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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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."
Union supporters in the for-hire industry at a Seattle City Council meeting in August last year.
Uber has spent the better part of two years trying to stop their drivers from having a voice.
They have repeatedly blocked their drivers’ right to unionize in the courts, run anti-Union ads in the Seattle Times and during a nationally-televised Seahawks game. They even have their own podcast aimed at silencing drivers.
Instead of raising standards for drivers who have repeatedly decried the company’s lack of transparency, poor working conditions, and low pay, Uber has focused its efforts on making sure drivers have as little control as possible over their own livelihoods.
Uber’s most recent attempt to silence their drivers involves a letter to the City of Seattle contesting our Union’s application to become a qualified driver representative under the City’s new collective bargaining law.
Local 117 members at the Sysco warehouse in Kent send solidarity and encouragement to their Brothers and Sisters in Spokane.
Members of Teamsters 117 who work in the food service industry are sending messages of solidarity to their Brothers and Sisters who work at the Sysco warehouse in Spokane.
The Spokane warehouse group is fighting to win their Union and become members of Teamsters Local 690. A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election is scheduled for this Thursday, March 2.
"I stand with my Brothers and Sisters in Spokane to have a voice at work."
Last night, dozens of our members at Food Services of America and the Sysco in Kent shared photos with signs that read, "This Teamster stands with the Spokane Sysco warehouse" and "Vote YES!" Many offered words of encouragement:
“I have been at the bargaining table and have seen first-hand what this Company has proposed and would implement if we were not Union here in Seattle," said James Borsum, a Teamster 117 member who works for Sysco in Seattle. "I stand with my Brothers and Sisters in Spokane to have a voice at work.”
Yesterday, Sysco sent a letter to their employees' homes trying to convince them to vote against the Union.
"These kinds of tactics are typically used to try to intimidate employees and frighten family members," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "Sysco should refrain from this kind of ugly campaigning, respect the democratic process and their employees."