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Teamsters 117 Wire

100% yes! Total solidarity in contract vote at Wanke Cascade

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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 Olivas: Our New Rep with Skills as an Organizer

Jessica_copy.jpgJessica 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.


Holding politicians accountable through our member-driven endorsement process

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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:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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 dustin@teamsters117.org or 206-441-4860 x1262.


Tune in today at 2PM! Learn how a court case threatens the freedom of public sector union members

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Our King County Coalition of Unions bargaining team celebrates a fully-recommended Master Labor Agreement. 


Teamsters across the country have a special opportunity today to learn more about a Supreme Court case that presents a grave threat to the freedom of members working in the public sector. 

The Rick Smith Show will be devoting today's episode to Janus v AFSCME, a case that takes aim at the ability of working people to join together in strong unions to speak up for themselves, their families and their communities.

You can view the show online starting today at 2PM at www.TheRickSmithShow.com. If you have a question or wish to express an opinion, you can call in at 717-422-5215. This episode of the show will also be available online after it airs. 

Rick Smith is a fellow Teamster who grew up in a working class neighborhood in Cleveland. He took his straight shooting no nonsense Teamster outlook to the air and started mixing it up with working people across the Midwest. His show grew steadily, attracting listeners starved for a voice that spoke to working stiffs who felt the economic floor crumbling beneath them.

Smith will focus today's show on the Janus case, which is the culmination of decades of attacks on working families by wealthy CEOs and the politicians who do their bidding to rig the economy in their favor. They want to weaken unions because unions have played a central role in defending the freedoms we cherish to build and protect the middle class.

No one knows exactly how the Court will rule on Janus, but experts believe there is a strong likelihood that Janus will eliminate your freedom to negotiate union security clauses in the public sector. If this occurs, members would be able to abandon their membership, but continue to receive all of the benefits of representation without having to pay for it. Unions would lose resources, contracts would become weaker, and the membership would become divided.

The so-called “Freedom Foundation”, a front group for wealthy corporate interests and a strong supporter of Janus, has already started contacting union members in Washington State, encouraging them to abandon their unions. You can learn more about the Freedom Foundation’s anti-worker agenda at www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.

The best way for us as members of Teamsters Local 117 to prepare for an adverse Janus ruling is to stand together with our co-workers and reaffirm our commitment to each other. We have a plan to win and be even stronger, with members leading the way. Many members across our union who work in the public sector have already signed cards or an online pledge committing to stick together with their co-workers no matter how the Court rules.

Our union is incredibly resilient. We have faced many challenges in the past, and we’ve proven that when we stand together, we can improve our lives and our communities. We are confident we will prevail this time as well.


Coalition achieves fully-recommended agreement with King County over Master Labor Agreement

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Our King County Coalition of Unions bargaining team declares victory after nine months of tough negotiations. 


We have some exciting news! Today, after nine months of challenging negotiations, our King County Coalition of Unions reached a fully-recommended tentative agreement with the County over a Master Labor Agreement (MLA).

From the outset, our goal in MLA bargaining was to solidify the strongest language from the myriad of County contracts into one unifying agreement. Despite many difficult moments, we were able to partner with the County to successfully achieve that goal.

The MLA, if ratified by your bargaining unit, will determine many of the terms and conditions of your employment at the County. There are 40 articles that cover topics such as union recognition, union bulletin board usage, safety gear, safety allowances, after-hours support, holidays, vacation leave, bereavement leave, parental leave, jury duty, reclassification, and many others.

"Today is a great day for the laborers who work for King County." - Dan Fernandez, Local 117 member

In nearly all cases, we were able to achieve the best language that currently exists in the many union contracts across the County and incorporate it into the agreement. As a result, the MLA will mean significant improvements to the contracts of Coalition members.

A fully-recommended MLA represents another critical step in the bargaining process that started with Total Comp negotiations last year. The next step is for us to return to our small table negotiations. Once those negotiations are complete, Coalition members in their individual bargaining units will have an opportunity to vote on their small table agreements and the MLA.

As we complete our small table (individual contract) negotiations, your specific contract/bargaining units should continue to update you on their progress. 

Thank you to the outstanding work of our Coalition bargaining committee. Our team did an extraordinary job navigating the challenging issues that arose at the bargaining table. Thank you also to the County for listening to the concerns of union members and being a willing partner in these negotiations.

If you have questions, please reach out to your bargaining committee member or talk to your union representative.  Thank you for your service to the residents of King County.

 


Borsum brings organizing skills to union rep position

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James Borsum will be representing Local 117 members in the recycle and dairy industries.


James Borsum got an early start as a Teamster, when he went to work at Sysco, in the food service industry, at the ripe old age of 18.

At Sysco, the benefits were better than his previous employer, wages were higher, and best of all, it was a union shop. Borsum bounced around at Sysco, selecting groceries, loading trucks and docking freight. After seven years, he bid into a position as a driver, and ultimately became one of the group’s shop stewards.

Borsum always wanted to be more involved in the union. “As a steward, you can stand up to the employer and say this is wrong, you need to fix it,” he said.


Leaf Through the Fall Issue of Teamster Talk

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The latest quarterly issue of Teamster Talk has arrived. Here are some highlights from this issue.

A message from John Scearcy.

Teamster driver helping with Harvey relief effort.

More contract wins at Supervalue and Shuttle Park 2.

Organizing victory at Woodland Park Zoo.

Taxi drivers strike at SeaTac.

You can read it online here or check with your business representative for a hard copy. Teamster Talk will be distributed in your facility over the next few weeks.

 


Port fining taxis $100 for speaking out about deplorable conditions at Airport

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Taxi drivers are being fined $100 for speaking out about the disgusting state of Port bathrooms.


The Port of Seattle has stooped to a new low. The Port has issued $100 citations to taxi drivers who participated in peaceful demonstrations in August over the deplorable state of Port bathrooms for drivers, among other issues.

By protesting publicly, drivers finally compelled the Port to acknowledge the problem and take action to fix it. Previous efforts by the drivers to raise the bathroom issue with Port officials had fallen on deaf ears.

The Port has approved funding for the design and construction of the new bathrooms, but apparently the drivers who exercised their right to speak out on horrendous state of the old bathrooms will be picking up part of the tab.

Drivers have five days to pay the $100 or face suspension and additional citations from the Port. Some drivers have reportedly appealed the citations, only to have their appeals denied. 


Postings going up for Shop Stewards at all DOC facilities

Over the next two weeks, we will be posting for new Shop Stewards on union bulletin boards at all Department of Corrections facilities across the state.

The Shop Steward position involves engaging your co-workers in the union, advocating for them in the workplace, enforcing the contract, maintaining direct communication with the Union Rep, participating in grievance meetings, among many other duties.

The next two-year term for newly-elected Shop Stewards begins on January 1, 2018 and ends on December 31, 2019.

If you are interested in the position, please watch your union bulletin board over the next two weeks, and sign up. If you have questions, talk to your union representative.


Guardian newsletter - Our fall issue for DOC members is now available!

10.2.17_Guardian_Page_1.jpgThe new issue of the Guardian, our union's newsletter for Teamsters who work at the Department of Corrections is now available!

In this issue you'll find:

A CRCC member who writes about joining the union
Michelle's column on our Political Advisory Committee
Highlights from our 2017-2019 contract
Bios of two new Union Reps for DOC members

You can read the Guardian online here. Member leaders and union reps will be distributing print copies out in the facilities over the next two weeks.


King County MLA bargaining hits logjam

King County Teamsters -

Master Labor Agreement (MLA) bargaining between our Coalition of Unions and King County has been an extremely challenging process that has lasted for six months. 

Our union bargaining team has worked hard to incorporate the strongest possible language from the myriad of County contracts into the MLA. 

Yesterday was our last scheduled bargaining session, and although we have TA'ed many articles, we still have not reached a final tentative agreement with the County. 

The Coalition chairs, Denise Cobden (PTE 17) and Michael Gonzales (Teamsters 174), put out a brief statement today to update members on the status of bargaining. We should have a more complete update some time next week. 

KC Coalition Members --

Sept. 28 was the last scheduled bargaining session for the Master Labor Agreement (MLA) with King County. It lasted from 9 am to 7:30 pm and considerable progress was made, however, we are still far apart on several language items.

With no more meetings scheduled – at least, at this time -- the Coalition of Unions leadership will be working hard over the next few days to determine if there is a way to get through this logjam. We are hopeful and confident that we can find a path forward.

We will provide a much more detailed report later next week. If you have questions about MLA bargaining, please contact your bargaining committee member or your Union Representative.

Thank you for your service to the residents of King County.

Respectfully,

John Scearcy
Secretary-Treasurer


Janus court case threatens workers' freedom

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Sisters and Brothers -

This morning we received some news that poses an incredible challenge and threat to our union.

The Supreme Court announced that it will consider a case, Janus vs AFSCME that aims at taking away the freedom of working people to join together in strong unions to speak up for themselves, their families and their communities.

Janus is a case, supported by the so-called “Freedom” Foundation", which will almost certainly eliminate your freedom to negotiate union security clauses in the public sector. We don’t know exactly how the Court will rule on Janus, but there is a strong likelihood that your voice as a public sector union member will be significantly weakened as early as June of next year.

The Janus case is the culmination of decades of attacks on working families by wealthy CEOs and the politicians who do their bidding to rig the economy in their favor. They want to weaken unions because unions have played a central role in defending the freedoms we cherish to build and protect the middle class.

The best way for us as union members to prepare for this attack is to stand together with our co-workers and reaffirm our commitment to each other. We have a plan to win and be even stronger, with members leading the way.

Our union is incredibly resilient. We have faced many challenges in the past, and we’ve proven that when we stand together, we can improve our lives and our communities. We are confident we will prevail this time as well.

Thank you for your service to our community, and for your membership in Teamsters 117.

Respectfully,

John Scearcy
Secretary-Treasurer

Michelle Woodrow
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement


Airport taxi drivers demand justice at Port Commission meeting

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Taxi drivers pack the Port of Seattle Commission meeting room at Sea-Tac Airport to demand change.


It was not nearly enough. That was the consensus of dozens of Teamster taxi drivers who testified at yesterday’s Port of Seattle Commission meeting about the Port’s plan to lower the per-trip rate drivers are paying.

Drivers have been forking over $7.00 to Eastside For Hire, the company that holds the Airport taxi contract, every time they pick up a passenger at the Airport. That amount was set to increase by $.50 at the beginning of October.

But after months of pressure from drivers and the community to improve conditions at the Airport, the Port stepped in to stop the increase and acted instead to decrease that amount to $6 per trip.

Drivers say it’s too little to make a difference. “Thank you for the reduction, but this does not solve the problem,” said Ali Sugule, who has been driving at the Airport for two years. “We need a voice at the negotiations table. We don’t want this contract going forward because it is hurting us.”

Airport taxi drivers have been calling out Eastside for months for multiple violations of its contract with the Port and point to a rigged system that enriches both Eastside and the Port at their expense.


New Rep Jonathan Makue ready to make a difference

Jonathan_Makue_post.png.jpgNew Local 117 union rep, Jonathan Makue, has deep roots in Hawaiian culture. His family’s ancestors date back to King Kamehameha, the islands’ founder, and his grandparents grew up speaking the Hawaiian language.

Makue spent his early years traveling back and forth between his grandparent’s place on Oahu and the mainland where his father had built a business in the fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest. 

As a young man, he spent five years working in the canneries in Alaska. He started out on the slime line, cutting up salmon and yanking out the guts, promoted to forklift operator, and finally floor manager. “We were in the middle of nowhere,” Makue says. “You could see Russia on a clear day.” 

After Alaska, he worked for a short time down on the Ballard docks, before landing his first Teamsters job at the Safeway Beverage plant in Bellevue in 2012. 

“It was the best decision I ever made,” he said. “I finally felt like a human being who had rights.” He appreciated the just cause protections at his new job, the negotiated wage increases, and the Teamster benefits.

"I’ve always known that I wanted to be part of something greater than myself."

He quickly got involved with the union. He helped organize a meeting with Kris Fish, the group’s Rep, to talk about getting a shop steward for workers on swing shift. Kris agreed and Makue was voted into that role. In September, Makue joined the staff of Local 117 and will represent Teamsters in the beverage, cold storage, and light construction industries.

He already feels right at home in his new job. “I’ve always known that I wanted to be part of something greater than myself. Once I became a union rep, I knew what that was. The Teamsters have taught me to lead by example, with respect, discipline, and integrity.”


Local 117 Teamsters contribute $1000 for hurricane relief

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Members from TransDev at our General Membership Meeting on September 21.


Our Local Union will be contributing $1000 to aid in the ongoing disaster relief effort caused by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

We passed the hat at our General Membership Meeting on September 21 and collected over $400. Thank you to all of the members who were able to chip in.

Our Union's Executive Board will be matching that donation and rounding up to make an even $1000. 

Our hearts go out to the many families stricken by the storms that have ravaged southeastern Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean over the last month.