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Teamsters 117 Wire

Arbitrator rules in favor of Teamsters in UNFI relocation case

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UNFI Teamsters in Tacoma protest the company's failure to make timely health and welfare and retirement payments to the Trust. 


Teamsters at UNFI’s warehouse in Tacoma celebrated yesterday after an arbitrator ruled that union members shall be allowed to transfer to Centralia under the same terms and conditions that they have in Tacoma. The arbitrator also awarded transfer rights and back pay to any employees who are facing layoffs, which are scheduled to start at the facility later this week.

“I’m prouder to be a Teamster now than I’ve ever been in 30 years,” said Greg Wiest, a shop steward and forklift driver at the facility. “This is not only big for us, but it’s big for the entire labor movement. The talk in the warehouse since the decision is that a lot of us will be going down to Centralia. We’re pretty excited – morale’s way up today. Now we know that we have a job.”

"I’m prouder to be a Teamster now than I’ve ever been in 30 years."

Earlier in the year, UNFI announced that it would be shutting down the Tacoma warehouse and moving operations to a new facility in Centralia. The union filed a grievance after UNFI refused to honor clear contract language that laid out the terms and conditions of the move. The contract states: “…all employees working under the terms of this agreement at the old facility shall be afforded the opportunity to work at the new facility under the same terms and conditions and without any loss of seniority or other contractual rights or benefits.”


Massachusetts Teamsters on strike at Republic Services extend picket lines to Seattle

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Teamsters from Local 25 in Massachusetts on strike at Republic Services have extended picket lines to multiple locations across the Puget Sound region. Our members who work at Republic are standing in solidarity with the striking workers and honoring their picket line.

Read more from our Teamsters International Union below:

Massachusetts Teamsters on strike at Republic Services extend picket lines to Seattle

Sanitation workers on strike at Republic Services in Marshfield, Mass., extended their picket line to Seattle this morning. Approximately 250 Republic Services/Allied Waste workers throughout the Puget Sound area—members of Teamsters Local 38, Local 117, Local 174 and Local 763—exercised their right to honor the picket line.

The striking workers, members of Teamsters Local 25 in Boston, began their strike on August 29 after Republic refused to agree to a contract with a livable wage and affordable health care. On average, the striking sanitation workers are paid 40 percent below what it takes to make a living wage in Massachusetts for a family with one adult and one child, according to the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator. 

“Republic Services set a record last year with almost $3 billion in profits,” said striking Republic employee Bernie Egan-Mullen. “But instead of providing safe working conditions and industry-standard health care and retirement plans, the company is using its record profits to pay out huge salaries to its executives and huge dividends to its shareholders.” 

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is Republic Services’ biggest shareholder. His personal investment manager, Michael Larson, sits on Republic’s Board of Directors. 

“That’s why we’re here in Seattle,” Egan-Mullen said. “Bill Gates gets over $100 million in stock dividends alone from Republic each year, yet meanwhile we are on the picket line for a living wage. “Sanitation work is the fifth-most dangerous job in America. Sanitation workers are two times as likely to die on the job as police officers and nearly seven times more likely to die on the job than firefighters,” said Sean O’Brien, President of Teamsters Local 25 and Teamsters International Vice President.

“This company has forced quite a few strikes in cities across  America over the past few years, when it has violated federal labor laws and has refused to address conditions of inequality and unsafe conditions.” 

The Teamsters represent over 7,000 Republic Services workers across the country. Recently, hundreds of Republic sanitation workers in Northern and Southern California represented by Teamsters Local 350 and 396 voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike against the company. 

Last month, Republic sanitation workers represented by Teamsters Local 728 went on strike in Cumming, Georgia, to protest the company's violations of federal laws that protect workers' rights. 

Recent calculations show that workers in 10 cities with a combined population of over 1 million residents are currently in contract negotiations with Republic Services, and that Teamsters in 31 cities with a combined population of over 6 million residents have the right to honor picket lines. 

Media Contact:
Sean Martin
617-756-7474  

 


Uber and Lyft drivers speak out in support of 'Fare Share' priorities

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At a press conference at City Hall on Wednesday, Uber and Lyft drivers urged the Seattle City Council to support their ‘Fare Share’ priorities to establish a minimum pay standard with driver input, combat unwarranted deactivations, and fund driver support services and other community investments through a 51 cent tax on the ride-hail giants.

At the event, drivers shared stories of how declining pay, a lack of basic labor protections, and sudden deactivation without recourse has impacted their livelihoods.  

“Since I started driving for Uber, my pay has been cut in half," said Sukhchain Banwait who started driving for Uber in 2013. "But while driver pay has gone down, Uber charges my customers more and more and pockets the difference. I'm glad the City is looking at establishing a fair minimum pay standard to stop the race to the bottom in driver pay." 

"I'm glad the City is looking at establishing a fair minimum pay standard to stop the race to the bottom in driver pay."

According to the Federal Reserve, 58% of gig economy workers cannot afford a $400 emergency expense. This means that thousands of drivers in Seattle are one vehicle repair away from an economic crisis. Drivers are especially vulnerable when they can be wrongly terminated by Uber and Lyft without recourse.

“Many drivers are suffering from unfair deactivations, leaving us with expensive car payments but without income to support our families,” said Mohamed Aria, one of the first Uber drivers in Seattle.  “Drivers are the ones who built this business, and we deserve to be treated fairly.”

Speaking in support of the drivers’ priorities, City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda highlighted the need for an impartial process for drivers to appeal unfair deactivations. “I’ve heard from countless drivers who have been unjustly deactivated,” Councilmember Mosqueda said. "When you have a job, particularly a job that requires tens of thousands of dollars of investment, asking for a fair process for adjudicating deactivations is a necessary first step.”


DOC Custody Staff: Vote to expand DOC uniform options!

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VOTING IS NOW OPEN FOR DOC CUSTODY STAFF TO EXPAND UNIFORM OPTIONS!

After long, challenging negotiations, our union's uniform committee, consisting of union staff and rank-and-file members from DOC facilities across the state, has bargained a tentative agreement to expand available options with respect to your DOC uniforms.

If approved by Teamsters 117 members who are custody staff, the negotiated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) would grant those members the ability to wear polo shirts as a DOC uniform option. Polo shirts, as with other uniform options, would be provided by the Department at no cost to custody staff. Under the agreement, members would retain the option to wear BDU-style shirts.

VOTE HERE!

Since this would constitute a change to Article 36, Uniforms, Tools, and Equipment, of our 2019-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement, custody members who are required to wear uniforms at work will have an opportunity to vote on the agreement.

You must be a member of Teamsters 117 in order to vote. If you are not a member and would like to vote on this change, please complete the online membership application here and submit it by September 30.

Voting will take place online and by telephone from September 30, 2019 at 8 a.m. through Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 5 p.m. View voting documents and instructions below:

Thank you to the members below who worked incredibly hard to achieve expanded uniform options for custody staff at the DOC. If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to one of the members on the committee or your Union Representative.

  • Elizabeth Beaber, WCCW
  • Stephen Bolinger, CRCC
  • Lloyd Bookter, CBCC
  • Reginald Braswell, CCCC
  • Edwin Gonzalez, MCC
  • Angela Henneman, SCCC
  • Corey Schmidt, WSP
  • Gordon Sprague, MCCCW
  • Jami Todd, CRCC
  • Douglas Vincent, WCC

Thank you for your service. Please stay safe.


Postings going up for DOC Shop Stewards - check your union boards

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At the end of September, we will be posting for new Shop Stewards on union bulletin boards at all Department of Corrections facilities across the state.

Our Shop Stewards play an essential role in ensuring that our union is strong and effective.

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

The next two-year term for newly-elected Shop Stewards begins on January 1, 2020 and ends on December 31, 2021.

If you are interested in the position, please watch your union bulletin board for the posting and sign up. If multiple people are interested in a single position at your facility, an advisory vote will be conducted with the membership. If you have questions, please talk to your Union Representative.

The dates that postings will go up and elections will be held, if necessary, are as follows:

FACILITY POSTINGS GO UP ELECTION IF NECESSARY
AHCC Sept. 30 Oct. 17
CBCC Sept. 30 Oct. 18
CCCC Sept. 30 Oct. 22
CI HQ Sept. 30 Oct. 30
CRCC Sept. 30 Oct. 15
DOC HQ Sept. 30 Oct. 28
LCC Sept. 30 Oct. 25
Maple Lane Pharmacy Sept. 30 Oct. 22
MCC Sept. 30 Oct. 22
MCCCW Sept. 30 Oct. 25
MICC Sept. 30 Oct. 29
OCC Sept. 30 Oct. 17
SCCC Oct. 1 Oct. 21
SWRBO Sept. 30 Oct. 24
WCC Sept. 30 Oct. 21
WCCW Sept. 30 Oct. 21
WSP Sept. 30 Oct. 17

 


Talk of the Fall

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Follow the story of tireless Teamster who never missed a day of work at the warehouse he considers his second home, read about a group of Teamster women fighting daily to protect victims of domestic violence and discover an incredible result of a 3 year fight at Leadpoint where workers got $686K of stolen wages back.

TEAMSTER TALK NEWSLETTER - CLICK HERE!

You can find an electronic version here or talk to your rep or shop steward to get a hard copy at work. 


Guardian Newsletter: Teamster Heroes

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The fall issue of our DOC Guardian newsletter is hot off the press!

In this issue, you'll find a story about a true Teamster hero, William Flores, who apprehended a runaway inmate from the Olympic Corrections Center near Forks. 

You'll also find articles about the work of our DOC Retirement Committee and news about the independent audit report that identified severe staffing shortages in WA State prisons.

Guardian newsletter - Click Here

Print copies will be distributed at your facility over the next few weeks.


Congrats to John Scearcy and the current Executive Board who will continue to lead our Union!

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Meet your Teamsters 117 Executive Board (from l to r): Alfredo Espino, Dave Roberts, Brenda Wiest, John Scearcy, Michelle Woodrow, Robin Robinson, Scott Anderson


At our General Membership Meeting last night, our Union held its nominations meeting in a packed Union hall in Tukwila for all Teamsters 117 Executive Board positions.

Congratulations to John Scearcy, Local 117’s current Secretary-Treasurer together with Michelle Woodrow, our current President, along with our Union's entire Executive Board! Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy and his team were nominated by the members to continue to lead our Union for the next three years. With no other nominations at the meeting, a union election at Teamsters 117 is not necessary.

“I am honored and humbled to continue to serve the members of this great Union,” Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy said. “We will continue to fight to bargain strong contracts and to expand the wages and benefits of all members of Teamsters 117. We'll also work to build stronger communities where all workers and their families can thrive.

"Our overarching goal is to build power and unity to improve lives and lift up our communities."

“Our overarching goal is to build power and unity to improve lives and lift up our communities so that working people of all stripes have a fighting chance to make a better life for themselves and their families. 

“Thank you to everyone who believed in our vision for a better future for members of Teamsters 117. We are grateful to you and to all of our members who work so hard to support their families and make our union strong.”

The Teamsters 117 Executive Board includes:

  • John Scearcy – Secretary-Treasurer
  • Michelle Woodrow – President
  • Brenda Wiest – Vice President
  • Dave Roberts – Recording Secretary
  • Scott Anderson – Trustee
  • Alfredo Espino – Trustee
  • Robin Robinson – Trustee

Seattle drivers support proposal to raise pay and address unwarranted deactivations

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Seattle Uber and Lyft drivers responded favorably to a proposal put forth by Mayor Jenny Durkan today to raise driver pay and allow drivers to appeal unwarranted deactivations. The Mayor’s plan would engage the driver community in developing a fair pay standard. It would also give drivers who have been terminated from a TNC platform access to a hearing with representation before an appeals panel.

“Drivers should not be fired by an algorithm without recourse,” said Mohamed Aria, who was one of the first Uber drivers in the Seattle market. “I helped Uber build their business, even referring my own customers. But after 6 years of high ratings and maximum customer satisfaction, I was deactivated without reason. It has been a year now since I lost the ability to work and support my family. The Uber staff at the local office have no answers. I applaud the Mayor for putting labor standards for drivers – including accountability and the right to appeal unfair deactivations – back on the city’s agenda.”

Mayor Durkan announced the proposal at a press conference at the Yesler Community Center on Thursday along with a plan to implement a fee on all TNC trips in the city. Revenue from the proposed fee would fund investments in driver support services, and community investments in affordable housing and transit improvements.

"We’re not going to stop organizing until we earn a living wage."

“All Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle: we are here today, seeing progress, because drivers have been organizing and fighting back,” said Peter Kuel, a Lyft driver for over 5 years and steering committee member of the App-Based Drivers Association, which is affiliated with Teamsters 117. “As drivers, we bear all of the expenses of operation and all of the risks on the road, and we’re not going to stop organizing until we earn a living wage.”

According to the Federal Reserve, 58% of gig economy workers cannot afford a $400 emergency expense. This means that thousands of drivers in Seattle are one vehicle repair away from an economic crisis. Seattle’s more than 30,000 Uber and Lyft drivers – many of whom are immigrants and people of color for whom driving is their only source of income – lack minimum wage protections or paid sick leave and other worker benefits.

“Uber and Lyft drivers in Seattle provide important transportation services to our community and should earn a living wage,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “Drivers are looking forward to participating in a wage study to provide real data to study leaders so that drivers are compensated for their expenses, can afford benefits, and are paid fairly.”


Praxair Teamsters gear up for possible strike

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Praxair Teamsters in Tacoma are ready to fight to defend their livelihoods.


The streets of Tacoma were a little louder early this morning. Starting at 3 a.m., a few dozen Teamsters, drivers and production workers employed at Praxair, took their fight for a fair contract to their employer's front door.

"Praxair, Praxair you can't hide - we can see your greedy side!" the group chanted as they circled outside the two entrances of the company's gated distribution facility. With Just Practicing signs slung across their shoulders, members are gearing up for a possible strike at the company. Many expressed frustration at their employer's substandard proposals in negotiations.

"We're ready to strike if necessary."

"The company is stalling and trying to take things away from us that they should be paying for - good medical, holiday pay, and a secure retirement," said Ric Shuttleworth, a 29-year production filler and shop steward on our union negotiations committee. "We're ready to strike if necessary."

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Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy gathers up signs after "Just Practicing" picketing action.


Shuttleworth's counterpart on our union team is Brian Bruton. Bruton spends his day hauling heavy containers of industrial gasses to Seattle-area hospitals. For Bruton, one of the company's most insulting proposals is their attempt to use Washington State's new sick leave law as an excuse to strip away his co-workers' holiday pay. 

"I think it's completely unfair," he says.  "We're not asking for the moon - we just want fair wages, good union medical, and we're not going to give up our holiday."

After several rounds of negotiations and a unanimous strike authorization vote, the group will be heading into federal mediation tomorrow looking to secure just that.

UNFI TEAMSTERS STAND IN SOLIDARITY

Joining in solidarity with the Praxair picketers were several Local 117 members from UNFI's Supervalu warehouse just a stone's throw away. With UNFI implementing layoffs and relocating its Tacoma and Auburn facilities, members there know firsthand the challenges of working for an employer that puts shareholder profits above their workforce.  

"We're coming out here to support our brothers and sisters," said UNFI steward Darren Sorrell. Fellow steward Greg Wiest added, "We're going through a labor dispute too, so we know what they're feeling like."

The two pledged to bring reinforcements if mediation fails. "Our members - both at Praxair and UNFI - know what it takes to win back respect from an employer intent on maximizing profits at all costs," said Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy, who led the group in chants this morning. "We're prepared to fight, and the great thing about our union is that we have each others' backs."  

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UNFI stewards Greg Wiest and Darren Sorrell rise early to support their fellow Teamsters.


DOC Teamsters: Take the retirement committee survey!

During our last DOC Retirement Committee meeting, members of the committee developed a survey to solicit your feedback about retirement. 

The survey takes just a few minutes to complete and will help the committee make policy recommendations, which is the first step toward improving benefits.

Take the survey now!

Once the results are in, the committee will research what is fiscally and politically feasible and what will have the greatest impact on the membership as a whole.

As this process unfolds, we will continue to keep you updated on the work of the committee.

We are asking that you complete the survey by no later than September 16, 2019. Thank you!


DOC staffing level audit calls for additional positions in WA prisons

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You may recall that DOC Teamsters, working in concert with our union's Legislative Affairs Department, successfully lobbied the legislature to secure funding in 2018 for a comprehensive staffing level audit at the DOC. 

At the time, the DOC had been operating under a staffing model that had not been reviewed in 30 years. An external audit was the first step in addressing insufficient staffing levels in our State's prisons. 

That external review of the Department, conducted by CGL Companies, is now complete and the company has published a report with a number of important findings.

As suspected, the audit revealed that the Department is significantly understaffed in several areas. The report concluded, for example, that an additional 250 custody staff are required above levels funded and that there are severe shortages in a number of non-custody areas as well.

You can review the entire DOC Prison Staffing Model Report here.

This week a group of rank-and-file members and union staff met with the State at our Union Hall in Tukwila to hear DOC's assessment of the audit. The Department indicated that they are developing a plan to request additional positions from the legislature.

Our union's Political Department is also in the process of developing a strategy for working with the legislature, in coordination with the Department, to begin securing funding for additional positions to meet current demand as recommended by the audit.

Needless to say, we'll need your help and an excellent turnout at next year's Lobby Day to make sure our legislators understand that DOC is severely understaffed and how that impacts staff safety.


Workers win $686,000 in backpay from Republic Services sub-contractor Leadpoint

Margarita Martinez fought to win a massive settlement for her co-workers at Leadpoint/Republic.


At the Republic Services recycling depot in downtown Seattle, members of Teamsters 117 process thousands of tons of paper, metals, and plastics daily. Trucks snake into the 3rd and Lander facility to dump their loads, which our members bulldoze and bundle for rail transport to locations across the West.

An essential part of the work requires careful sorting of the materials. Republic subcontractor, Leadpoint, employs hundreds at the Seattle facility to perform this work. This painstaking, dirty, and dangerous job has resulted in serious industrial accidents. In 2015, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries fined Leadpoint $77,600 for serious safety violations at its Material Recovery Center in Vancouver, WA.

In 2016, our union discovered something else: Leadpoint was treating its Seattle employees like garbage, and Republic Services was complicit in the abuse. Workers were locked out of bathrooms, forced to change into their gear in the parking lot, and paid below Seattle’s minimum wage standards. Leadpoint employees who tried to organize a union were subjected to harassment and intimidation.

Margarita Martinez was one of those workers. An ardent union supporter, Martinez was sent home by company management without pay on several occasions. Neither Leadpoint nor Republic could offer a good explanation for the discipline.


Teamsters help protect survivors of domestic violence

Members in King County's domestic violence advocacy program go out of their way to help people in crisis.


The face of the domestic violence advocacy program in King County is one of deep compassion. Thank you notes from clients are pinned to the wall of the advocates’ office in the Regional Justice Center in Kent expressing profound gratitude to the women who work there.

"I have such gratitude for your knowledge and presence."

One former victim writes, “I want to thank all of you for your help. I don’t even know any of your names, yet I have such gratitude for your knowledge and presence...” Some victims will reach out years after their case has been resolved or approach their advocates to thank them in the street.

“When you hear that people have moved on with their lives in a successful way – that’s rewarding,” says Sanetta Hunter, who has worked at the agency for more than 20 years.

Advocates often receive thank you mail from people who have been the victims of domestic violence.


In the United States, about one in three women experiences some form of abuse, including assault, rape, harassment and stalking. In 2018, there were nearly three thousand domestic violence cases filed in King County alone. Advocates in Kent and in the agency’s Seattle office provided assistance at 5,798 hearings and helped victims obtain 1,271 protection orders through the courts. It is an astonishing volume of work for the 20 Teamsters employed in the program.


Take the Survey! Help identify important issues ahead of 2020 election

The 2020 election is right around the corner and as union members we want to make sure candidates are listening to our issues.

Our International Teamsters Union has put together a short survey to help identify issues that are most important to members like you. 

The survey asks you to rate the importance of things like retirement security, health care, and preserving collective bargaining. Will you take the survey? 

Issues our union identifies will help us hold politicians accountable and ensure that candidates on both sides of the political aisle are addressing the needs of working families.

Thank you for your participation!