When we fight, we win!

Private Sector

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.

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!

Strike Authorization Vote at GP Gypsum is Unanimous


Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and Business Representative Kris Fish meet with Teamsters at GP Gypsum. 

Teamsters at GP Gypsum have voted unanimously to authorize a strike. The vote took place at three meetings last week at the IBEW hall in Tacoma. The result of the vote was 71-0; over 90 percent of the bargaining unit participated.

“Our members are ready to take action to defend their livelihoods,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “They will fight for a contract that provides job security and respect. Union solidarity at GP Gypsum is strong.”

Our contract expired at the end of July. Bargaining has been relatively unproductive and the company appears intent on delaying the process. We've sent them multiple bargaining dates; they say they’re unavailable to meet until the end of November. 

Welcome, Lance Asher, new Local 117 Business Rep


New Business Rep Lance Asher (r) talks with Shawn Yee down at the UNFI warehouse in Auburn. 

We're excited to add a new Business Rep to the team. Lance Asher became a Teamster in 1998 when he went to work for Sysco in the food service industry.

Since then, Lance has gained experience in several Teamster shops, including United Natural Foods, Inc., where he became a Shop Steward in 2011.

As a Steward, Lance handled grievances, participated in contract negotiations, and urged his co-workers to speak up for their rights and enforce their contract.

In 2012, Lance led his co-workers on a nine-week Unfair Labor Practice strike at UNFI. The strike energized the group and resulted in a stronger contract and greater solidarity on the shop floor.

Together with another UNFI Steward, Lance worked with our International Union to organize UNFI workers in Atlanta.

Lance started at the Local as a Business Rep on September 1, 2016. “I want members in my jurisdiction to feel like they are supported and that they know their rights so they can enforce their contract,” he said.  

Lance will be representing members in several private sector jurisdictions.

Fare Times: News for Teamster Taxicab Operators

Fare-Times-Fall-2016_Page_1.jpgThe fall issue of our Fare Times newsletter is now available. The Fare Times provides news and information for Teamster taxicab operators. 

In this issue, we have an update on the airport contract that the Port signed with Eastside For Hire this month.

We believe that drivers' income will decrease under the new contract. Although we weren't able to prevent the Port from signing it, we were able to achieve important protections for drivers and their families.

One of the requirements under the contract is that Eastside must sign a "Labor Peace" agreement with the drivers' Union within 60 days.

We will be scheduling demands meetings soon so that drivers can talk about their priorities for the agreement.  We'll let you know once those meetings have been scheduled.

Access a PDF of the Fare Times here.

Members stand in solidarity with Republic drivers in Ohio


Over a dozen Teamster drivers at Republic Services in Bellevue sent messages of solidarity this morning to their brothers and sisters in Zanesville, Ohio, who are fighting to win a voice at work. 

The Zanesville drivers filed a petition recently with the National Labor Relations Board for a Union election to certify Teamsters Local 637 as their exclusive bargaining representative.

"We support you as you fight to get a voice on the job."

Marty White, who has been with Republic for 4.5 years, encouraged the Zanesville drivers to vote Teamsters. "Joining the Union is great because you have the support of Teamsters across the country," he said.

Antonio Hernandez has been working in the solid waste industry for 21 years. "Having a Union provides strong support for me and my family," he said. "We have good wages, a pension, and job security."

All of our members at the Bellevue yard had high hopes for the organizing efforts in Zanesville. "We support you as you fight to get a voice on the job," said Tyler Ayala, a member with 4 years of service.

Thank you to everyone for such a strong display of solidarity this morning! 

Teamsters at GP Gypsum Gear up for Strike Vote


Teamsters at GP Gypsum are fed up. Their contract has been expired since the end of July and the company is dragging its feet in bargaining.

We've sent them multiple bargaining dates; the company says it can't meet until the end of the year. They're also insisting that we go to mediation even though we haven't finished bargaining over language.  

A few weeks ago, management emptied all lockers that didn't have "labels" on them. Several members lost their valuables, cash, tools, and even a birth certificate.

Our Union responded by creating oversized Teamster labels which are plastered throughout the locker room. We also submitted an information request asking for info on wages, hours, seniority, policies, outstanding grievances, and more.

Next week, September 29, 30, and October 1, we will be holding a strike authorization vote at the IBEW Hall in Tacoma to send a message to the company: Respect our members and respect the bargaining process.

"We need to make sure that we're all together and to hear what everybody's concerns are so we can make the right move," said Daniel Fox, a Shop Steward and member of the bargaining committee. "We need to stand together."

Local 117 Member at IKEA Gives Back Through Youth Basketball


Local 117 member Mario Sapilak gives congratulates one of the players on his youth basketball team.

When Local 117 member Mario Sapilak first started taking his daughter to the rec basketball court, he never imagined it would lead to an opportunity to coach a youth basketball team. 

Mario often stayed to watch his daughter practice, and eventually began talking with her coach, Ronnie Jones.

Seattle workers win secure scheduling


Seattle workers won a major victory yesterday when the city council voted to approve a new law that would provide secure scheduling in the fast food and retail industries.

The law would require large employers to provide schedules at least two weeks in advance and to give workers an estimate of how many hours they can expect to work in a given week.

The proposed bill was passed unanimously by the council.

"Having access to a healthy work schedule should not be limited to those with a union card in their pocket," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117, addressing the council.

Our Union has been actively involved in the effort to win secure scheduling for Seattle workers and their families.

Teamster Talk: The Power of the Members

Teamster-Talk-2016-2.jpgWe're excited to announce the publication of the fall issue of our Teamster Talk newsletter.

In this issue, you'll find stories on an organizing win at Safeway Dairy and a first-time Teamster contract for our new members at Transdev.

Taxi drivers voted at their annual association meeting to become full-fledged members of our Union. We also have a great story about a huge arbitration win at United Natural Foods, Inc. 

Our Union's Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy, writes about coming up through the ranks and the importance of focusing on member leadership and development.

Check out a PDF of Teamster Talk. For print copies, talk to your Business Rep.