When we fight, we win!

Private Sector

Thank you Teamsters at Farmer Bros!


Thank you to 24-year member Stuart Smith and our other members at Farmer Bros. Coffee for keeping us stocked with tea, hot chocolate, and that daily Cup of Joe!

Recycle and yard waste negotiations kick off next year

New buttons just in! Our recycle and yard waste drivers perform the same difficult, dangerous work as other drivers in the industry. We'll be working next year to make sure their compensation reflects that.


Check out what our member at Ryerson won at the Holiday Meeting!


Congrats! to Binh Pham, Local 117 member at Ryerson. Binh was one of the winners at our Holiday Membership Meeting on December 15. Enjoy your holiday football, brother!

Teamsters 117 joins international effort to ensure fair working conditions in the gig economy

A network of European and North American unions, labor confederations, and worker organizations issued a call yesterday for transnational cooperation between workers, worker organizations, platform clients, platform operators, and regulators to ensure fair working conditions and worker participation in governance in the growing world of digital labor platforms such as Clickworker, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Jovoto, and Uber.

The growth of “platform-based work” poses both opportunities and risks for workers and for society at large, and is a chance for a “co-operative turn” in the relationship between worker organizations and management, according to the document, titled the “Frankfurt Paper on Platform-Based Work.”

The participating organizations made the following joint statement:

“In the context of globalization, digitalization, ‘flexibilization’ of work, growing income inequality within countries, and growing political polarization in Europe and the United States, fair, socially sustainable work and real worker participation in shaping working conditions are more important than ever. This is just as true on digital platforms as in industrial manufacturing and office work. If our democratic societies are to stay democratic, workers must have democratic influence over the governance of work. Digitalization does not need to contribute to rising income inequality and polarized politics. Businesses, workers, and regulators have a common interest in ensuring that the benefits of digitalization are shared broadly and equitably — and worker participation in the governance of work is a historically proven mechanism for doing so. Against the risk of ‘digital feudalism,’ platform operators, workers, worker organizations, clients, researchers, and regulators must work together to bring democracy to these new digital workplaces.”

Fred Meyer member writes about his trip to D.C. to fight for fair trade


By Cody Harris
Teamster at Fred Meyer

The TPP is dead, international trade and future trade deals are alive and well

International trade is a key driver of Washington State’s economy with two out of every five jobs in Washington tied to trade. Furthermore, Washington is the gateway to Asia and is home to a wide diversity of businesses that leverage that position in global markets. This positioning means that 25% of jobs related to trade in Washington State are directly linked to imports.

The Trans Pacific Partnership is a multi-national trade agreement between twelve of the Pacific Rim countries including Canada, Mexico and Japan with the United States.

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.