Teamster Talk #17: Local 117 strikes back!
Quote of the month: "All great questions must be raised by great voices, and the greatest voice is the voice of the people.” – Robert Kennedy



A message from your Secretary-Treasurer, Tracey A. Thompson

Brothers and Sisters:

With the ever escalating war on the middle class, it seems that this past year has been one long battle. Fighting to ensure that our members work in a safe environment; fighting against greedy corporations who seek to increase their record profits by taking medical benefits and retirement security away from their workers; fighting to ensure dignity and respect for every worker; fighting to protect the American Dream. Read more.

Teamsters Local 117 strikes back!
Over the last several months, members across our Union have been fighting valiantly to preserve contracts that guarantee job security and middle class wages.
Workers have stood in solidarity, defended their livelihoods, and in some cases, put their lives on the line in the fight for fairness and economic justice. Read more.

Members stand strong at US Foods
On November 4, 107 members of Local 117 at US Foods in Fife honored a picket line that was established earlier in the week by striking Teamsters, thousands of miles away, in Streator Illinois.
Maintenance workers in Illinois were on a ULP strike in response to the company’s retaliation against workers and its refusal to bargain in good faith.
“I’ve worked at US Foods for 28 years,” said Mike Vagasky of Streator, Ill. “I don’t want to strike, but after KKR and CD&R purchased the company, they have done nothing but bully, harass and intimidate us.” Read more.

33 Teamsters at Hertz file EEOC complaints
On Tuesday, October 25, 33 members of Teamsters Local 117 filed religious discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after the group was targeted by Hertz with a unilaterally implemented break policy.
Hertz implemented the policy without notifying or bargaining with the Union.
The policy requires the workers to clock out for intermittent prayer breaks, which violates the workers’ contractual rights.
“Hertz has violated our contract, violated labor laws, and even violated their own internal policy by not adhering to the principle of progressive discipline when workers were suspended without warning,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer.
“Hertz then fired 25 of these workers after giving them an unconscionable ultimatum: choose between your livelihood and your dignity.”
Your Local Union is challenging the terminations through the contractual grievance and arbitration process.
The Union also has filed several Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

DOC News: DOC trumpets safety improvements; concerns remain
On November 3, the Department of Corrections hosted a media event out at the Monroe Correctional Complex, which included a briefing for more than a dozen reporters at the Washington State Reformatory.
A statewide report on safety conditions had been released just two days earlier and DOC was eager to highlight changes made since the tragic murder of Officer Jayme Biendl on January 29.
A reporter from a major news outlet had this to say about the event: “It was essentially a dog and pony show,” she confided.
Your Local Union’s Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement, Jim Smith, agreed.
“While it’s true that some improvements have been made, we’ve still got a long way to go to insure a safe working environment for corrections’ staff,” he said.
Smith, along with Lawrence Adamire of CBCC, Ronny Matsen of SCCC, and Dan Wistie of WCC, among others, participated for the Union in the statewide safety committee meetings that were legislated under ESB 5907.
Although some concerns have been addressed by the local and statewide committees, Adamire noted, “It is still very much a work in progress.”
A few of the safety concerns the Union team outlined that have yet to be adequately addressed, include:

  • staffing levels stretched too thin
  • continued single-person posts
  • no OC for single-person posts
  • lack of cameras in key areas
  • no rest breaks on 8-hour shifts
  • inmate classification overrides/reviews

You can view the safety committee’s full report on your Local Union’s website at

December 2011

Mark your calendars!
Dec. 15 - Holiday Meeting

Holiday Meeting: December 15 at 7PM
Throughout the month of December at our DOC facilities and domicile locations, and on December 15 at 7 PM at the Union hall, Local 117 members are gathering together for our annual holiday meetings.

Every member who attends a holiday membership meeting receives a $25 Safeway gift card and is placed in the drawing for one of three flat screen televisions.

Last year, 64 prizes were awarded, including several iPods, Wiis, power tools, bottles of wine, gift cards and the televisions sets. All of the gifts are purchased from companies with whom Local 117 has a bargaining relationship.

“This is our way of showing our gratitude to our members for their extraordinary contribution to this Union,” said Secretary-Treasurer Tracey A. Thompson.

If last year’s numbers are any indication, the hall’s main auditorium will be packed, so plan to arrive early. For more information, visit your Union’s website at




* Teamster Talk: News from Teamsters Local 117 *

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14675 Interurban Ave. S., Suite 307, Tukwila, WA 98168

206.441.4860 * toll free 1.888.872.3498

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