining humble. She has spent over 1,000 hours giving back to her community through tutoring kids, packaging food, and cleaning and refurbishing toys for low-income children.

Michelle aspires to make a bigger difference in the world by administering medical help and making discoveries in medicine by becoming a Bio-medical engineer.

For her leadership and volunteer work we award her $750.

Seattle for-hire drivers vow to continue organizing efforts


Uber drivers at the company office in Tukwila on April 4. The group was there to protest unfair deactivation.

Judge Lasnik Emphasizes Order Should Not be Read as Harbinger of Final Decision  

Seattle for-hire drivers who are seeking to unionize under the city’s new collective bargaining law are determined to continue their organizing efforts after a federal district court judge issued an order temporarily blocking the new law.

"This is just going to make us come together and fight more."

“It’s disappointing, but it’s not going to stop us,” said Musse Bahta, who has driven for Uber for four years. “There are so many drivers who are ready to stand up for their rights. We are standing together with our union. This is just going to make us come together and fight more.”

Another Uber driver, Peter Kuel, also vowed to continue the organizing efforts. “The judge needs to understand what we’re going through. It’s too much. We feel the pain doing this job. We are not going to give up. We will continue fighting for those who cannot speak themselves,” he said.

Don Creery, a union supporter who has been driving with Uber since 2014, said drivers are facing so many issues that the ruling would not prevent them from continuing to seek representation.

“There are so many problems. We’re not being paid adequately. That means you work longer hours, which means you’re not safe. We have no benefits – that’s an issue. I work full-time for a 70 billion company. The American taxpayers should not have to subsidize my health care. That’s not right.”

In his ruling, Judge Lasnik made it clear that the temporary injunction should not be interpreted as indicative of a final decision in the case:

“The Court emphasizes that this Order should not be read as a harbinger of what the ultimate decision in this case will be when all dispositive motions are fully briefed and considered. The plaintiffs have raised serious questions that deserve careful, rigorous judicial attention, not a fast-tracked rush to judgment based on a date that has no extrinsic importance.”

For more information, please contact Dawn Gearhart at 206-794-6678 or dawn.gearhart@teamsters117.org

New contract for QCD Teamsters who deliver to Starbucks


Members at Quality Custom Distribution (QCD) voted to ratify a new contract on Sunday. The 70-member group overwhelmingly approved the proposal, which provides wage increases, and retirement and job security for members and their families for the next four years.

"What we've achieved in two contracts would have taken weaker groups four or five contracts to accomplish."

The ratification vote comes just two weeks after the group had voted to authorize a strike.

"Things changed after we got the strike authorization vote," said George Carpenter, a Shop Steward who was on the bargaining committee. "We stood together and showed the company that we were willing to walk out."

Carpenter was pleased with the final result, especially with the maintenance of the group's health benefits. "Over the next four years, it helps us achieve a lot. Our health care doesn't change over the course of the contract. So I feel really good about that."

Carpenter also had praise for the Union's negotiating team. "What we've achieved in two contracts would have taken weaker groups four or five contracts to accomplish. I think everybody was pretty happy."

"This bargaining committee had the full support of our Union," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "They bargained extremely well and stayed committed to and focused on the priorities of the group." 

QCD members deliver food service products to over 300 Starbucks stores across the Pacific Northwest.

Members at Viking vote unanimously to ratify new contract


From R to L: Lance Asher, Tim Smith, Steven Martin, and Douglas Trotter, and John Scearcy

Our members at Viking Sprinkler voted unanimously today to ratify a new three-year contract.

The agreement, which was negotiated by our Union's Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy, provides wage and pension increases, and significant improvements to the employees' dental coverage.

"We're really happy with this contract, it's probably the best we've had," said Tim Smith, a member of over 20 years. "John worked his tail off getting us a good contract."

"We're really happy with this contract, it's probably the best we've had."

Our Shop Steward, Douglas Trotter, who participated in negotiations, agreed:

"I'm feeling really good about this contract. It's always a pleasure to have John Scearcy come in and facilitate the negotiations. I feel honored to have had him on board with this one."

Trotter has been with the company for 14 years, and has been a Shop Steward for nine.

Another member, Steven Martin, who came to Viking from a non-Union shop just eight months ago, was also pleased. "This whole Teamster Union thing is new to me. You get way better benefits, better medical. Overall everything is much better."


Tentative agreements reached at two more Teamster shops


Teamsters Local 117 represents approximately 65 Zookeepers and Warehousers at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. 

Last week, Local 117 bargainers, together with their respective rank-and-file bargaining committees, reached tentative agreement on contract proposals at two locations.

Our Union team at the Woodland Park Zoo reached tentative agreement with zoo management last Thursday. Our Shop Steward at the Zoo, Peter Miller, is in the process of proofing the proposal. The group will be voting on the agreement in mid-April.

We also reached tentative agreement for a contract proposal on behalf of members at Quality Custom Distribution (QCD). The agreement comes after the group had voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike on March 19.

Members at QCD deliver food service products to Starbucks stores across the Pacific Northwest. Our QCD bargaining committee has scheduled a contract vote here at the Union hall this coming Sunday, April 2 at 2:30 P.M.

As soon as both groups have an opportunity to review and vote on their contract proposals, we will let you know.   

Teamster Talk: Solidarity actions lead to strong contracts


The new issue of our Teamster Talk newsletter is now available. Teamster Talk highlights the work of members in our private sector shops.

In this issue, you'll find news on our recent Shop Steward Seminar as well as contract fights and organizing campaigns at several locations, including GP Gypsum, US Foods, and UNFI.

You can view a PDF of Teamster Talk here. Print copies will be available in a few days from your Union Representatives.

Uber, Lyft drivers demand better conditions and a voice


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.  

Members at QCD vote overwhelmingly to authorize a strike


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.