When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

Got Teamsters medical? Save on your 2020 medical costs!

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Got Teamsters medical? You can save on your 2020 medical expenses by taking a confidential Health Assessment if you are covered under the Washington Teamsters Welfare Trust. 

If you, and your eligible spouse or covered domestic partner 18 years of age and older, both take your annual Health Assessment between November 1 and December 15, you will qualify for the following incentives:

Medical Plan A, B, C, and Z – your annual deductible in 2020 will be $200 less for individual coverage and up to $600 less for family coverage than if you do not take it.

The assessment is a confidential questionnaire about your lifestyle and health. It's easy to complete and gives you the opportunity to improve and maintain healthy habits.

To take the assessment, visit wateamsters.vivacity.com. If you're having trouble, email Vivacity at teamsters@vivacity.net  or 855-784-4562 to request a paper version. 


Holiday updates for Teamsters at King County

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Angela Rogness works in King County's domestic violence advocacy program in the Regional Justice Center in Kent.


As we head into the holiday season, we wanted to provide a few updates for Teamsters who work at King County:

  • Contract Negotiations: Master Labor Agreement (MLA) negotiations at King County will kick off in the first quarter of 2020 followed by bargaining over your individual appendix agreements. To prepare for bargaining, we'll be surveying the membership and providing lots of opportunities for you to engage in the process. Stay tuned!
  • Your Teamsters Contract: With negotiations approaching, now is a good time to review your Teamsters contract. You can access the MLA and your bargaining unit's individual appendix agreement on our Union's website here.
  • Wage Increases: All Teamsters at King County will receive a negotiated 3% wage increase in 2020, with 1.5% coming on January 1, 2020 and another 1.5% on July 1.
  • Coalition Bonus: You'll also be receiving a $500 coalition bonus on January 1, 2020 that applies to members of the King County Coalition of Unions only of which Teamsters 117 is a part. 
  • Teamsters Holiday Meeting: Join us for our Holiday Membership Meeting and raffle drawing extravaganza on Thursday, December 19 at 7 p.m at our Union Hall in Tukwila! This is fun event with lots of prizes and a good way to connect with your Union. You can RSVP for the meeting on our Teamsters website here.

I have one other piece of good news to share. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures changes in prices associated with the cost-of-living, is hovering between 1.7% and 2.2% for the Seattle/Tacoma region for 2019. The fact that our Union Coalition was able to negotiate a 4% increase for 2019 shows the strength of our Coalition and the power of an engaged and informed membership.

 


VIDEO: Sysco Teamster fighting for justice!

Sysco Teamster, Will Buff, talks about the power of his Teamsters contract.


Union files statewide grievance to protest inadequate staffing levels at DOC

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Our Union has filed a grievance with the State to protest inadequate and unsafe staffing levels for all Teamsters at the Department of Corrections.

The grievance is based on findings from an independent review of the DOC staffing model conducted by CGL Companies. You can view the grievance here.

CGL Companies produced a report titled Washington Department of Corrections Prison Staffing Model Review that was published in June of 2019.

CGL's audit revealed that the Department is significantly understaffed in several areas. The report concluded, for example, that an additional 250 custody staff are required above levels funded and that there are severe shortages in a number of non-custody areas as well.

You can view CGL's complete report here.

To resolve the grievance we are demanding that the State implement suggestions contained in the report among a number of other remedies. 

We will keep you updated on the status of this grievance as we work our way through the grievance and arbitration process as outlined in our collective bargaining agreement.

If you have questions, please talk to your Union Representative.


UNFI unprepared to negotiate over severance for laid off Teamsters

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UNFI/SuperValu negotiations committee is committed to protecting our members rights under their contract and under the Arbitrator's award.


UNFI arrived without their lead negotiator and unprepared to bargain with Teamsters Local 117 and Local 313 when they met with the Union on Thursday and Friday in Tukwila to discuss severance packages for Teamsters who are facing layoffs by the Company. As a result, the two-day negotiations session resulted in little progress.

In the last few weeks, more than 70 UNFI employees working at the Tacoma warehouse have been laid off with the remaining employees to be laid off over the next 30 days.

“UNFI is not interested in negotiating a quality severance package for the majority of our members and their families whose lives have been severely disrupted by the Company’s decision to relocate operations from Tacoma to Centralia,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We came ready to negotiate and we formally proposed to accept an offer the Company had made on October 1 without a single change – not even a comma – but the Company rejected their own proposal.”

The Union is consider filing additional charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over unlawful regressive bargaining tactics.

"UNFI is not interested in negotiating a reasonable severance package for the majority of our members."

UNFI is continuing to refuse to honor a neutral arbitrator’s decision to allow employees at the Company’s Tacoma warehouse to transfer to its Centralia facility with the same wages and terms and conditions that the Tacoma employees have been working under.

“Arbitrator Joseph Duffy ruled unequivocally for the Union in awarding full transfer rights to our members with the wages, benefits, and other protections,” Scearcy said. “His decision is legally sound and upholds contract language that the Company agreed to in negotiations. Not only did UNFI agree to the contract language enforced by Arbitrator Duffy, but it also agreed that arbitration decisions would be final and binding. We are confident that the courts will side with the Arbitrator and rule to make whole our members for any losses they may have incurred while they were unlawfully laid off.”

UNFI has a history of labor unrest with the Teamsters. In December 2012, members of Teamsters Local 117 employed at UNFI’s distribution center in Auburn entered into a 9-week strike over a number of alleged violations of federal labor law.

 


Tentative contract agreement reached with Safeway Dairy

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Shop Steward Andy Peterson served on the Union negotiations committee that achieved a settlement offer with Safeway Dairy.


Our Union negotiations committee has achieved a fully-recommended tentative agreement over a 3-year contract with Safeway Dairy/Ice Cream. Our Union team reached the agreement with Safeway in a negotiations session at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila on October 30 and 31.

A contract ratification vote will be held for Safeway Dairy Teamsters on Saturday, November 23 in Tukwila. The Union bargaining committee will unanimously recommend that the membership approve the settlement.

One of the central issues for the Union in negotiations was to ensure that the Company provided affordable health care benefits for retirees. Members voted unanimously to authorize a strike last month after the Company had refused to make an acceptable proposal on the issue.

"We appreciate the hard work of our Union negotiations team at having reached this tentative agreement," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "We are preparing the final contract documents and look forward to giving our members an opportunity to review and vote on the proposal."


Teamsters at the Safeway Dairy Plant Vote Unanimously to Authorize a Strike!

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Shop Steward Andy Peterson and his co-workers at the Safeway Dairy plant are ready to strike.


It's unanimous. Teamsters 117 members who work at the Safeway Dairy plant in Bellevue have voted to authorize a strike. Members took the strike authorization vote after a contract update meeting at our Teamsters Union hall in Tukwila on Sunday.

The vote comes after the employer made a number of substandard proposals in negotiations failing to recognize the hard work and sacrifices of their employees. Teamsters at the plant have worked hundreds of hours of overtime over the last year to help keep the facility operating and profitable.  

"A lot of people are really pissed off," said Matt Lewis, a 28-year employee and member of our union negotiations team. "We've all given so much to this company. We're here almost every weekend. A lot of us have doubled the number of hours we've worked.  We're giving everything we can to make sure this place is successful. And for management not to recognize that has been really hard on everybody."

"We're giving everything we can to make sure this place is successful."

One of the major sticking points in negotiations has been health care for retirees. Our members want to make sure retirees have access to affordable health care, while the company has been unwilling to provide it.

In the last negotiations session, the company admitted the reason for skimping on medical coverage for retirees: They don't want to provide decent benefits because they don't want to see their senior employees retire. This infuriated the union committee.

"It's a slap in the face," said Shop Steward Andy Petersen, who also serves on the Union negotiations committee. "A lot of guys are eligible to retire, but medical's a big part, and they can't afford it. If the company truly values their employees like they say they do, health care should be a top priority."

With negotiations scheduled for the end of the month, members are gearing up for a strike, if necessary.

"If the company isn't prepared to bargain an equitable contract, our members are ready to strike," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "These employees have made tremendous sacrifices to make sure the plant is profitable. The company needs to recognize that." 


Another win! PERC orders UW to cover paid family leave premium for officers

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Officer and Shop Steward Mark Hackett has worked on campus for over twelve years.


The Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) has ruled in favor of our Union in an Unfair Labor Practice case with the University of Washington involving paid family leave for UW police. 

During negotiations, the employer signed off on a tentative contract agreement that included a proposal to cover the complete paid family leave premium for Teamsters at the UW Police Department (UWPD). On the day of the contract ratification vote, the employer tried to renege on the proposal.

Our Union filed an Unfair Labor Practice arguing that the employer must uphold its end of the negotiated agreement. The case went to hearing in June, and we received the PERC examiner's decision this week.

In its order, PERC ruled that the employer had breached its "good faith bargaining obligations by refusing to honor agreements reached in bargaining." 

PERC is ordering the employer to cover the paid family leave premium for UWPD union members or "make an equivalent payment to bargaining unit employees." Employees will also be made whole for any premium contributions deducted from their pay that contradict the paid family leave article.

"It really shows how important it is having Teamsters as our union."

"It was important to keep them accountable because they were trying to go back on their word," said Officer Mike Miskell, in reacting to the PERC ruling. "Everybody at the UWPD really appreciates the hard work. Also with getting interest arbitration, it really shows how important it is having Teamsters as our union."

"Our members at the UWPD and across our union honor the terms and conditions of their contracts, and we expect employers to do the same," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "When an employer makes a commitment in negotiations, we will hold them accountable. This is an important victory for all Teamsters, and a testament to the outstanding work of our Union's legal team."

You can read the PERC examiner's complete ruling and order here.


DOC custody staff vote to expand uniform options

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The results of the recent vote are in regarding Article 36 – Uniforms, Tool, and Equipment for DOC custody staff who are members of Teamsters 117. The vote involved whether to modify Article 36 to grant custody members the ability to wear polo shirts as a DOC uniform option. 

The vote results are as follows:

  • 1280 - Yes (I Accept)
  • 73 - No (I Reject)

With this vote, custody members will now be able to wear polo shirts as a uniform option. As with other uniform options, polo shirts will be provided by the Department at no cost to custody staff. Under the agreement, members will retain the option to wear BDU-style shirts.

This concludes a long process of negotiations over the issue with the Department. Thank you to all of the members and staff on our DOC Uniform Committee who helped negotiated the agreement.

If you have questions, please contact your Union Representative or one of the members on the Uniform Committee:

  • Elizabeth Beaber, WCCW
  • Stephen Bolinger, CRCC
  • Lloyd Bookter, CBCC
  • Reginald Braswell, CCCC
  • Edwin Gonzalez, MCC
  • Angela Henneman, SCCC
  • Corey Schmidt, WSP
  • Gordon Sprague, MCCCW
  • Jami Todd, CRCC
  • Douglas Vincent, WCC

Teamsters keep beating UNFI - this time will be no different

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UNFI Teamsters in Tacoma protest the company's failure to make timely health and welfare and retirement payments to the Trust. 


UNFI can't get rid of the Teamsters. As many times as the anti-union company has tried, we’re still here to protect our members.

Since 2012, UNFI lost a strike and two major arbitrations to our union. UNFI keeps striking out.

This week, UNFI suffered a huge defeat in arbitration. An Arbitrator rightly held UNFI was obligated to abide by the contract language it negotiated. 

Rather than honor our contract and the Arbitrator’s final and binding decision however, UNFI announced that they would appeal to federal court and attempt to set aside the well-reasoned Arbitration Award.

Our contract states:

The processing, disposition and/or settlement by and between the Union and the Employer of any grievance or other matter shall be absolute and final and binding on the Union and its members, the employee(s) involved and the Employer. Likewise, as to hearings and the final decisions of a Board or Arbitrator.

But UNFI has demonstrated over and over that it does not honor its commitments in negotiations.

With many employers, we wouldn’t have even arbitrated this case. Our contract with UNFI gives members the right to transfer and retain their wages and benefits in the event that the employer moves operations within the jurisdiction of our Joint Council. It states: 

In the event that the Employer moves an existing facility to any location within the jurisdiction of Joint Council of Teamsters No. 28, as currently defined excluding current facilities under the jurisdiction of and the service area of Teamsters Local Union No. 690, the terms of this contract shall continue to apply with respect to the new facility. 

Seems pretty clear.  So when UNFI announced they would be shutting down their Tacoma warehouse and moving to a new facility in Centralia, the reasonable assumption was that the company would uphold its end of the bargain, as our Union and members have for decades.

Instead, UNFI ignored the contract and said the terms and conditions of the Tacoma agreement would not apply to our members who transferred to Centralia, and even denied our members the opportunity to transfer to Centralia, thus creating uncertainty for over 300 union members and their families. Thanks to the excellent work of our legal team, we were able to fight the company in arbitration and win. 

This is not the first time our union has won an important victory against UNFI.

In July, UNFI employees in Tacoma walked out of the facility after the company was delinquent on health care and retirement payments that the company had agreed to in negotiations. Teamsters did not return to work until the union confirmed that UNFI had made the payment.

In 2016, the company had to cough up 50k for its failure to appropriately compensate employees who had worked in excess of 40 hours a week.

These victories can be attributed to a unified membership, strong contracts, and strong leadership. Under the direction of John Scearcy and Tracey Thompson before him, Local 117 has fought the anti-worker practices of UNFI, and we have have won.

This time will be no different. We will take on UNFI and we will win.

 


DOC Holiday Meetings 2019

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Join us for our 2019 Holiday Membership Meetings to discuss and sign up for Teamsters Lobby Day in February.

View the days, times, and facilities for our union holiday meetings below. To RSVP, click on your facility below.

INSTITUTION DAY DATE TIMES
AHCC Thursday November 21 0600, 0700, 1100, 1230, 1330, 1600
CBCC Thursday November 21 0530, 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100
CCCC Wednesday November 13 1100, 1300, 1420, 2100
CI HQ Friday December 13 0700, 1400
CRCC Tuesday November 19 0530, 0630, 0715, 1100, 1230, 1330, 1600
DOC HQ Wednesday December 11 0900-1300
LCC Thursday November 14 1100, 1300, 1420, 2100
Maple Lane Pharmacy Wednesday December 9 1100, 1200
MCC Tuesday December 17 0630, 0915, 1130, 1430, 1630
MCCCW Monday December 9 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100
MICC Wednesday November 20 1030
OCC Wednesday November 20 1130, 1300, 1410, 2200
SCCC Monday December 16 1130, 1300, 1415, 1630, 2100
SWRBO Wednesday December 18 1200
WCC Monday December 16 1100, 1300, 1420, 2100
WCCW Tuesday December 10 0620, 1130, 1300,1410, 1500
WSP Wednesday November 13 0530, 0630, 0715, 1130, 1300, 1430, 1630

 


Arbitrator rules in favor of Teamsters in UNFI relocation case

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UNFI Teamsters in Tacoma protest the company's failure to make timely health and welfare and retirement payments to the Trust. 


Teamsters at UNFI’s warehouse in Tacoma celebrated yesterday after an arbitrator ruled that union members shall be allowed to transfer to Centralia under the same terms and conditions that they have in Tacoma. The arbitrator also awarded transfer rights and back pay to any employees who are facing layoffs, which are scheduled to start at the facility later this week.

“I’m prouder to be a Teamster now than I’ve ever been in 30 years,” said Greg Wiest, a shop steward and forklift driver at the facility. “This is not only big for us, but it’s big for the entire labor movement. The talk in the warehouse since the decision is that a lot of us will be going down to Centralia. We’re pretty excited – morale’s way up today. Now we know that we have a job.”

"I’m prouder to be a Teamster now than I’ve ever been in 30 years."

Earlier in the year, UNFI announced that it would be shutting down the Tacoma warehouse and moving operations to a new facility in Centralia. The union filed a grievance after UNFI refused to honor clear contract language that laid out the terms and conditions of the move. The contract states: “…all employees working under the terms of this agreement at the old facility shall be afforded the opportunity to work at the new facility under the same terms and conditions and without any loss of seniority or other contractual rights or benefits.”


Massachusetts Teamsters on strike at Republic Services extend picket lines to Seattle

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Teamsters from Local 25 in Massachusetts on strike at Republic Services have extended picket lines to multiple locations across the Puget Sound region. Our members who work at Republic are standing in solidarity with the striking workers and honoring their picket line.

Read more from our Teamsters International Union below:

Massachusetts Teamsters on strike at Republic Services extend picket lines to Seattle

Sanitation workers on strike at Republic Services in Marshfield, Mass., extended their picket line to Seattle this morning. Approximately 250 Republic Services/Allied Waste workers throughout the Puget Sound area—members of Teamsters Local 38, Local 117, Local 174 and Local 763—exercised their right to honor the picket line.

The striking workers, members of Teamsters Local 25 in Boston, began their strike on August 29 after Republic refused to agree to a contract with a livable wage and affordable health care. On average, the striking sanitation workers are paid 40 percent below what it takes to make a living wage in Massachusetts for a family with one adult and one child, according to the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator. 

“Republic Services set a record last year with almost $3 billion in profits,” said striking Republic employee Bernie Egan-Mullen. “But instead of providing safe working conditions and industry-standard health care and retirement plans, the company is using its record profits to pay out huge salaries to its executives and huge dividends to its shareholders.” 

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is Republic Services’ biggest shareholder. His personal investment manager, Michael Larson, sits on Republic’s Board of Directors. 

“That’s why we’re here in Seattle,” Egan-Mullen said. “Bill Gates gets over $100 million in stock dividends alone from Republic each year, yet meanwhile we are on the picket line for a living wage. “Sanitation work is the fifth-most dangerous job in America. Sanitation workers are two times as likely to die on the job as police officers and nearly seven times more likely to die on the job than firefighters,” said Sean O’Brien, President of Teamsters Local 25 and Teamsters International Vice President.

“This company has forced quite a few strikes in cities across  America over the past few years, when it has violated federal labor laws and has refused to address conditions of inequality and unsafe conditions.” 

The Teamsters represent over 7,000 Republic Services workers across the country. Recently, hundreds of Republic sanitation workers in Northern and Southern California represented by Teamsters Local 350 and 396 voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike against the company. 

Last month, Republic sanitation workers represented by Teamsters Local 728 went on strike in Cumming, Georgia, to protest the company's violations of federal laws that protect workers' rights. 

Recent calculations show that workers in 10 cities with a combined population of over 1 million residents are currently in contract negotiations with Republic Services, and that Teamsters in 31 cities with a combined population of over 6 million residents have the right to honor picket lines. 

Media Contact:
Sean Martin
617-756-7474  

 


Uber and Lyft drivers speak out in support of 'Fare Share' priorities

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At a press conference at City Hall on Wednesday, Uber and Lyft drivers urged the Seattle City Council to support their ‘Fare Share’ priorities to establish a minimum pay standard with driver input, combat unwarranted deactivations, and fund driver support services and other community investments through a 51 cent tax on the ride-hail giants.

At the event, drivers shared stories of how declining pay, a lack of basic labor protections, and sudden deactivation without recourse has impacted their livelihoods.  

“Since I started driving for Uber, my pay has been cut in half," said Sukhchain Banwait who started driving for Uber in 2013. "But while driver pay has gone down, Uber charges my customers more and more and pockets the difference. I'm glad the City is looking at establishing a fair minimum pay standard to stop the race to the bottom in driver pay." 

"I'm glad the City is looking at establishing a fair minimum pay standard to stop the race to the bottom in driver pay."

According to the Federal Reserve, 58% of gig economy workers cannot afford a $400 emergency expense. This means that thousands of drivers in Seattle are one vehicle repair away from an economic crisis. Drivers are especially vulnerable when they can be wrongly terminated by Uber and Lyft without recourse.

“Many drivers are suffering from unfair deactivations, leaving us with expensive car payments but without income to support our families,” said Mohamed Aria, one of the first Uber drivers in Seattle.  “Drivers are the ones who built this business, and we deserve to be treated fairly.”

Speaking in support of the drivers’ priorities, City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda highlighted the need for an impartial process for drivers to appeal unfair deactivations. “I’ve heard from countless drivers who have been unjustly deactivated,” Councilmember Mosqueda said. "When you have a job, particularly a job that requires tens of thousands of dollars of investment, asking for a fair process for adjudicating deactivations is a necessary first step.”


DOC Custody Staff: Vote to expand DOC uniform options!

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VOTING IS NOW OPEN FOR DOC CUSTODY STAFF TO EXPAND UNIFORM OPTIONS!

After long, challenging negotiations, our union's uniform committee, consisting of union staff and rank-and-file members from DOC facilities across the state, has bargained a tentative agreement to expand available options with respect to your DOC uniforms.

If approved by Teamsters 117 members who are custody staff, the negotiated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) would grant those members the ability to wear polo shirts as a DOC uniform option. Polo shirts, as with other uniform options, would be provided by the Department at no cost to custody staff. Under the agreement, members would retain the option to wear BDU-style shirts.

VOTE HERE!

Since this would constitute a change to Article 36, Uniforms, Tools, and Equipment, of our 2019-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement, custody members who are required to wear uniforms at work will have an opportunity to vote on the agreement.

You must be a member of Teamsters 117 in order to vote. If you are not a member and would like to vote on this change, please complete the online membership application here and submit it by September 30.

Voting will take place online and by telephone from September 30, 2019 at 8 a.m. through Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 5 p.m. View voting documents and instructions below:

Thank you to the members below who worked incredibly hard to achieve expanded uniform options for custody staff at the DOC. If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to one of the members on the committee or your Union Representative.

  • Elizabeth Beaber, WCCW
  • Stephen Bolinger, CRCC
  • Lloyd Bookter, CBCC
  • Reginald Braswell, CCCC
  • Edwin Gonzalez, MCC
  • Angela Henneman, SCCC
  • Corey Schmidt, WSP
  • Gordon Sprague, MCCCW
  • Jami Todd, CRCC
  • Douglas Vincent, WCC

Thank you for your service. Please stay safe.