When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

Humane Society Teamsters Vote Yes and Merge Under New Contract

HS_Certificates.jpg

Teamsters of Humane Society bargaining team recognized at Teamsters membership meeting .


An estimated 10 million dogs are lost every year. When brought into shelters, they frequently exhibit aggressive and defensive behaviors. It is up to shelter employees like kennel aide Alexander Yeatman to care for them and put them at ease. At the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County, Yeatman does the dangerous and dirty labor of cleaning the kennels, yet he wouldn’t trade his job for any other.

When the animals come in, apprehensive and sometimes injured, it is his passion to help them get their confidence back, gain healthy weight, and show their true characters. Yet the management can too easily dismiss Alex’s voice and assessment in observing the animals. “Pets score on a behavioral test a certain way when they come in, but they behave very differently once they get accustomed to the kennel. I need my voice to be heard so that I can advocate for the animals I care for,” he said.

"Now we are able to speak up for the animals and get the equipment we need to provide adequate care. We are not afraid of retaliation anymore."

Last year, Alex decided to change that. He played an essential role in organizing the kennel aides, and now he is a shop steward and a Teamster. “It used to be like walking on eggshells, so by unionizing I wanted us to be recognized as a vital part of the organization. We’re not just poop picker-uppers. I wanted to show the employer that this position should be valued,” stated Alex.


Another win as Teamsters at Sysco overwhelmingly ratify new contract

Bargaining_team-sysco.jpg

Our union bargaining team meets at the Tukwila hall during contract negotiations with Sysco.


Great news for Teamsters in the food service industry! This weekend our members at Sysco voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new 3-year contract. The agreement provides annual wage increases, retirement security, and affordable health care for over 200 Local 117 members and their families.

“Our negotiations committee worked incredibly hard to achieve this agreement,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117 and the lead negotiator for the union. “Together with last year’s contract at US Foods, this agreement sets the standard for food service contracts across the country.”

Getting to a deal was far from easy. Sysco is a massive multinational food service conglomerate, the largest broadline food distributor in the world. The company has made life difficult for Teamsters in other parts of the country.  

Earlier this year, Local 117 members showed solidarity with Teamsters in Oklahoma where the company fired several shop stewards. In Missouri, Sysco employees established an unfair labor practice picket line at the end of 2017 to protest alleged violations of federal labor law.

Here in the Northwest, the group’s unity and resolve helped beat back proposed concessions at the bargaining table. The group sent a powerful message to the company when they voted unanimously to authorize a strike several weeks ago.

“We went into these negotiations with clear goals and expectations,” said Rowan Griffin, a shop steward on our union bargaining team.  “John Scearcy’s skills as a negotiator are undeniable. We are lucky to have such strong leadership in our union.”

"We were successful because we have strong leadership and solid member participation."

Will Buff, a rank-and-file veteran of several Sysco negotiations, reiterated that point. “We were successful because we have strong leadership and solid member participation. There was trust between our negotiations team and our union’s leadership like never before.”

“Our members take pride in their work and know their value,” Scearcy said. “They stuck together and fought to win a contract that reflects the important service they provide to families who rely on meals at hospitals, schools, daycare centers, and nursing homes across our region.”


Members glean valuable information from Teamsters pension training

PEnsion-banner.jpg

Union officials, representatives, and members from around the West gathered to learn more about the power of the Teamsters pension plan.


It’s one of the most secure, well-funded defined benefit pension plans in the country. The Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Plan, commonly known as the Teamsters pension, provides retirement security to over 200,000 active participants in 13 Western states.

Last week, representatives of the pension, including plan trustees, provided a day-long training for Local Union officers, representatives, and rank-and-file leaders from across the West. The goal was to familiarize the group with resources, better assist members, and succeed in negotiations.

The agenda delved into the history of the plan, an overview of the plan’s website, field support, effective bargaining techniques, and the advantages of the plan as compared to a 401(k).

Matt Collins, a shop steward at Fred Meyer, was one of the Local 117 members in attendance. “I was able to get critical information about the pension that will help me better serve my fellow Teamster brothers and sisters,” he said.

"I was able to get critical information about the pension that I can take back to the shop floor..."

Another member who joined in was Anthony McKinney, a shop steward at SuperValu. McKinney, together with fellow bargaining committee members, just finished negotiating pension increases in their contract.

“It’s important to get information out to the younger generation,” he said. “There is an information gap with people who only see the now-factor of life and may not be thinking about the future of their families. I will bring this back to my facility and become an advocate to make sure that all of us fully understand how important it is to keep the pension rates going up from contract to contract.”

James Borsum, who joined our Local's rep staff last year, said he was grateful for the training as well: “I get a lot of questions on the shop floor about how our pension compares with other pension plans. Fortunately, I can report back to our members that our pension is in great shape and what we need to do to keep it strong for the future.”

The Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Plan is managed by a Board of Trustees and administered by Northwest Administrators. If you want information about your estimated benefit under the plan, you can set up a personal pension appointment by calling Diana McDowell at 206-441-7470. To set up a pension meeting for you and your co-workers, talk to your union representative.


Arbitrator awards DOC Teamsters significant bump in pay

IA-Update---banner.jpg

SEE COMPLETE CONTRACT SUMMARY DOCUMENT INCLUDING RAISES FOR ALL CLASSIFICATIONS HERE

This afternoon Arbitrator Joseph Duffy sent us his interest arbitration award outlining DOC Teamsters compensation for the 2019-2021 biennium. The award contains significant pay increases for all members of the bargaining unit.

According to the award, all Teamster correctional employees will receive no less than an 8% general wage increase over the next two years. The award calls for a general increase of 4% effective July 1, 2019 and a 4% increase effective July 1, 2020 for all classifications.

In addition, the arbitrator has awarded the following range increases:

CLASSIFICATION CURRENT RANGE NEW RANGE
Warehouse Operator 1 29G 31G
Warehouse Operator 2 32G 34G
Warehouse Operator 3 36G 38G
Warehouse Operator 4 40G 42G
Ferry Operator Assistant 37E 39E
Ferry Operator 45E 47E
Corrections and Custody Officer 4 51 56
Corrections Mental Health Counselor 2 49 52
Corrections Mental Health Counselor 3 51 54
Sex Offender Treatment Specialist 55 57
Sex Offender Treatment Supervisor 59 61
Health Records Technician 1   44
Health Records Technician 2   49
Corrections Specialist Assistant   39
Corrections Specialist 4   61
Physician Assistant Certified – Lead   76N
Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner – Lead 74N 78N
Data Consultant 3   52
Corrections and Custody Officer 2 43 44
Corrections and Custody Officer 3 48 50
Classification Counselor 3 49 50
Fiscal Anaylst 4 52 54

 

Additionally:

  • Shift Premium for Nurses will now include CNA and MA classifications and is increased from $1.50 per hour to $2.50 per hour;
  • Standby pay for overtime exempt Physician Assistant/Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant Certified/Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Lead, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychiatric Social Worker 3 or 4, Psychiatrist 4, Psychologist 3 or 4, or Psychology Associate increases from $50/day to $100/day and for all other overtime exempt from $25/day to $50/day;
  • When a CDL certification, license, and physical exam are required for a chain bus position, the employer will reimburse the cost of the initial certification, license, and physical exam up to $3,800 when the employee successfully bids into a chain bus position. All renewal costs will be the responsibility of the employee;
  • Honor guard will receive assignment pay on an hour for hour basis for every hour worked during an authorized team related assignment or training. The assignment pay is basic salary plus two (2) ranges and will be paid to trained and qualified employees who are assigned members of the Honor Guard.

With the arbitrator's award, we see once again the immense power of having interest arbitration in our contract. The arbitrator awarded double what the State’s final offer was in contract negotiations. For many classifications, it will be significantly higher than that.

Assuming the Office of Financial Management (OFM) deems the award financially feasible, it will be included in the Governor’s budget. At that point, the legislature must decide whether or not to fund our contract.

Getting our DOC contract funded will take members across the state talking to their representatives in Olympia about the challenges you face every day to keep the public safe. Your participation in next year's Teamsters Lobby Day will be crucial. We will be sending out details about the event soon.

Thank you to our incredible union committee that worked so hard during contract negotiations. They deserve enormous praise for their fortitude, hard work, and professionalism.

You can view the arbitrator’s complete award here.

Thank you for your service to our communities. Please stay safe.


New round of negotiations set to kick off at the City of Seattle

Jcc-negotiations---banner2.jpg

Members of our Coalition of Unions at the City of Seattle line up in council chambers in a show of unity for coalition members. 


Our coalition of unions for the City of Seattle met at Seattle City Hall on Thursday to begin the process of negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement for 2019-2021 for Local 117 members covered under our Joint Crafts Council agreement.

In this preliminary meeting, we established ground rules and set precedents on how to organize the negotiations. The day was also marked by a solidarity action in support of a number of unions in the coalition. Our negotiations team unanimously elected to use caucus time to fill council chambers as a show of unity.

We expect to begin exchanging proposals with the City in our first official bargaining session on October 3. Negotiations are scheduled to be held every other Wednesday thereafter.

Ultimately our goal in these negotiations is to make improvements to the contract that will impact the largest number of coalition members on the highest priority items that were identified in contract surveys and at demands meetings.

Teamsters Local 117 is one of approximately twenty unions in the Coalition. Representing you at the bargaining table will be Local 117 Union Representatives Taylor House and Pat Silvernale together with Shop Stewards Monica Haugen of Seattle Parks and Recreation and Kyle Christianson of Seattle City Light.

We will have additional updates for you as negotiations progress. Please check your email and if you have questions, talk to your Shop Steward or Union Representative.


Teamsters rally behind Local 117 Shop Steward, Van Huynh

Van-banner.jpg

Van's co-workers at Swire Coca Cola show their support. 


Inside the Coke warehouse, everyone knows Van Huynh. Van is an outstanding shop steward who does not tolerate any injustice towards his co-workers.

But Van is more than that. He is a survivor of Viet Cong atrocities. When his family immigrated to the U.S., he dealt with debilitating disease, the loss of his sister, and poverty. Working hard despite all odds, Van provided for his family, including a handicapped parent, and today his kids are on the way to college. Van is the stuff American dreams are made of.

Evidently this means nothing to Van’s employer. Earlier this month, Swire Coca-Cola, forced him to accept what they are deceptively calling a “voluntary resignation.” Instead of granting him a leave of absence as Van had requested, the company took advantage of long immigration backlogs to terminate him.

We-Huynh.pngA representative of the Department of Justice (DOJ) contacted Coke management to inform them that the termination was unnecessary. Nevertheless, Coke ignored the advice of the DOJ and moved ahead with the “voluntary resignation.”

Early this morning, Van’s co-workers at Swire Coca-Cola wore solidarity stickers and signed a petition in support of the eight-year Local 117 member.

In the petition, members are demanding that Coke grant Van an immediate leave of absence so that he can return to work as soon as his paperwork is processed. The petition goes on to say:

We believe that Swire Coca-Cola should value employees like Van for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to the company. We are also concerned that Swire Coca-Cola may be retaliating against Van for his involvement in the Union.

We strongly condemn any retaliation by Swire Coca-Cola that may be targeting Van or any other union member for involvement in protected, concerted union activities.

Van has been a Shop Steward for two years and has worked aggressively to enforce our contract at Coke and protect members’ rights under the contract. He is also a graduate of our Teamster Leadership Academy and authored a powerful story about how the union has positively impacted his life.

“Van is an inspiration to members across our union,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We will fight to protect his rights under the contract and under the law and will hold Coke accountable for retaliation of any kind for Van's involvement in the union.”


Teamsters stand with farm workers fighting for justice

Darigold_banner.jpg

Teamsters Local 117 is demanding justice for dairy workers who are facing harassment, retaliation, and other abuses on the farms that supply Darigold milk. Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy, will join farm workers and elected, community, faith, and labor leaders to speak out in support of the workers, who will begin a 5-day reconciliation fast starting on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Darigold Dozen and called on Darigold to take immediate steps to improve working conditions at Darigold-member dairies.

“We applaud the City Council for taking action in support of dairy workers,” Scearcy said. “Workers have the right to a safe workplace free from harassment and discrimination no matter if they work on the farms, in the stores, or in the plants that process Darigold milk.”

Teamsters Local 117 represents 250 production workers at Darigold’s processing plants in Seattle and Issaquah. Workers at the Issaquah plant make butter, sour cream, and cottage cheese, while workers in Seattle process hundreds of thousands of gallons of milk every year, supplying Costco, Walmart, and other grocery stores throughout the Pacific Northwest.


Teamster women building power across our union

Check out our amazing team that attended the Teamster Women's Conference this week in Orlando!

Women's-conference.jpg


State employee health care agreement - VOTE YES!

health-care-hero_vote-yes.jpg

Our Coalition of Unions has achieved a tentative agreement with the State on your health care benefits for the 2019-2021 biennium.

The agreement maintains the status quo on your premium share from the previous biennium. Your employer will continue to contribute 85% of the total weighted average of the premium, while members will contribute 15%. The agreement also provides some relief for those making less than $50,004 per year in the form of a flexible spending account (FSA) paid for by the employer. You can view the details here.

Our Coalition of State Employee Unions recommends that you vote yes. You can vote online here. 

We will be conducting a vote by Internet/Telephone for all state employee bargaining units covered under the agreement. Voting is being conducted two ways:  (1) by telephone or (2) through the internet.  You may only vote by one (1) method. The telephonic and online internet polls open at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, and close at 5:00 PM on Friday, September 28, 2018.

To Vote By Phone:      

  1. Dial:  1-888-349-7030
  2. Enter your PIN (Department of Corrections members use your Employee ID Number, for all other members use your Teamsters 117 member ID Number).

To Vote By Internet:    

  1. Go to:  www.electionadmin.com/1111802.aspx
  2. Enter your PIN (Department of Corrections members use your Employee ID Number, for all other members use your Teamsters 117 member ID Number).

If you cannot find your Department of Corrections Employee ID number or Teamsters 117 member ID Number, please contact the office at 1-888-872-3489 between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Only active members have the right to vote.  Religious objectors and non-members are not eligible to vote. If you have questions about this vote and the changes proposed, please talk to your Local Union Representative. 


State coalition of unions achieves tentative agreement on health care

We have some good news to report on health care for state employees. Our Coalition of Unions has achieved a tentative agreement with the State on your benefits for the 2019-2021 biennium.

The agreement maintains the status quo on your premium share from the previous biennium. Your employer will continue to contribute 85% of the total weighted average of the premium, while members will contribute 15%.

The agreement also provides some relief for those making less than $50,004 per year in the form of a flexible spending account (FSA) paid for by the employer. You can view the details here.

We will be conducting a vote by Internet/Telephone for all state employee bargaining units covered under the agreement. Voting instructions will be sent to you by mail. Watch your email over the next few days for more information.  

Our Coalition of State Employee Unions recommends that you vote yes. If ratified, this agreement on health care will be incorporated into your collective bargaining agreement as required under state law.

Thank you for your service to our communities.


Stand strong! Gear up at our new online store

Stand-strong!.jpg

Stand strong, Teamsters! Gear up with Local 117 swag and merchandise at our union's new online store.

Some of the items for purchase include:

You can have the gear delivered to your door or pick it up at the hall. Talk to your union rep about in-person delivery. So wear your union colors! Show your Teamsters pride in the workplace and around town. Be union strong!

You can access our online store here.


Help young people find a union career path

youth-insights_(1).jpg

The City of Seattle is hosting a series of workshops to help young people identify economic opportunities.

Come share your story about how having a Teamsters job has contributed to your economic well-being. Too often young people do not fully grasp the value of unions and as Teamsters, it's our job to educate them!

Here is the description of the event from the City's website: 

We are now hosting several public events in mid-September to share the stories we heard and for you to contribute your ideas on ways that the City of Seattle can better serve our young people.

These events will be interactive and fun! If you are a young person or have a young person in your life that you care about – we want to hear from you!

Join us to:

* Share your career journey
* Cultivate a deeper understanding about youth and young adult experiences
* Learn about and use human-centered design to move from insights to opportunities

Let’s harness our collective wisdom to facilitate creative breakthroughs that will result in a set of ideas that will make a difference for Seattle’s residents. No previous design or innovation experience is required. All you need is an optimistic mindset.

These are drop-in events. Refreshments will be provided. For more info and to RSVP, visit the City's website.


Teamster sharpshooters take aim at hunger

Sharpshooters.jpg

Teamsters fighting hunger (from l to r): Matthew House, Mark Hackett, Chris Ellrodt, Roger Gale, and Jed Slagter. 


A group of sharpshooters from two Teamster police departments joined forces last month to take aim at hunger. Officers from the City of Pacific and the University of Washington along and their union representative, Matthew House, teamed up for the Emergency Food Network’s annual Breaking Hunger Trap Shooting and Archery Tournament.

The contest, held at the Gig Harbor Sportsmen’s Club on August 10, raised over $16 thousand dollars to help feed hungry families in Pierce County. “This was my first time,” said Sergeant Jed Slagter, who heard about the event from a fellow officer. “It was for a good cause, well organized, and a lot of fun.”

"It was for a good cause, well organized, and a lot of fun."

Slagter, who’s been on the force at the City of Pacific Police Department for five years, talked about the importance of his union giving back to the community. “It’s great for Teamsters to participate in these kinds of charitable events,” he said.

Our union’s Executive Board covered the team’s registration fee. All proceeds from the event go to benefit the Emergency Food Network.

Thank you to our members from the Teamsters Law Enforcement & Corrections Division who participated in the tournament:

  • Jed Slagter, City of Pacific Police Dept.
  • Roger Gale, City of Pacific Police Dept.
  • Chris Ellrodt, University of Washington Police Dept.
  • Mark Hackett, University of Washington Police Dept.

The Pierce County emergency food system includes 67 food banks providing over 15 million meals annually to over a hundred thousand families in need. Teamsters Local 117 is a generous supporter of EFN and has participated in a number of volunteer events to benefit the organization.


King County coalition of unions reaches tentative agreement in total comp negotiations

Total-comp.jpg

Late yesterday afternoon our King County Coalition of Union bargaining members unanimously recommended moving forward a tentative agreement on economics.

This includes the landslide victory of a 4% general wage increase for 2019 and a total of 3% general wage increase for 2020 plus a $500 bonus only offered to Coalition Union members.

It also includes enhancements to insurance such as a full reinstatement of retiree benefits, long-term disability paid for by the County, an added voluntary short-term disability plan and increased benefits for vision coverage. This means an increase to wages of 10.25% (plus a $500 bonus) over a three-year span.

Our Union Coalition and its member representatives have been negotiating with the County for months and are pleased to come to this tentative deal. We still have individual contract negotiations before the agreement is finalized and ready to vote, but we will keep you updated with more information to come.

We appreciate the many hours of negotiations, work and advocacy the entire bargaining team put into these negotiations and are confident that it will be a competitive package for our members.

More details to come as they materialize, but we are very excited to announce this excellent news.


Union presents powerful closing argument as DOC interest arbitration hearing draws to a close

IA-Update---banner.jpg

Today our union’s legal team presented a powerful closing statement before the arbitrator as we concluded our case for higher compensation for DOC Teamsters in our 2019-2021 contract.

Our union’s number one priority is a general wage increase for all bargaining unit members that recognizes the challenging and dangerous nature of your work and the critical public safety service you provide to communities across Washington State.

Our case is built on compelling testimony from members who spoke during the arbitration of threats to their families, assaults against staff, high turnover, crushing overtime, and other safety-related concerns that make working inside a prison in our state unique.

In closing, our union attorney summarized our argument:

“The Department, the State, and its citizens benefit every hour of every day that its correctional workers put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of the Department and the public at large, and it cannot continue to be the case that these employees continue to internalize some portion of the cost of the work by being undercompensated.”

Our case is also built on persuasive comparable data presented by a financial expert witness retained by the union. Our witness testified that compensation for Washington State corrections employees is not commensurate with corrections workers in similarly-sized states, counties, and jurisdictions.

The employer tried to dismiss our data at the county level, stating that the DOC is not losing large numbers of employees to the counties. We vigorously contested that position. No matter how you slice the data, members of the bargaining unit are significantly undercompensated. Even the State admitted that your compensation falls well below the comparators.

Still, throughout the hearing, the State clung to its final economic proposal in negotiations. The State’s attorney testified in her closing argument that a general wage increase of 2% in year one and 2% in year two of the contract is “fair and reasonable.” This proposal is grossly inadequate and would not even keep pace with the cost of living. It’s no surprise that the State’s proposal was rejected by 99% of members participating in our recent contract vote.

In contrast, our union's final protected position going into arbitration was an across-the-board general wage increase of 8.5% in year one and 8.5% in year two of the contract, plus a 3.6% cost-of-living increase in each year of the contract. Our position was based on comparable data researched by our financial experts and the current consumer price index.

Our case also showed how profound recruitment and retention difficulties at the Department adversely impact morale, safety, and lead to inordinate amounts of overtime. We presented evidence that the Department has an astounding 8% vacancy rate in CO2 positions alone. In their closing, the State continued to downplay recruitment and retention as a problem.

The arbitrator must issue his decision by no later than October 1 and has indicated that we can expect it to come as early as September 26. As soon as we receive the award, we will publish it on our union’s website with a summary and our analysis. Thank you to the members who took time away from their families to testify during arbitration. Their testimony about the challenges of working in Washington State prisons makes our case for higher wages genuine, compelling, and strong.