Sisters and Brothers -
On behalf of our union’s executive board, Michelle and I want to wish you and your family a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.
This is a time of year to express togetherness and gratitude. As Teamsters, we have a lot to be thankful for. By standing together with our co-workers, we have a level of protection and job security not available to our non-union counterparts.
But our ability to negotiate is only one way our union helps improve lives. This November, members of Teamsters 117 donated dozens of pints of blood at our annual blood drive. Teamsters across our union are also donating toys for families in need this holiday season. These efforts help save lives, bring joy to families that are struggling, and lift up our communities.
We would like to express our utmost gratitude to the many Teamsters who will be at work, away from their families over the holidays. A special thanks go out to our members working in the corrections and law enforcement professions who make tremendous sacrifices this time of year as they serve and protect our communities and keep all of us safe.
As a reminder, our Holiday Membership Meeting and raffle celebration will be held on Thursday, December 21 starting at 7PM at the union hall in Tukwila. I hope you are able to join us for this special event. Thank you again for your outstanding service to our communities and for your membership in Teamsters 117.
President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement
When workers have the freedom to stand together with their co-workers to negotiate, it makes a difference.
That difference is reflected in higher pay, better better benefits, a safer workplace, and a voice on the job.
On average, workers who are part of a union earn over $200 per week more than their non-union counterparts. They are much more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and a defined benefit retirement plan.
But real freedom is about more that making a living. It's also about having the time to take your kids to the doctor, attend a parent-teacher conference, and retire in dignity.
We can't let wealthy special interests and corporate CEOs chip away at the freedoms people in unions have won for all of us.
We must protect our freedom to join together in strong unions so that we have the power in numbers to rewrite the rules for our families. Standing together, we can fight for our freedom to prosper.
It is that time of year for our annual Blood Drive event!
Our Teamsters Local 117 Blood Drive will be held on Saturday, November 18 at the Union hall in Tukwila from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. All donors will receive a $25 Safeway gift card.
If you don’t live in the area, you can still participate! Any donations made between November 8 and November 22 will be rewarded with a $25 Safeway gift card as well (just mail in the proof of donation to the Union Hall).
Come give the gift of life!
After the election polls closed Tuesday night, we witnessed some great news for Teamsters families. In the critical 45th district race, Manka Dhingra beat Jinyoung Lee Englund, which should create a much more worker-friendly majority in the Washington State Legislature.
This holiday season our union is holding a Toy Drive to give back to children in need. To successfully pull this off, we need your help!
The toys will be donated to Local 117 families who are struggling this year. All remaining toys will go to Treehouse for Kids, a local non-profit that works with foster children.
Can you commit some time to collect toys in your shop?
If you can help, please email Taylor House at Taylor.House@Teamsters117.org with your name, email, current phone number, and day you will be able to come pick up your donation box.
You can pick up your box and flyers promoting the Toy Drive at the union hall between Wednesday, Nov. 15 and Friday, Nov. 17. From there, you place the boxes in your designated break areas so your co-workers can donate. The boxes will need to be returned to the hall by Friday, December 15.
This deadline ensures we can get the gifts to Local 117 families and deliver excess toys to Treehouse for Kids in time for disbursement. For last minute donations, we will also be collecting toys during our Thursday, December 21 Holiday Membership Meeting.
Thank you for all of your hard work on the shop floor. Let's work together to help our communities this holiday season!
We are currently recruiting for a Union Representative position for the Department of Corrections.
The successful applicant for this position will be assigned to the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.
Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, visiting worksites, building relationships with members, internal organizing, grievance handling and investigation, assistance in contract negotiations, Labor-Management meetings, steward training and supervision, conducting regional meetings in their assigned areas, and working as part of a team with other Local 117 Union Representatives.
If this interests you, please review the full job description that includes instructions on how to submit your cover letter and resume. The deadline to apply is close of business on November 20, 2017.
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement
Our union’s bargaining with the DOC does not stop after the completion of contract negotiations. Throughout the year, we bargain with the State over a number of issues impacting your work.
In 2017, we have filed demands to bargain over newly-organized units, newly-created FTEs, the elimination of certain classifications, and many other issues.
Most recently, a group of member leaders (LouAnn Anderson, Phillip Cook, John Dunn, Becky Haney-Nixon Venus Ortiz, Jessica Poston, and Shawn Piliponis), along with union representatives Tawny Humbert and Sarena Davis, met with the State to bargain over the Advanced Corrections Case Management program impacting classification counselors.
Bargaining took place here at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila on Wednesday, October 24.
At the bargaining table, our member team and union representatives discussed the excessive workload demanded by the program and the emotional impact of the work. We passed our complete initial proposal and the State asked clarifying questions. We are in the process of scheduling further dates to continue discussions over the program.
It’s important to remember that any time the DOC implements changes that may impact your wages, hours, or working conditions, they are required to enter into negotiations with the union. Failure to do so constitutes an Unfair Labor Practice.
Stay vigilant and report any such changes to your shop steward or union representative so that we can file a demand to bargain. This is your right as a Teamsters 117 member under your contract and under the law.
If you have questions about the recent bargaining over the Advanced Corrections program, please contact lead negotiators Tawny Humbert at email@example.com or Sarena Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are covered by a Teamsters medical plan through the Washington Teamsters Welfare Trust, you can save on your 2018 medical expenses by taking your confidential Health Assessment.
Both you and your eligible spouse or covered domestic partner must take the Health Assessment between November 1 and December 15 to qualify for the reduction.
For members covered under plans A, B, C, and Z and the Kaiser Permanente Options Plan, your annual deductible in 2018 will be $200 less for individual coverage and up to $600 less for family coverage than if you do not take the assessment.
To take the assessment, visit wateamsters.vivacity.com. If you don't have internet access, call Vivacity at 855-784-4562 to request a paper version. Kaiser Permanete Plan Participants go to www.ghc.org or call Kaiser at 866-458-5277 to request a paper version.
If you have questions, talk to your union representative.
Teamsters 117 represents approximately 3,500 members who work for local public sector jurisdictions in King and Pierce Counties (in addition to 6,000 state employees who work for the state Dept. of Corrections).
We have members who work for the cities of Seattle and Tacoma, at King County and Pierce County, as well as a dozen other local cities and both the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, in hundreds of classifications.
One thing all of our members share, regardless of whether we work in the public or private sector, is that we all deserve good public services, and we believe that anyone who works for a living should have good wages and benefits to be able to take care of their families.
Elected officials who serve on city councils, or county councils, make decisions that impact our members every day. They approve or reject collective bargaining agreements we negotiate in the public sector, which means that who gets elected to office matters a great deal.
In 2017, our Statewide Political Advisory Committee met with nearly 50 candidates, and made endorsements for local office for positions which will appear on your General Election ballot this year. For more about our endorsement process, please click here. To see the list of all of our endorsed candidates, please click here.
- Register to Vote and Check your Registration Status
- Election Calendar and Important Dates
If you have any questions about the ballot you get in the mail, or you need more information on anyone we have endorsed, please feel free to reach out to our Political Coordinator, Dustin Lambro, at 1-888-872-3489 x1262 or dustin @ teamsters117.org.
Yury Silva (left) counting ratification votes along with fellow Teamsters.
Teamsters at Fred Meyer voted resoundingly in favor of a fully-recommended contract proposal last weekend.
This was not an easy win. With Teamsters securing strong contracts at Safeway and SuperValu earlier this year, Fred Meyer workers authorized a strike in July by a vote of 332-1 and voted down two subsequent proposals.
John Scearcy, our union’s secretary-treasurer, said that the workers’ collective power brought the company back to the negotiating table. “By standing together and demanding a better deal, our members got a proposal that is commensurate with industry standards and will lift up their families.”
“We are the number one distribution center,” said Yury Silva, a shop steward who participated in the tough negotiations. “Our co-workers wanted our contract to put us at number one.” Among the achieved benefits was a reduction in family healthcare cost, protected vacation leave, and solid wage and retirement increases.
This win was a result of workers feeling empowered to not settle for less and be on the same footing with the grocery giant. “I am proud to work for Fred Meyer and I am proud to be a Teamster,” concluded Silva. “Our union is only as strong as the people who work there, and that’s us.”
Join us for our 2017 Holiday Membership Meetings for Teamsters at DOC. At the meetings, we will be discussing:
- Our goals for the 2018 legislative session
- Threats to our freedom to stand together for better wages and staff safety
You can view days, times, and facilities below. Click on the link to your facility to RSVP.
|Monday||11/13/2017||1300, 1430||DOC HQ|
|Tuesday||11/14/2017||0615, 0800, 1230, 1415, 1545||AHCC|
|Tuesday||11/14/2017||0620, 1130, 1300, 1410||MCCCW|
|Wednesday||11/15/2017||0620, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1530||WCCW|
|Thursday||11/16/2017||0630, 0830, 1200, 1420, 1600||WSP|
|Friday||11/17/2017||0620, 1100, 1300, 1420||WCC|
|Tuesday||11/21/2017||0615, 0830, 1130, 1230, 1415, 1600, 1815||CRCC|
|Tuesday||11/28/2017||0600, 1400||CI HQ|
|Wednesday||11/29/2017||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100||LCC|
|Tuesday||12/5/2017||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100||OCC|
|Wednesday||12/6/2017||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100||CCCC|
|Thursday||12/7/2017||0630, 1200, 1445, 1600||MCC|
|Thursday||12/7/2017||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100||CBCC|
|Wednesday||12/13/2017||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100, 2200||SCCC|
It’s a new day for Teamsters at Auto Warehousing. After a long contract fight, members voted to ratify what is clearly their best contract in years.
Members will see historically high wage increases in all three years of the agreement, greater retirement security, and an incredible 50% reduction in their monthly premium share on their health insurance.
"We came in aggressive... We’re already seeing positives out of that."
“We came in aggressive, we had points we wanted taken care of, and we argued those points. We’re already seeing positives out of that,” said Randy Chronister, a shop steward, member on the union bargaining committee, and Teamster of over nine years.
It wasn’t easy. The group overwhelmingly authorized a strike, and they voted down two previous proposals. Their militancy, Chronister said, arose because members felt the support of their union like never before and a dramatic increase in union visibility.
“We did BBQs, wore buttons, and posted pictures on the union’s website and Facebook page. Seeing our secretary-treasurer come down here, having our lead negotiator be the vice president of the union – people are feeling very much empowered.”
For a group that hasn’t filed more than a grievance or two in the last several years, these are big changes.
The trick, Chronister insists, is to sustain member involvement for the long run, now that the contract has ratified. “We need to continue doing what we’re doing with the shop stewards working with the union representatives, and making sure people are aware of their rights and empower them. We’re looking forward to that.”
John Scearcy, our union’s secretary-treasurer, says the changes he’s seen at Auto Warehousing have built a powerful foundation for the future. “Teamsters at Auto Warehousing fought incredibly hard to achieve meaningful improvements to their contract. They used their collective voice to demand respect in the workplace. Our goal is to continue to build this momentum so that we can achieve an even stronger contract three years from now.”
A small group of Teamsters who work at Wanke Cascade in Tukwila are all on the same page. The group voted unanimously last month to ratify a new 3-year contract.
"Thanks a billion times on our new contract! The BEST EVER!"
The agreement provides guaranteed wage increases nearly double that of the previous contract, and significant reductions in the amount members will be paying toward their medical.
“Thanks a billion times on our new contract! The BEST EVER!” wrote Shop Steward Craig Williams in an email to his union rep, John Howell, Jr. and lead negotiator, Paul Dascher.
This contract is one of over a dozen that Local 117 members have ratified over the last couple of months.
Our members at Wanke Cascade house flooring supplies, such as hardwood, laminate, and vinyl, for distribution throughout our region.
Jessica grew up in a small town in the Yakima Valley in a family of Teamsters. Her brothers are both police officers and members of the union.
At the University of Washington, she majored in Political Science and engaged in Latin American studies and Law. She credits her activist skills to working with a non-profit fighting for immigrant rights.
“I learned the basics of organizing and become a truly passionate activist there.” Since then she has worked in the labor movement for almost 7 years, most of which she spent as an organizer with UFCW.
Local 117 members gather on the Capitol steps in Olympia during our 2017 Lobby Day.
As a part of our strategic planning process, we surveyed Local 117 members at the end of 2016 asking what priorities our union should focus on, in addition to bargaining strong contracts.
One priority that came through loud and clear was the need to “hold politicians accountable.” Elected officials make decisions that affect our pay, our benefits, and our right to collectively bargain. We need to make sure that we’re holding their feet to the fire.
To work toward that goal and to ensure that our endorsement process is member-driven, we created a Statewide Political Advisory Committee. Our committee this year consisted of nine rank-and-file members from each of our divisions in the union (public sector, private sector, and the DOC).
This committee is the decision-making body to determine whether a candidate for office receives our endorsement, or not.
If a candidate wants our support, here’s the process that person must go through:
- The candidate must fill out a questionnaire, which was written by our committee. The questionnaire asks for a candidate’s positions on labor and community standards, and where the candidate stands on promoting fair pay and benefits for workers.
- Once we receive the completed questionnaire, we schedule the candidate for an interview with our Statewide Political Advisory Committee. These half-hour interviews are an opportunity for members to ask more specific questions about where the candidate stands on issues like wages, health care, and retirement security for working families.
- Once the interviews are completed for a given race, we then make an advisory recommendation to our elected Executive Board, which has the final say on whether to endorse a candidate or not. We don’t typically endorse or contribute to a candidate unless they go through this process.
Once candidates are elected to office, we don’t stop there. We make sure that they are holding true to the policy positions and pledges made during the member interview process.
We are incredibly proud of our Statewide Advisory Committee and the outstanding work they have done this year. For the 2017-2018 election cycle, you can view our endorsements online.
If you’d like to get involved with this committee, please reach out to our union’s Political Coordinator, Dustin Lambro, at email@example.com or 206-441-4860 x1262.