When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

Teamsters 117 nominated for eight labor awards, including best overall union


Our union is up for the Oscars! Local 117 has received eight nominations for recognition by the Martin Luther King Central Labor Council, including Best Overall Union and our Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy, nominated for Best Principal Officer.

The MLKCLC will present the labor "Oscar" awards this Saturday at its 130th anniversary celebration.

Recognition will go to unions that are making the greatest impact on the lives of their members and of working families across the Pacific Northwest.

Teamsters 117 has been nominated for outstanding achievement in the following categories:

"We are excited and grateful to be recognized by the MLKCLC through this nomination process," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "Our member leaders and staff work incredibly hard to fight to improve conditions for workers and make a positive impact on our communities."

If you are interested in attending the MLKCLC labor Oscars event, tickets are $50 and seats are still available. Click here for more information.

DOC contract surveys due on February 23

Contract surveys for upcoming negotiations over our 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections are due on Friday, February 23. 

If you haven't done so already, please fill out your survey and deposit it in the designated dropbox at your facility. 

Dropboxes can be found at the following locations

  • AHCC/Main - Public Access
  • AHCC/MSU - C3 Entrance
  • CBCC - Public Access
  • CCCC - Control Break Room
  • CI HQ - See Nathan Glass
  • CRCC MSC Mailboxes/MSU Mailboxes
  • DOC HQ - See Rebecca Bologna desk
  • LCC - Control Break Room
  • Maple Lane Pharmacy - Lunch room
  • MCC/TRU – Next to Main Control
  • MCC/MSU, WSRU, SOU – Public Access
  • MCCCW - Public access
  • MICC - Boat dock on the Island side
  • OCC - See Pam Olekas in Records
  • SCCC - D-Building Break Room
  • SWRBO - See Andrew Guardia
  • WCC - Public Access, under union board
  • WCCW - Public access/shift office
  • WSP WC Mailboxes/EC Mailboxes

You can also give your completed survey to your Shop Steward or Union Representative.

If you did not receive a survey in the mail, please contact your Shop Steward first, and if necessary, your Union Representative.

Filling out your contract survey is important. The survey gives you an opportunity to prioritize issues and voice your concerns. Your bargaining team will be using the survey results to develop proposals based on your feedback for upcoming contract negotiations.

Be sure to make your voice heard!

Paid Sick Leave: Stay Home When You’re Sick


Arnold Hewitt works at Auburn Dairy in shipping and receiving. He’s been a Teamster for over 2 decades. Last month, like many Washingtonians during the rainy January, Arnold caught the flu and fell seriously ill. Flu and working in an environment with open dairy products don’t mix so well, so taking a sick day seemed like the obvious choice. However, it wasn’t that simple.

Scholarships available for kids of Local 117 members


Have a kid or grandkid who needs money to further their education? The General Teamsters Retiree Club is now accepting applications for its 2018 scholarship.

The scholarship is open to the sons, daughters, step-children and grandchildren of members of Teamster Locals #38, #66, #117, #174, #227, or #763. There are no restrictions placed on a course of study.

The deadline for submitting applications for this year's scholarship is July 6, 2018

Lobby Day 2018: A great day for Teamsters in Olympia


Members of Teamsters 117 gather on the steps of the state capitol in Olympia for a Lobby Day rally.

It was an impressive sight - hundreds of Teamsters and their family members gathered on the steps of the legislative building in Olympia for our 2018 lobby day.

Bright yellow scarves with horseheads draped across members’ shoulders. Many held signs that read Honor Our Public Servants and Public Service, Public Safety.

Michelle Woodrow, our union’s president addressed the crowd: “Thank you for your outstanding service and for keeping our communities safe.” View photos from the event here.

Just a short time earlier, Local 117 members had clustered outside the doors of the Senate and House chambers requesting meetings with their legislators.

With a cutoff to pass bills looming, conversations had to be short and direct.

“We just met with Senator Sheldon,” said Sergeant Larry Reeves of the Washington Corrections Center. “He said he would be more than happy to support a bipartisan effort to see if we can get our staffing model audit funded.”

“This is wonderful,” said Fran Deel, a nurse at the Airway Heights Corrections Center who brought her three grandchildren to the event. “I’m here to make sure our rights are represented and to make sure our union has the power to negotiate.”

In addition to calling for an audit of DOC staffing levels, we urged legislators to pass bills that protect the privacy of public employees and give us a better opportunity to welcome new employees into the union. 

The day’s activities culminated with a rally on the capitol steps.  Newly-elected Teamster councilmember of the City of Burien, Pedro Olguin, fired up the group with a series of chants.

"We are the union. You are the union. We need to take the bull by the horns to fight off these attacks together."

Michelle Woodrow introduced the speakers starting with Representative Roger Goodman, the chair of the House Public Safety Committee. He was followed by three members: Officers Alfredo Cruz, Debra Gordon and Gerry Pinero.

Pinero, who made the trip to Olympia with his wife Angelic, talked about Teamster pride and the need to defend our union. “I started with the Teamsters in 1974 and have always been treated well by the Teamster family fighting for better benefits, better conditions, and better pay.”

“But senior Teamster staff can’t do it alone,” he said. “We are the union. You are the union. We need to take the bull by the horns to fight off these attacks together.”

John Scearcy, our union’s secretary-treasurer, echoed Pinero’s call for unity.  “When we stand together, we’re stronger. When we talk about our core values and find out where we align, we can move an agenda. This lobby day is a perfect example of us showing that when we’re committed to each other, we are strong and our voices will be heard.”


A lifeline for our corrections & law enforcement members


Our friends at Safe Call Now have sent over information about an important service available to members of Teamsters Local 117 working in the corrections and law enforcement field. 

The Institute for Responder Wellness 877-597-1136 have dedicated their lives to the health & wellness of first responders. They provide critical services to public safety employees struggling with issues that impact their personal and professional lives.

In an email asking us to promote the service, they write:

It is estimated that 20-35% of all First Responders struggle with PTSD and other mental and behavioral health issues. After seeing many responders fall victim to these statistics, we decided we couldn’t sit back and watch on the sidelines any longer. We’re happy to say that we created a program for first responders and these problems.

The Institute for Responder Wellness has established a comprehensive trauma based program specifically tailored to first responders and their family members with behavioral and mental health issues.

"Building partnerships and connecting our members to important resources is an important priority of our union," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "I hope members will make use of this service and seek assistance when needed."

For more information, please call 877-597-1136 or visit the Institute for Responder Wellness Facebook page.

With court case looming, MCC Teamsters are committing to each other


Members at the Monroe Correctional Complex gather at a union meeting last December to discuss keeping the union strong in an open shop environment.

Changes are coming in the public sector, and Teamsters across our union are getting ready.

The U.S. Supreme Court will be ruling on a case this spring that will almost certainly eliminate the freedom of public employees to negotiate union security clauses in their contracts. 

That means people will be able to abandon their union membership, but continue to receive all of the benefits without having to pay their fair share.

Teamsters across our union are pushing back. Members are talking to members about the importance of continuing to have a strong union in an open shop environment. Thousands of members have signed cards committing to each other and their union.

As Teamsters, we refuse to allow wealthy special interests like the so-called "Freedom" Foundation to defund our union and weaken our ability to stand together and negotiate strong contracts.

At the Monroe Correctional Complex, member leaders and staff are in the midst of a three-day blitz to inform members about the the rule changes.

On Thursday, the facility was buzzing with members talking about the value of a strong union. Over 100 members signed commitment cards on a single day.

One of those members was Shaun Watson. Watson is new on staff, but had previously worked as an officer in Missouri. "I came from a place that wasn't union," he said. "I tell people that if the union goes away, they're going to miss it when it's gone."

"We need to keep unions strong, for better wages, better health care, and to keep DOC honest."

Watson described poor conditions and a place where everyone was paid the same low rate no matter how long they had worked there. "It was sad," he said. "If you put in your time, you should be rewarded."

Both Paul Moore, an RN3 at MCC, and Kim Cook, an officer at the Washington Corrections Center for Women, took the day off to help with the outreach.

At shift change, Cook and Moore handed out information about the case. "We'll be swinging by later to talk with you about open shop," Cook said, as members headed toward their posts.

Doug Trudeau, an officer in the intensive management unit at MCC, is also helping out with the blitz. "Unions are getting hit hard," he said. "We need to stay strong, for better wages, better health care, and to keep DOC honest."

To sign in support of your union, talk to your shop steward or union representative, or visit www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.

DOC contract surveys mailed out for upcoming negotiations


Contract surveys are in the mail. Be sure to turn yours in by February 23.

Today we mailed out contract surveys to the home addresses of all Teamsters at the DOC. You should be receiving your survey in the mail in the next couple of days.

Please fill out your survey and deposit it in the designated dropbox at your facility. You can also give your completed survey to your Shop Steward or Union Representative.

Your survey should be returned by no later than Friday, February 23. If you have not received a survey by February 15, please contact your Shop Steward first, and if necessary, your Union Representative.

Filling out your contract survey is important. The survey gives you an opportunity to prioritize issues and voice your concerns. Your bargaining team will be using the survey results to develop proposals based on your feedback for upcoming contract negotiations.

Be sure to make your voice heard!

Local 117 launches member Leadership Academy


Members from the inaugural Teamsters Leadership Academy participate in a team building exercise on January 17.

Local 117 members from all corners of the state gathered at the union hall in Tukwila earlier this month for the inaugural class of our new Teamsters Leadership Academy.

The program is a central piece to one of our union’s key strategic priorities: to invest in member leadership and development.

“I’m incredibly excited to work with all of you,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117, as he welcomed the group.  “Our goal as Teamsters is to build unity and power for working families. You are on the forefront of helping realize that goal.”

"The sense of unity was wonderful."

In the first meeting, members discussed the qualities of effective leadership and reflected on the importance of leadership as it relates to working together as a team. They also engaged in a “problem tree” exercise where they identified and analyzed issues in the workplace.

Check out photos from the event here.

Congratulations, Story Challenge Winners!


Team of Story Challenge Evaluators representing private and public sectors, drivers, steel workers, Department of Corrections, and Teamsters staff.

Last year, we launched a Story Challenge competition seeking union stories across all sectors of our membership, and now the results are in! It was a tough challenge — to pick the winning story. Each one reflected the incredible challenges that Teamsters overcome every day from struggles of a young single mother to surviving the horrific aftermath of Vietnam war.

To deal with this daunting task, we brought together a group of seven Teamsters from different industries. After long deliberation the winners were chosen as follows:

1st place: Adrian Johnson PENSKE
2nd place: Eric Sacks Pierce County
3rd Place: Cuong Huynh (Van)  Swire Coca Cola 
Honorary Mention: Jessica Poston South Sound 911
Honorary Mention: James Shepard King County

The awards were presented during our Holiday Membership meeting where winners read their stories and captivated the audience. Despite limited number of awards, all participants will have their story featured on our website. Visit www.familystrengthcommunity.org/stories to read the stories and stay tuned for more!

Oral arguments scheduled in Janus case


Brothers and Sisters -

Many of you have requested that we continue to provide updates on the Janus v AFSCME case that threatens the resources that support our ability to continue to stand together and negotiate strong contracts.

The US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on February 26. We are expecting a decision sometime this spring.

If the court rules as we expect, you will no longer have the freedom to negotiate union security clauses in your contract. This means that public workers would be able to abandon their union membership, but continue to receive all of the benefits of representation without having to pay for it.

It may sound appealing – no union dues – but the reality is that your wages and health benefits could be cut and your contractual rights weakened in an open shop environment if we don’t stick together and defend our union.

Wealthy special interest groups like the "Freedom" Foundation may even try to trick you into “opting out” of paying your fair share. 

We’ve launched a campaign called Family – Strength - Community to prepare for the Janus ruling and to defend against these attacks. Members are talking to members about how we can get ready for open shop. Over a thousand Teamsters have already signed cards committing to each other and their union.

You can learn more about Janus, hear from other Teamsters about the case and access resources at our Family – Strength – Community website.

In Washington State, workers must not experience the same erosion of rights that workers in Wisconsin have been suffering.  Wages and health care benefits plunged after that state passed laws that attacked public workers’ right to collectively bargain.

If you have any questions about open shop or about the Janus case, talk to a shop steward or your union representative. You can also email me directly.

Thank you for all that you do. And thank you for your membership in Teamsters 117.



John Scearcy


The results are in! King County bargaining units vote to ratify contracts


Lynn Constantine and other member volunteers tally up the votes for Local 117 King County bargaining unit contracts at the Teamsters hall in Tukwila on January 18. 

The results are in! All Teamsters 117 bargaining units participating in the recent contract vote at King County have overwhelmingly approved their respective contracts.

Voting took place over the course of two weeks at more than twenty meetings across the county. Turnout in the contract vote was historically high. 

On Thursday evening, member volunteers tallied up the votes on contracts covering 12 bargaining units and over 1200 King County Teamsters. 

You can view the results according to bargaining unit below: 



Department of Public Defense - Management Unit


Dept. of Transportation Administrators


IT Managers and Supervisors


Joint Units Agreement


Legislative Analysts


Prosecuting Attorney's Office


Printers and Copiers


Professional & Technical & Administrative Employees


Security Screeners


Information Technology Managers & Supervisors




WWT Supervisers


In voting to approve a Master Labor Agreement (MLA), which was negotiated last year between our Coalition of Unions and the County, members will receive a total wage increase of 3.25%. Members also voted to approve their individual bargaining unit’s appendix agreements.

The MLA together with the appendix agreements contain many improvements, including a provision for economic equity, expanded bereavement leave, protections against sub-contracting, professional development opportunities, among others.

Mary Jane Friel, a county utility worker who served on the bargaining committee, said she is pleased with the results. “We were especially proud to change the language around discipline, the sunset clause. We fought really hard for that. And the boot allowance is important for our group.”

You can access a summary of the highlights of the MLA as well as a redline document of the agreement on our Teamsters website. Contract summary documents and the redline versions for individual units can also be found online.

"I want to congratulate our members at King County on their new contracts that provide across-the-board wage increases and critical workplace protections," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "King County Teamsters provide essential services to our community. These contracts represent an important step toward recognizing their labor and the invaluable contributions they make to the residents of King County." 

James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship - Apply Today!


Our international union is now accepting applications for the 2018 James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship. For the first time, scholarships will be awarded to students attending training and vocational programs.

The children and financial dependents of Teamster members are eligible to apply.

Academic scholarship awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for high school seniors planning to attend a four-year college or university and Training/Vocational Program awards of up to $2,000 for use at community colleges and trade schools.

A new and improved online application process can be found on the James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund’s website: www.jrhmsf.org

Teamsters pushing back at Fleetlogix


Great to see members who work at the airport's rental car facility today.

A manager at one of the transportation companies - Fleetlogix - tried to block our visitation access last week and we pushed back in a big way. The company has already been sanctioned by the NLRB for intimidating workers who were wearing buttons supporting the union.

We'll be negotiating again on January 19 and 24. It's time to get a fair contract that respects our members and the important services they provide!

E-Board trustee Scott Anderson: Quiet warrior fighting to save lives


Scott Anderson giving the gift of life in the Safeway breakroom in the Auburn warehouse.

Scott Anderson, a Teamster of 43 years in the grocery industry, is soft-spoken, but don’t let his demeanor fool you.

Under the quiet exterior lies a man of great compassion and conviction who exudes a moral authority and a desire to help others through his actions.

Scott has served our Local 117 membership as a trustee on our union's executive board on and off for 20 years.

Since the mid-1980s, he has organized semi-annual blood drives for his co-workers in the Safeway warehouse. Over that time span, thousands of Teamsters have donated their blood to help save lives in our community. Their donations complement our union’s annual blood drive that takes place at the Teamsters hall each November.

"The Teamster blood drives come at a really important time of year for us."

“The Teamster blood drives come at a really important time of year for us,” says Robin Lulich, a donor resource consultant with Cascade Regional Blood Services. “There is usually high blood usage before and after the holidays. The Teamsters help boost the inventory back up.”

That means ensuring that there are ample blood reserves when disaster strikes, like when an Amtrak train derailed in Dupont last month. Cancer survivors, burn victims, surgery patients, sick kids – they all benefit from donated blood.

For Scott, the impetus to enlist his co-workers touches close to home.