When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

Got Teamsters medical? Save on your 2019 medical expenses


Got Teamsters medical? You can save on your 2019 medical expenses by taking a confidential Health Assessment if you are covered under the Washington Teamsters Welfare Trust. 

Both you and your eligible spouse or covered domestic partner must take the Health Assessment between November 1 and December 15, 2018 to qualify for the reduction.

For members covered under plans A, B, C, and Z, your annual deductible in 2019 will be $200 less for individual coverage and up to $600 less for family coverage than if you do not take the assessment. 

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

To take the assessment, visit wateamsters.vivacity.com. If you don't have internet access, call Vivacity at 855-784-4562 to request a paper version. 

If you have questions, please talk to your union representative.

Veterans Day 2018: Honoring all who served


In honor of Veterans Day, we remember the service and the sacrifice of our brave Teamster Sisters and Brothers and all others who have served our country in the United States Armed Forces. We salute you & are forever grateful!

VIDEO: Teamsters assemble science kits for kids!

Thank you to the Teamsters at the Seattle School District who serve our teachers and our schools by assembling science kits for kids. Our members there are union proud & union strong!

Check out this video of them at work:

Audit leads to change in weapons law for DOC

As stated in a recent memo sent from the Department of Corrections to members of Teamsters 117, a new interpretation of the law that arose as a result of a WSP and FBI audit invalidates our Peace Officer Identification Cards effective immediately.

As a result, correctional employees who formerly met the requirements under the law are no longer able to carry concealed weapons without a concealed weapons license.  

This represents a blow to your right as a DOC employee to protect yourself in public, a right that our Teamsters union worked hard to achieve through a change in statute back in 2011.

Our Legislative Director, Brenda Wiest, is currently reviewing the statue in an effort to identify a legislative fix that will restore your right to carry a concealed weapon without the licensing requirement. Assuming a solution is viable, we will include this priority to our 2019 legislative agenda along with the other priorities we have identified: funding our 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement and achieving statutory interest arbitration rights for DOC.

As always, your participation at our Lobby Day on February 26-27, 2019 and your engagement in Olympia this legislative session will be critical to achieving these priorities. We will keep you posted as soon as we have more information.


Welcome, Fallon Schumsky, our union’s new staff attorney!

Fallon_18.jpgWelcome, Fallon Schumsky, our union’s new attorney and former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) field attorney, to our Teamsters staff!

Fallon is a Northwest native and graduate of the UW School of Law, but spent the first part of her career in Philadelphia, where she investigated unfair labor practices, prosecuted violations of the National Labor Relations Act, and ran NLRB elections. “I loved my work at the Board,” she says. “It’s where I learned the importance of collective bargaining and of union members having a voice.”

"I learned the importance of collective bargaining and of union members having a voice."

Balancing a busy legal career with her passion for community activism, Fallon managed to carve out time to serve on the board of directors of a Philadelphia non-profit that provides legal services to low-income immigrant families. She also rallied her friends and co-workers to join her on a team that bicycled from Philly to Atlantic City to raise money to fight cancer.

Raised in the farmlands of the Cascade foothills, Fallon grew up showing horses at the King County Fairgrounds in Enumclaw. An avid hiker and nature enthusiast, she loved Philly for its grit and diversity but missed the beauty of the Pacific Northwest during her stint on the East Coast.

She also yearned to become more of an advocate for workers than her job at the NLRB would allow. “When I met John and Tracey, I could see their passion for their members. I wanted to be directly involved in that.”

As our union’s new staff attorney, Fallon will work with General Counsel, Tracey Thompson, on handling arbitrations and unfair labor practice litigation and on providing legal guidance on behalf of the Local 117 membership.

We are thrilled to welcome Fallon to our team and wish her all the best!

Teamsters at the City of Tacoma flex their muscle


Teamsters who work at the City of Tacoma showed up in force at City Hall last night to stand for fair pay, equity, and respect.

Members testified to the fact that the City’s revenues are healthy & Teamsters are doing high quality work that serves the community and supports local families.

City of Tacoma, let's honor our public servants!

Vanessa Lamb Joins Our Staff


Welcome to our new Teamster staff member Vanessa Lamb!

Before starting with Teamsters, Vanessa worked as an Administrator for the WA State Building and Construction Trades Council Pre-Apprenticeship & Construction Education (PACE), a training program focused on preparing people for construction careers.

We are excited to have Vanessa on our team, and we wish her the best of luck!

DOC holiday meetings start in November. Full schedule here!

Join us for our 2018 Holiday Membership Meetings for Teamsters at DOC. At the meetings, we will be discussing:

  • the interest arbitration award & our contract
  • our 2019 legislative agenda
  • Lobby Day 2019 and getting our contract funded
  • keeping our union strong with open shop

You can view days, times, and facilities below. Click on the link to your facility to RSVP.

AHCC Thursday November 29 0630, 0830, 1230, 1420, 1600 
CBCC Wednesday November 28 0600, 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100
CCCC Thursday November 15 0620, 1200, 1410, 1530
CI HQ Friday November 16 1300, 1430
CRCC Thursday November 15 0600, 0830, 1100, 1230, 1415, 1600, 1815
DOC HQ Monday December 3 0900-1100
LCC Tuesday November 27 0620, 1200, 1300, 1410, 1530
Maple Lane Pharmacy Wednesday November 28 1130, 1230
MCC Friday December 7 0630, 0930, 1130, 1430, 1630
MCCCW Friday November 15-16 11/15 at 2100, 11/16 at 1130, 1300, and 1410 
MICC Wednesday November 14 1000, 1500
OCC Thursday November 29 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100
SCCC Tuesday November 13 0500, 0615, 1130, 1415, 1630
SWRBO Monday December 10 1100
WCC Wednesday December 12 1100, 1230, 1410, 1600, 2100, 2200
WCCW Wednesday December 5 0620, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1530
WSP Tuesday November 27 0530, 0645, 0800, 1130, 1430, 1630


Rideshare wage calculator exposes hidden costs of driving for Uber and Lyft


Uber and Lyft drivers attending a Driver Summit event today sponsored by the App-Based Drivers Association got a first look at a Rideshare Wage Calculator developed in partnership with Teamsters 117. The new tool, which can be accessed at www.drivercalculator.org, deducts common expenses such as gas, vehicle maintenance, and insurance from a driver’s weekly gross earnings to calculate estimated hourly pay. Drivers can compare their pay to the Seattle minimum wage and other types of jobs.

"The Rideshare Wage Calculator gives you a realistic calculation of your pay."

“The Rideshare Wage Calculator gives you a realistic calculation of your pay,” said Hari Lama, who has driven for Uber and Lyft for two years. “It reflects my experience that our pay has been decreasing over time and that the commission rates these companies are taking are too high. We need to be compensated fairly so we can earn a living wage.”

The methodology used to develop the Calculator is based on the work of Larry Mishel, a distinguished fellow at the Economic Policy Institute, who analyzed driver pay in his report Uber and the Labor Market published earlier this year. "It is important that every 'rideshare driver' accurately assess their earnings and be able to compare them to other workers on an apples-to-apples basis. This wage calculator provides just that tool," Mishel said.

Drivers at the meeting brought their concerns over high commission rates, decreasing pay, deactivation, and a lack of protection for workers to Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, who committed to work with others on the Council to develop new policies to raise standards in the industry.

“We need to establish policies to ensure that drivers in the for-hire transportation industry enjoy the same rights and protections as other workers in our City – the right to free association, the right to stand together in a union, and protections by Seattle’s sick and safe leave and minimum wage laws,” Councilmember Mosqueda said.

In April, the City Council passed a resolution to study data in the for-hire industry and explore equitable compensation for drivers, improve customer service, and ensure equal market access to all stakeholders. “Uber income is going down and our expenses are going up,” said Abebe Ephrem, who has been driving for Uber and Lyft since they entered the Seattle market in 2012. “The drivers have lives, they have apartments, they have families. The City needs policies so that we can be treated with respect, like human beings.”

Uber is near the top of companies in Washington State whose workers rely on food stamps to feed their families. According to a recent study by JP Morgan/Chase, average monthly earnings among active for-hire drivers in the first quarter of 2018 were 53 percent lower than their peak in the first quarter of 2014.

“The public should not be subsidizing billion dollar companies in a race to the bottom in driver pay,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “Seattle needs to follow New York's lead and pass legislation to guarantee that drivers can earn a living wage.”


DOC Guardian: Unions are the foundation of freedom

Guardian_web.jpgThe new issue of our DOC Guardian newsletter is hot off the press!

Get caught up on our interest arbitration award, the new DOC contract, and our upcoming Teamsters lobby day on February 26-27 of next year.

You can also read about our new Membership Benefits Plus program and a shop steward at Airway Heights who hosted a barbecue to educate her co-workers about how to keep our union strong in a post-Janus world. 

Check out a PDF of the Guardian online here. Print copies will be available for members at the facilities over the next few weeks.

DOC Teamsters in Walla Walla interview candidate for the 16th legislative district

Wes_WilsonIn early October, a group of member leaders and Teamster staff spent several days at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla to discuss with members the recent interest arbitration award and how to keep our union strong in the post-Janus environment.

One evening, the group took time out to interview Skyler Rude, who is seeking our union’s endorsement. Skyler is running as a republican for a state house seat in the 16th Legislative District, which spans Walla Walla to Pasco and most of south Benton County.

Teamster Wesley Wilson, a corrections officer of 11 years at the Pen, was one of a handful of members who joined in the interview process and ultimately recommended an endorsement. We recently caught up with Wes to get his take on the candidate, the endorsement process, and politics in general.

Why do you think it’s important for our union to be involved in politics?
We have to be involved with politics because the legislature decides whether to fund our contract. We’ve got to have that political pull on both sides of the aisle. Whether it be democrats or republicans, we need to get people to understand the work that we do because it’s a dangerous job.

Was there anything that surprised you about the interview process or how our union endorses political candidates?
The surprising part for me was that I could be part of the process and give my perspective as someone who’s not a union representative. I didn’t think I could be included and that obviously was not the case.

What do you think our political priorities should be ahead of this next legislative session, especially for DOC Teamsters?
We need to make sure we’re reaching out to both political parties. A lot of people on the eastern side of the state fall on the more conservative side. So extending a hand across the aisle to get other republicans to see the value of what the union does for workers is a good deal.

What impressed you about Skyler Rude? Why did you recommend endorsing him?
He realizes the benefit and value of having worker rights and protections. I was very impressed by that. He is not going to say something that he doesn’t believe in just to get votes. I appreciate that honesty. He seems willing to speak his mind, vote the way he thinks is right, not just along party lines.

What would you say to a member who might be interested in getting involved in our union’s political program?
Being a union member, a Teamster, you do have a say. You have a say in addressing politicians or issues with the contract. We would have much more power and leverage if more people got involved. That’s what I took away from this – I felt like I had a voice, that my vote counted.

Teamster Talk: The Power of Solidarity

Fall_Talk_2018_Cover.jpgThe fall issue of Teamster Talk is here!

Read about the story of amazing solidarity that helped a shop steward get his position back after the company took advantage of immigration backlogs to terminate him. Then find out how a bus driver at the port of Seattle used her creativity to cultivate solidarity with her co-workers who are constantly on the road.

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.

Organizing Win! Americold clerical staff vote to become Teamsters


Congratulations and welcome to a group of clerical staff at Americold who have voted overwhelmingly to become Teamsters. 

The group came together earlier this year to win retirement security, a voice on the job, and respect. Their NLRB union election took place today at the company's cold storage facility in Fife.

"I want to have someone to fall back on and defend my rights in the workplace."

"I support forming a union with the Teamsters because I want to have someone to fall back on and defend my rights in the workplace," said Allison Knight, who works in inventory control.

The clerical group joins a hundred of their Teamster Sisters and Brothers who work in the warehouse at the Fife facility. 

"Congratulations to our newest members. We're excited to welcome them to our union," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117.  "As members of Teamsters 117, we can all gain inspiration from the strength and determination these workers showed to stand together and win a voice on the job." 


VIDEO: The Power of Solidarity

Shop steward Van Huyhn was unjustly terminated by his Coca Cola employer, but his co-workers stood in solidarity to expedite his return to work.

Humane Society Teamsters Vote Yes and Merge Under New Contract


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.