When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

Teamsters & allies bring the UNFI fight up the supply chain to Amazon/Whole Foods

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Local 117 members unlawfully laid off by UNFI bring their fight for justice to Amazon/Whole Foods


On Thursday, in Austin, Texas, a delegation of Oxfam, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and Teamsters Union representatives joined forces, demanding Whole Foods take real steps to clean up abusive labor practices in its food supply chain.

Whole Foods is one of the lowest-scoring supermarket chains on Oxfam’s human rights scorecard, even worse than Walmart.  

On the same day, in Seattle, laid-off grocery workers, Teamsters Local 117 representatives and consumer allies visited Amazon headquarters to demand that Amazon-owned Whole Foods weigh in on its largest supplier, UNFI to stop labor abuses there.

Teamster officials in Austin, participating in the event with Oxfam and FLOC, tried to deliver a letter to John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods.

Seattle protestors sought to meet with Stephenie Landry, VP of Grocery Delivery for Amazon and deliver the same letter, demanding justice. Click to read the letter, and see photos and video from Seattle.

“Hundreds of families are hurting today, because Whole Foods' partner UNFI is not honoring contract terms that we negotiated and they agreed to, that's unacceptable and we won't stand for it," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local Union No. 117. “Amazon has the ability and the responsibility to demand Whole Foods and UNFI stop abusing workers and communities across its entire supply chain, and honor their commitments to us all.”

"We demand Whole Foods and UNFI stop abusing workers and communities across its supply chain."

Right before the holidays, UNFI illegally laid off over 200 workers from its Tacoma, Wash., distribution center. UNFI is refusing to honor an arbitrator’s award that upholds the workers’ contract and protects their wages and benefits.

“The loss of money, medical benefits and retirement that we have become accustomed to has really made life difficult. I have had my garbage service canceled due to inability to pay. My phone has been shut off for a couple of weeks. How am I supposed to find employment without a phone? What if there was a problem with my daughter at school? I have also fallen a month behind in rent,” said Jason Black, one of the laid off Tacoma, food distribution workers. “Other workers have been hit with evictions, had utilities shut off and scrounged for change to make sure their families are fed. Food, shelter, clothing and good health for our families are the main priorities now and covering these expenses is hard and is only going to get harder because of UNFI’s greed.”

Teamsters urged Amazon’s Whole Foods grocery executives Mackey and Landry to call on UNFI CEO Steven Spinner to comply with the arbitrator’s decision and stop breaking the law – as a first step toward demonstrating their combined company’s commitment to a truly sustainable food supply.

Whole Foods Market has a strategic supply chain agreement with UNFI, which runs more than 50 grocery warehouses, and is an essential partner to Amazon’s premier grocery channels: Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh.

The protestors also called on Amazon’s Whole Foods to ensure that all its suppliers respect workers’ rights and safety.

Teamsters represent over 4,000 members at UNFI across much of the U.S. UNFI has recently escalated its attacks on its local labor unions, leading to extensive unrest across its grocery distribution network, including a two-week strike in the Midwest in late December 2019.


Maverick Employees - Contract Survey and Schedule for Demands Meetings

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This is an exciting time for workers in the gaming industry in Washington State. Teamsters 117, one of the most powerful and respected unions in the Pacific Northwest, has been certified to represent you in contract negotiations with your employer.

This means that a Union Negotiation Committee will meet with Maverick to negotiate a first-time contract that will secure your rights and benefits in the workplace.  The Committee will consist of professional Teamsters 117 negotiators along with a team of your co-workers to ensure that everyone who works at Maverick is represented at the negotiation table.

To prepare for negotiations, your voice is critical!  Your feedback will help your Union Negotiation Committee develop meaningful proposals for negotiations.  You can provide feedback in two ways: 1) Complete the online Contract Survey and 2) attend a Contract Demands Meeting.

1. CONTRACT SURVEY – COMPLETE THE SURVEY! (Available soon!)
Our Union’s legal team has developed a short survey that will help you and your co-workers establish priorities for negotiations. The survey will take you 5-10 minutes to complete. By taking the survey, you are making sure your voice is heard in the contract negotiations process. The survey will be available soon!

2. CONTRACT DEMANDS MEETINGS – ATTEND A MEETING!
Contract Demands Meetings are another opportunity for you to provide feedback so that the Union can establish priorities for negotiations. At the meetings, you will also be selecting Shop Stewards. These are your co-workers who will help represent you in your workplace. Please attend one of the Contract Demands Meetings listed below.

CONTRACT DEMANDS MEETINGS - MAVERICK

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

Club Hollywood Casino
Silver Dollar Mill Creek
Caribbean Card Room
Royal Casino Everett
Great American Everett
Caribbean Casino
Crazy Moose MLT
Red Dragon Poker

Monday, January 27

9:00am-11:00am

3:00pm-5:00pm

7:00pm-9:00pm

 

Best Western Cascadia Inn
2800 Pacific Ave.
Everett, WA 98201

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

Silver Dollar Seatac
Great American Tukwila
Caribbean Card Room
Silver Dollar Renton
Wizard
Caribbean Casino
Macau
Roman

Tuesday, January 28

&

Thursday, January 30

9:00am-11:00am

3:00pm-5:00pm

7:00pm-9:00pm

 

Teamsters Local 117
14675 Interurban Ave. S
Tukwila, WA 98168

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

Great American Lakewood
Macau Lakewood

Wednesday, January 29

10:00am-12:00pm

3:00pm-5:00pm

7:00pm-9:00pm 

Comfort Inn Tacoma
Seattle Room
8620 S. Hosmer St
Tacoma, WA 98444

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

Caribbean Casino Yakima  

Wednesday, January 29

9:00am-11:00am

3:00pm-5:00pm

7:00pm-9:00pm

Caribbean Casino Yakima
Fish Room

Coyote Bob
Crazy Moose

Tuesday, January 28

9:00am-11:00am

3:00pm-5:00pm

7:00pm-9:00pm

Crazy Moose

Conference Room

Thank you for your participation in this process! As soon as we have established negotiation dates with Maverick, we will let you know.  Our goal is to make sure you have the strongest possible representation and to negotiate a contract based on your priorities that will provide a better, more secure future for you and your family.

 


Legislative session gets underway in Olympia - check out our priorities!

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Today marks the first of a 60-day legislative session in Olympia where lawmakers will be making critical decisions that impact members of Teamsters 117 and their families.

As always, our Union will have a strong presence in Olympia. We will be working to hold politicians accountable and pass bills that help workers, increase government accountability, and protect the health and safety of working families in Washington State.

Teamsters 117 employs a full-time Legislative Affairs Director, Brenda Wiest, who will be on the ground in Olympia working to protect the rights of Local 117 members and their families. Brenda works closely with Political Action Director, Dustin Lambro, who is organizing opportunities throughout session for members to speak directly with their legislators about critical issues.

Our Teamsters 117 Lobby Day will be held on February 12-13, 2020. You can register for the event online or contact Dustin at 206-794-2606 for more information.

OUR 2020 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

PRIORITIES FOR STATE EMPLOYEES

  • FUNDING ADDITIONAL CUSTODY AND HEALTHCARE POSITIONS AT DOC - Supplemental budget funding to increase the number of custody and healthcare staff at DOC is imperative. The Staffing Audit identified several flaws in the current DOC Staffing Model. Understaffing has put a strain on workers burdened by excessive overtime, which leads to unsafe working conditions inside the prison system and an increased likelihood of errors in the healthcare of incarcerated individuals. We support the Governor’s budget which adds money to increase staff at DOC.
  • PEER-TO-PEER COUNSELING FOR DOC - DOC staff are often witness to terrible trauma inside the adult prison system. We are seeking to pass a bill that will create a privileged relationship between staff that access the peer support team to allow open dialogue during a member’s moment of need without fear of disclosure. This will create parity between the DOC and other county corrections and law enforcement jurisdictions.
  • WORKER PROTECTION ACT - We have many great workplace protections—wage and hour, equal pay, health and safety, and anti-discrimination laws. But enforcement agencies often have years-long backlogs and the federal government limits what tools workers have to achieve justice. HB 1965, the Worker Protection Act, creates a pathway for workers to blow the whistle when current laws are violated, while generating resources for stronger state enforcement.
  • PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PRIVACY - Our state has robust public disclosure laws, but ones that can expose the personal and financial information of public workers to scam artists. HB 1888 takes common-sense steps to safeguard personal data—like birthdays and data that reveal addresses—to protect public workers’ safety and guard against identity theft and fraud.
  • IMPROVEMENTS TO LEAVE FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES - We will be working on several bills this session that improve leave for public employees by raising the cap on leave, allowing injured workers to access shared leave, and giving employees earlier access to leave. 
  • IMPROVEMENTS TO DEATH AND DISABILITY BENEFITS UNDER PSERS - We support policy that will create parity between DOC and other public safety personnel by improving Death and Disability benefits for PSERS members.

OTHER WORKER PRIORITIES

  • WORKER PROTECTION ACT - We have many great workplace protections—wage and hour, equal pay, health and safety, and anti-discrimination laws. But enforcement agencies often have years-long backlogs and the federal government limits what tools workers have to achieve justice. HB 1965, the Worker Protection Act, creates a pathway for workers to blow the whistle when current laws are violated, while generating resources for stronger state enforcement.
  • OVERTIME PROTECTIONS — This year, the Department of Labor and Industries updated overtime rules for the first time in 40 years and restored protections for thousands of salaried workers. Restoring overtime helps working families by honoring and respecting people’s time — that’s good for workers and our economy. Teamsters 117 will oppose any attempt to erode, roll back, or limit L&I’s ability to maintain overtime protections.
  • THIRD PARTY ADMINISTRATOR REFORM — TPAs are supposed to provide case management expertise for self-insured employers and Retrospective Rating program participants. Unfortunately, they are often used to suppress workers’ compensation claims and undermine injured workers’ ability to get the wage replacement and medical benefits they are due.
  • INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAM REFORM — Too often employers and the Department of Labor and Industries require unnecessary and invasive Independent Medical Exams for injured workers trying to heal and return to work. New workers’ compensation policies should limit how often IMEs can be requested when other sufficient medical information is available.
  • AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - Requires that persons or entities testing autonomous vehicles or autonomous vehicle technology equipment under the Department of Licensing’s Self Certification Pilot Project shall maintain with the Department of Licensing proof of an umbrella liability insurance policy in an amount not less than five million dollars per occurrence for damages by reason of bodily injury, death, or property damage in addition to the  financial responsibility requirements in accordance with RCW 46.30.020.
  • EMPLOYEE PERSONAL VEHICLE SEARCHES HB 2239 - Prohibits certain searches of employee vehicles in employer parking areas. Specifies an employee right of possession of property within their vehicles in employer parking areas. Provides for investigations and potential civil penalties by the Department of Labor and Industries.

Secretary-Treasurer's Message: Scholarship Opportunities!

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Sisters and Brothers -

Hope your 2020 is getting off to a great start! As you plan out your new year, I wanted to give you a heads up about an exciting new scholarship opportunity for members of Teamsters 117.

At our Womxn's Conference last year, we established the Jayme Biendl Working Womxn's ScholarshipThe new scholarship commemorates the life and legacy of Officer Jayme Biendl of the Monroe Correctional Complex who was killed in the line of duty in 2011.   

The Jayme Biendl Working Womxn's Scholarship is intended for Teamster 117 women members and their dependents who are pursuing continuing education or a training/vocational program.

Learn about eligibility requirements for the scholarship here.

In addition, we have a number of other scholarship and community sponsorship opportunities available to Local 117 members. These include:

Thanks so much for your membership in Teamsters 117! 

In unity,

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John Scearcy
Secretary-Treasurer

 


Teamsters at the City of Auburn Overwhelmingly Ratify 3-Year Contract

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Local 117 members Richard Valenti (l), Taylor Pence (c), and Greg Noonan (r) are armed and ready at the City of Auburn.


Greg Noonan, Teamster at the City of Auburn, is your veritable jack-of-all-trades. His work portfolio consists of plumbing, carpentry, welding, and metal fabrication along with some ingenious design work. 

When city officials and other town dignitaries needed a sleigh to parade down Main Street, Noonan made it happen. He transformed a flatbed truck into Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer with antlers, blinking lights and all.

"It's hard to say what I do from one day to the next," Noonan admits. "But that keeps things interesting."

Noonan will be retiring this June, passing his craftsman's torch to his co-workers in the City's Public Works Department. As he departs, he'll have the peace-of-mind that the workforce he's labored alongside for 24 years will continue to be protected by a strong Teamsters contract. 

Highlights of the new agreement include negotiated wage increases, longevity pay, increases to the uniform allowance, and full maintenance of benefits with excellent health care coverage through the Washington Teamsters Welfare Trust. 

"Between no increases to our medical and getting longevity pay - those were the two big things that really got our guys on board."

Rich Valenti, the town's horticulturist and member of our Union's negotiations team, explained why the contract passed with such impressive numbers.

"Between no increases to our medical and getting longevity pay - those were the two big things that really got our guys on board," he said. 

Valenti does the town's planting, pruning, and landscape design. He plots out trees, shrubbery, and flowers for hundreds of garden beds across the City. A portion of his time is spent during the winter months propagating annuals in a small greenhouse, where he transform 200 plants into 4,500 by transplanting their cuttings and seeds.

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Rich Valenti (l), Taylor Pence (c), and Greg Noonan (r) are armed and ready to keep Auburn at its finest.


Much of the work of Noonan and Valenti, along with the other Teamsters at the City, takes place behind the scenes. They repair our roads, maintain our potable water system, and beautify our public spaces. Their work is indispensable to the smooth operation of the City's infrastructure and Auburn's quality of life. 

With the contract approved, members are feeling like their work is finally recognized. "I've never seen a contract ratify with those kinds of numbers," Valenti said. "And we had a great turnout for it, too."

Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy congratulated the group on the new agreement.

“We had record turnout to overwhelmingly ratify a contract that addresses core issues important to our members that have their boots on the ground," Scearcy said. "This is what you achieve by working together as a union and a great example of the power of member engagement, knowledge, and participation."

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UNFI Litigation - News and Updates

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This page is set up to provide updates to Teamsters 117 members who worked at UNFI's warehouse in Tacoma and were unlawfully laid off by the company. Our Union is defending an Arbitration Award that UNFI is challenging in federal court.

Our goal is to fight the Company in court and uphold the Arbitrator's Award that allowed members to transfer to Centralia with the same wages and benefits that they had in Tacoma. When there are developments in the case or other news that impacts Teamster families, we will post it here.

To receive updates via text message, text "Teamsters FUNFI" to 313131. Please understand that the litigation process is a lengthy one and there may be several weeks between updates. If you have questions, please post them in the comments below understanding that our legal team is busy and will answer them when their schedule allows. 

UNFI NEWS TICKER

January 13, 2020
As many of you know, our Union filed and won and Arbitration Award related to the transfer of work to Centralia. Unfortunately, UNFI has refused honor the Arbitration decision and has instead filed appeals with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and in Federal Court. The following updates are related to the litigation over UNFI’s appeal:

UNFI’s Unfair Labor Practice Charges against the Union with the NLRB:
The Union has filed its position statement and exhibits with the NLRB. The NLRB will now consider our position statement before deciding whether to investigate UNFI’s claim.

UNFI’s Appeal of Arbitrator Duffy’s Arbitration Decision to Federal Court:
Our Union has filed its answer to UNFI’s complaint and asserted counterclaims against UNFI for enforcement of the award. Our counterclaims against UNFI are (1) to confirm the award; (2) injunctive relief to enforce the award; and (3) breach of contract. The Court extended UNFI’s time to answer our counterclaims to January 17, 2020.

Although litigation is slow-moving, we are committed to keeping you updated with posts and text alerts as we progress through this process. To receive a text that an update has been posted, please text “Teamsters FUNFI” to 313131. If you have questions, please post them in the comments below understanding that our legal team is busy and will answer them when their schedule allows.

January 3, 2020
As many of you, know our Union filed numerous Unfair Labor Practice charges (ULP’s) with the National Labor Relations Board over the last year alleging that UNFI engaged in interference, disparaging communications, surveillance, unilateral changes and more. Although these charges are unrelated to the Arbitration and the ongoing litigation over the award (appeal), we feel it is important to keep you updated on the progress:

Union’s Unfair Labor Practice charges against UNFI:
The hearing on these charges was scheduled for Tuesday, January 7, 2020. On January 2, 2020, the Labor Board reached a settlement with UNFI, requiring the Company to send a notice posting to current and former Local 117 and 313 members setting forth UNFI’s legal obligations to its employees under the National Labor relations Act.

As mentioned above, UNFI is mandated to mail you a letter setting forth UNFI’s legal obligations to its employees under the National Labor Relations Act. We expect that letter to be mailed out within the next week or two. This letter will not require any further action from you. Although this may seem insignificant, it marks another Teamster win against this employer that couldn’t be possible without the involvement and testimony of many of you.

We have asked our legal team to draft an update related to the litigation over the Arbitration award and the appeal process. We intend on providing that update soon.

December 2019
Teamsters 117 establishes the UNFI Hardship Fund designed to assist members from UNFI's Tacoma facility who are experiencing extreme financial hardship as a result of being unlawfully laid off by UNFI. If you are a UNFI member who worked at the Tacoma facility and you are facing financial hardship, please apply for assistance here.

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October 7, 2019
Arbitrator Joseph Duffy rules unequivocally for the Union stating that members of Teamsters 117 shall be allowed to transfer to Centralia under the same terms and conditions that they have in Tacoma. View the Arbitration Award here.


Maverick Gaming Industry Workers Choose Teamsters 117

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Maverick employees at the Great American Casino in Tukwila celebrate certification of their union!  


More than 1,700 card room workers employed by Maverick Gaming have chosen Teamsters Local 117. The Seattle-based Local Union was authorized as the workers’ exclusive bargaining representative through a card check process conducted by an independent arbitrator today.

“We are thrilled to welcome Maverick employees to our Union,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “Workers in the many card rooms across Washington State deserve a strong voice in the workplace and a contract that protects their rights and reflects their priorities. We are committed to working with them to achieve that goal.”

"We are thrilled to welcome Maverick employees to our Union."

Maverick employees will be the first unionized gaming-industry workers in Washington State. They sought representation with the Teamsters because they wanted a voice over issues like their wages, health care, retirement security, scheduling, and other working conditions.

“I feel it’s time for gaming employees to have a collective voice and input in the decision-making,” said Babet Vanvolkenburg, a dealer at the Macau Casino in Renton with over 20-years’ experience in the industry. “With the union we can have more job security.”

“I want the union because we’ll have an opportunity to improve our working conditions. My priorities are things like paid holidays, more vacation, and better wages,” said Mariano Quizapa, a cook at the Silver Dollar Casino in SeaTac.

Throughout the organizing process, Maverick remained neutral and allowed workers to determine for themselves whether they wanted union representation. “Maverick provides an excellent example of how a company should conduct itself during a union organizing drive,” Scearcy said. “While some employers fire workers or aggressively spread anti-union propaganda, Maverick trusted its workers to decide for themselves whether they wanted to join the union.”

The certification of Teamsters Local 117 as the workers’ exclusive representative triggers the process for contract negotiations. In January, workers will meet to establish their priorities for negotiations and identify rank-and-file leaders to participate on the union bargaining committee.

“This is a historic moment for workers in a previously unorganized industry in Washington State,” Scearcy said. “We look forward to sitting down with Maverick and negotiating a contract that reflects the priorities of these workers – things like good family medical benefits, a secure retirement, and secure scheduling – all of the protections and benefits of a strong Teamsters contract.” 


Happy Holidays from our Union's Executive Board!

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Sisters and Brothers -

On behalf of our Union’s Executive Board, I want to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season.

As Teamsters, there is so much for us to be thankful for – workplace rights, guaranteed wage rates, and the many protections and benefits that come with having a union job. 

As we give thanks, let’s also remember to express our gratitude to the many Teamsters who will be working over the holidays. While most families will be home celebrating together, many of you work in professions that never sleep.

"Our gratitude to the many Teamsters who will be working over the holidays."

For those of you who will be away from your loved ones, we are grateful to you for your dedication, service, and sacrifice. A special thanks goes out to our members in the corrections and law enforcement professions who make tremendous sacrifices this time of year as they serve and protect our communities and keep all of us safe.

As the decade comes to a close, we’ve made incredible strides at Teamsters 117. We’ve won stronger contracts and expanded the workplace rights of thousands of members across our union. We’ve fought back threats in the courts, and we’ve emerged stronger and more engaged.

Next year, we hope to grow our union through new organizing. We’ll also be developing a strategic plan that will help us build a stronger future together.

Thank you for your service to our communities. Happy holidays to you and your family.

In unity,

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John Scearcy
Secretary-Treasurer


Holiday meeting brings Teamsters from across our union together

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What a night! Dozens of prizes, gift cards, and lots of union cheer. Have a happy holidays everyone!  


It was a packed house last night at the Teamsters Hall in Tukwila! Hundreds of Local 117 members from across our union joined in the festivities of our Holiday Membership Meeting extravaganza.

As is tradition at the event, we raffled off dozens of prizes including power tools, electronics, gift cards, TVs, bottles of wine, and best of all…NUTS!

Check out photos from the event here.

Before getting to the raffle prizes, John Scearcy, our Union’s Secretary-Treasurer, kicked off the meeting with a few announcements.

He started by recognizing the outstanding service of Scott Anderson, who will be stepping down from his position as Trustee on our Union's Executive Board after an incredible 45-year Teamster career with 20 years on the Executive Board.

"Our members at UNFI are an inspiration to all of us."

Since the 1980s, Scott has organized food and blood drives at the Safeway distribution center in Auburn. Over that time span, hundreds of Teamsters have donated food to families in need and blood to help save lives in our community. Thank you, Scott! We are grateful to you for your service!

Taking Scott’s role on the E-Board will be Sysco Shop Steward, Will Buff. Will is an 18-year Teamster with 9 years’ experience as a Shop Steward and has helped secure strong contracts in the food service industry.

Scearcy also shared our Union’s ongoing fight with UNFI, the company that has unlawfully laid off over 200 Teamsters from its Tacoma warehouse.

“Our members at UNFI have galvanized the labor movement across the country,” Scearcy said. “Facing extreme pressure from an unscrupulous employer, they have stuck together and are demanding that UNFI honor their contractual rights. They are an inspiration to all of us.”

We've established a hardship fund for our members at the Tacoma warehouse, some of whom are facing eviction and struggling to support their families.  Contributions are welcome! 

We also passed the hat for Frank Ordonez, a Teamster UPS driver from Florida who was tragically killed after his truck was hijacked earlier this month. In total, members pitched in $1400 for Ordonez's family. Our Teamsters 117 Executive Board has approved matching donations collected from the membership last night.

Thank you to everyone for a great event. Happy holidays to you and your family!


Local 117 establishes hardship fund to support members unlawfully laid off by UNFI

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Teamsters in Tacoma learning that UNFI has failed to make timely payments on their health and welfare and pension. 


Over the last several months, our Union has been in an intense labor battle with United Natural Foods, Inc (UNFI), a ruthless employer that has shown little regard for our members' livelihoods or their contractual rights.

Right before the holidays, the company unlawfully laid off over 200 Local 117 members from its Tacoma distribution center and is refusing to honor an arbitrator's award that upholds their contract and protects their wages and benefits.

Many of our members are now facing eviction or are struggling to pay the bills or put food on the table for their families.

To assist members from UNFI's Tacoma facility who are facing extreme financial hardship, our Union has established the UNFI Hardship Fund.

Over the last month, we have received generous donations from Local Unions and Joint Councils across the Teamsters Union as well as donations from other labor organizations and individuals. We are extremely grateful to you for your support.

UNFI HARDSHIP FUND - DONATIONS

If you would like to donate to support Local 117 members in need, you can contribute by sending your donation to:

Teamsters Local 117
c/o UNFI Hardship Fund
14675 Interuruban Ave. S. Ste 307
Tukwila, WA 98168

Thank you for your support!


Teamsters 117 wins groundbreaking labor protections for Uber and Lyft drivers

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Teamsters Local 117 has achieved a significant victory in the fight to bring workers in the gig economy a voice on the job. The Seattle-based Local led the way in helping to pass a new law this November that will institute a first-ever grievance procedure for the City’s more than 30,000 Uber and Lyft drivers.

This groundbreaking legislation establishes first-in-the-nation legal protections and representation for drivers who seek to contest unwarranted deactivations in termination proceedings. The law also establishes a Driver Resolution Center to provide a wide range of support services to drivers.

“No longer will Uber and Lyft be the judge, jury, and prosecutor,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “Now drivers will have the right to protect their jobs with representation through a fair and impartial process.”

Under the new law, the City will commission an independent study with driver input to determine minimum pay standards for drivers that aligns with Seattle’s minimum wage and accounts for expenses and benefits. A similar process in New York has led to significant increases in pay for drivers. The study will be used to set a compensation floor that will hold Uber and Lyft to the same minimum pay standards as other large employers in Seattle - $16.39 per hour starting in 2020, after expenses. Since it is a pay floor, drivers will have the ability to earn above the City’s established minimum wage.

“I support my family with this job,” says Sukchain Banwait, a long-time Uber and Lyft driver. “We pay for the car, we pay for the gas, we pay for the maintenance, and we pay for the depreciation. We work long hours, and we deserve to get paid fairly.”

"This is a historic step forward in our fight for fair pay and labor protections for Uber and Lyft drivers."

Over the last five years, Teamsters Local 117 has worked to improve conditions in Seattle’s ride-hail industry. In 2015, Local 117 spearheaded efforts to pass a law granting collective bargaining rights for Uber and Lyft drivers. Since then, the ride-hail giants have tied up that legislation in the courts with litigation intended to strip away those rights from drivers. In helping to pass the new law, Local 117 worked to build a coalition of over 60 housing, transit, labor, environmental, health, and social justice organizations.

“This is a historic step forward in our fight for fair pay and labor protections for Uber and Lyft drivers,” Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy said. “Drivers provide critical transportation services to our community. They must be granted a measure of job security and they must be paid a living wage. This legislation strengthens our community, gives drivers a voice, and helps transform our labor movement by establishing groundbreaking rights for workers in the gig economy.”  


Join us for our Holiday Membership Meeting on December 19

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Join us for our Holiday Membership Meeting on December 19 at 7PM at the Union Hall in Tukwila! Hundreds of Local 117 members will be gathering together that evening for solidarity and our annual raffle drawing.  

Dozens of prizes are awarded each year, including electronics, power tools, bottles of wine, gift cards, televisions sets, and best of all, NUTS!  All of the gifts are purchased from companies with whom Local 117 has a bargaining relationship.

If you work graveyard and are unable to attend the meeting, be sure to stop by the hall during the day on Thursday for some cookies and holiday cheer and to put your name in for the raffle.

RSVP for the meeting here!


Anti-union "Freedom" Foundation goes after your personal information...Again!

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The anti-union “Freedom” Foundation is making yet another attempt to obtain your personal information through a public disclosure request. The request seeks the following information from the Department of Retirement Services (DRS) for all public employees in the State of Washington:

  • First name
  • Middle name
  • Last name
  • Full birthdate
  • Work email address
  • Employer
  • The retirement system in which they currently participate
  • FTE status/percentage
  • Current annual salary
  • Duty station location/address

To learn about what information DRS is planning to release, you can visit their website here. 

In addition to the request submitted to DRS, the “Freedom” Foundation has made a similar request to the Office of Financial Management (OFM) seeking the personal information of all employees who work for the State of Washington.

A DIRECT ATTACK ON PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

Make no mistake – this is a direct attack on all public employees and their unions in Washington State. The “Freedom” Foundation is a radical group funded by out-of-state wealthy special interests. They’ve opposed our right to paid sick days and lobbied against wage increases for state employees. Their goal is to privatize public services, defund defined benefit pension plans, and outsource public sector jobs.

Due to outdated public disclosure laws, the efforts of unions and others to block the release of this kind of information in the past has not been affirmed by the courts. The best way we can fight back is by standing together.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Talk to your co-workers about the “Freedom” Foundation’s anti-union agenda;
  • Warn your co-workers about the “Freedom” Foundation’s attempt to access their information.

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


Seattle Uber & Lyft Drivers Call Passage of 'Fare Share' Legislation a Historic Victory

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Mayor Jenny Durkan after a meeting with Uber and Lyft Drivers.


Seattle Uber and Lyft drivers celebrated the passage of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s ‘Fare Share’ plan by the City Council today, calling it a historic victory that will provide long-sought labor protections and lead to higher pay for the City’s 30,000 ride-hail drivers.

This groundbreaking legislation establishes first-in-the-nation legal protections against unwarranted deactivations. The legislation will also establish a Driver Resolution Center to provide a wide range of support services to drivers.

“After I was hit by an uninsured motorist, Uber shut off my app. Uber calls it deactivation, I call it getting fired for no reason,” says Bob Gulbranson, who has driven for Uber for several years. “This legislation gives drivers a voice and a chance to be treated fairly.”

In addition to creating a grievance process and funding a worker organization for drivers, the legislation mandates that all drivers be paid no less than Seattle’s minimum wage after expenses by July 1, 2020. The City will commission an independent wage study with driver input to determine appropriate pay for drivers based on hours worked, expenses incurred, and benefits.

At today’s City Council budget hearing, drivers said they were eager to participate in the study to help develop a fair pay standard so that they can finally earn a living wage after expenses and stop the race-to-the-bottom in Seattle’s ride-hail industry.

“I support my family with this job,” says Sukchain Banwait, a long-time Uber and Lyft driver. “We pay for the car, we pay for the gas, we pay for the maintenance, and we pay for the depreciation. We work long hours, and we deserve to get paid fairly.”

The legislation is funded through a 51-cent tax on trips by ride-hail giants Uber and Lyft. Proceeds from the fee will also support community investments in affordable housing and transit improvements so that drivers and other working families in Seattle have a greater opportunity to live closer to where they work.

Teamsters Local 117 has worked with the App-Based Drivers Association to improve conditions for drivers in Seattle’s ride-hail industry. Both organizations are members of a Fare Share coalition of over 60 housing, transit, labor, environmental, health, and social justice groups that have come together to support the legislation and to make sure Seattle’s growth works for everyone.


ABG Teamsters vote overwhelmingly to approve new contract

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Teamsters at ABG, who score among the highest in the nation for their customer service, voting yes on a strong contract.


Teamsters at Avis Budget Group, Inc who work at SeaTac Airport have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new 5-year contract. The group of approximately 150 customer service agents and sales representatives met last week to approve the proposal. They have been in bargaining since May of this year and even as the company was sluggish in their response, the group was successful in achieving wage and pension increases, sick leave improvements and bargaining unit work protections.

"As the economy is set to be shaky in the next few years, we value the security of a good contract."

“We are very happy to lock the wage increases in for five years,” said Sean Reis, a Teamster shop steward and a service agent at Avis. “As the economy is set to be shaky in the next few years, we value the security of a good contract.”

This group of Teamsters services millions of customers passing through SeaTac Airport. The pressure on them is high to keep lines of clients satisfied, yet their performance is top-notch and customer reviews rank them in the highest tier across the country. Teamsters at Avis feel this contract is a reflection of their hard work.

“I’ve worked here for 30 years,” concludes Reis. “This contract is among the best we’ve had.”