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Teamsters 117 Wire

Join us for our Teamsters Public Services Townhall - Thurs, May 7


Our International Union will be holding a Townhall meeting for Public Services members, including all Teamsters 117 members working in corrections, public safety as well as county and municipal employees. 

The meeting will take place on Thursday, May 7 at 12 noon (PST) using Zoom, an online video conferencing platform. 

The meeting will feature General President James P. Hoffa, Public Services Division Director Jason Rabinowitz as well as IBT staff.

We'll have an overview of the rights and benefits available to public service workers under the Families First Act and the CARES Acts. Members will also have the opportunity to hear about our Union’s fight for assistance to public employers as part of the next Congressional stimulus package and how they can get involved to protect our jobs and crucial public services.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar. If you can’t join the video portion, then call-in information will also be sent by email after you register online.

We hope you will join the Teamsters Public Services Division as we go over COVID-19 resources and our next steps in the wake of this unprecedented national crisis.

Workers Memorial Day 2020 - A Day to Honor Workers

Today is Workers' Memorial Day, a day to honor and commemorate workers who have died on the job. 

These are workers like 59-year-old Samina Hameed, a Metro bus driver, who died of COVID-19 earlier this month and 13 meat industry workers who died after exposure to COVID-19 at work.

In the midst of a global pandemic, never before has the fight for healthy and safe workplaces been more important.

At Teamsters 117, healthcare members, public safety employees, grocery warehouse workers, waste haulers, delivery drivers, cold and food service workers, and so many more of you are putting your lives on the line every day to protect the public, provide critical services, and keep the supply chain moving. 

We are grateful to you for your service. 

Since the beginning of this outbreak, our Union Representatives and Shop Stewards have been working overtime to fight for more paid sick leave, access to personal protective equipment, and appreciation pay for essential workers.

If you have a safety concern at work, you can contact your Union Representative through our Union's website. 

With our Teamsters 117 Emergency Resource Guide, we have also been working to put members in touch with critical community services so that you can get the help you need. In our guide, you'll find public health information, food assistance, childcare for essential workers, resources for union families, mental health assistance, and much more. 

This is a challenging time for all of us. Now more than ever it's important to stick together, support and care for each other, and show gratitude and appreciation for the essential workers who are risking their lives to feed, serve, and protect us.

Because of you, we will emerge from this crisis stronger and more united than ever in our mission to improve the lives of working families and lift up our communities.

FAQ - How taxis and flat rate drivers can apply for unemployment

Our union has been advocating in Olympia and Washington D.C. to make sure taxi and flat-rate drivers are eligible for unemployment benefits. Our work is starting to pay off! Drivers are starting to receive benefits through Washington State's Employment Security Department.

This is the latest as of Monday, April 20, on what you need to know to apply. Be sure to access more detailed instructions on our emergency Unemployment Guide here.

1. I already applied, do I need to apply again?

No. Log on to your account, and look for Covid-19 PUA Claim in your alerts. Have your 2019 tax return or other documentation of your earnings ready to upload. For the full unemployment guide, go here.

2. The website is crashing or it's timing out. What do I do?

Website and phone lines are experiencing tens of thousands of hits, and that is causing problems. Try at off-hours, and always save your application before moving on to the next screen so you don’t lose your work. 

3. What do I need before I apply?

Documentation of your 2019 earnings. You will also need an estimate of your net earnings for each quarter.

4. Do I need to file my 2019 taxes before I apply?

No. You can provide your tax documentation or other documentation of your earnings that you would rely upon to calculate your income.

5. What do I list as my primary occupation?

Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs. (Code 53-3041.00)

6. What date should I start my claim?

You should start your claim on the first day you began losing work due to Covid-19. You may be eligible for back pay back to the first date of your eligibility.

7. How much will I receive?

If you normally work full-time, you should receive $235 per week plus $600 per week benefit enhancement. Once your earnings are reviewed, you may receive up to $1,390 per week including back pay starting from your date of eligibility.

8. I made a mistake on my application. What do I do?

Call ESD on their toll-free number 1-800-318-6022. You should expect long wait times.

9. Should I request "Standby"?

No. The job search requirement is waived, so you should not request “Standby”.

10. I finished my application and was approved. Do I need to do anything else?

File a claim every week to keep getting paid.

Teamsters at Capitol City Press Redefine Printing to Create Medical Face Shields


Ryan Murray, head of wide-format digital department, demonstrating a face shield he designed in an incredible two days.

On a Sunday evening, when Ryan Murray, a Teamster at Capitol City Press, saw a message from his co-worker asking if their printing facilities could be used to help medical workers, he couldn’t have imagined that by Tuesday he would have designed and produced with his team 100 innovative emergency face shields.

Capitol City Press is an employee-owned print shop near Olympia, Washington. Like with many other industries in the face of the “stay-at-home” orders, their business dropped sharply.  Teamsters and non-represented employees came together and agreed to reduce everyone’s hours to 30hr/week, and to apply for Washington State’s SharedWork Program to try to maintain their wages.

"We'll make it through this."

With the need for protective masks on the rise, their large-format printing equipment used to produce signs out of material other than paper, was repurposed to create face shields designed by Ryan. The tricky part was that medical face shields are usually attached to an elastic headband, but that material wasn’t one that their equipment could work with.

Ryan, who formerly worked as a design engineer, took the challenge head on. “Great design comes from great necessity,” he quoted. “I thought about it all night. My constraints were the time and minimal amount of material, but I’m pretty proud of what we came up with.”

In the end, the face shields were cut out of food-grade clear plastic into one whole piece that secured around the head. The demand of these new shields was almost instantaneous, and in a week and a half, 3000 were made and distributed.

They mostly went to medical facilities and grocery stores, but they were also purchased privately to be donated to nurses. The feedback the team at Capitol City Press received was wonderful, so the design was improved and sent for FDA approval.

The shop is now poised to produce another 3000 shields in a similarly tight timeline, yet the work has ramped up back to 40hr/week.

“We are an employee-owned shop, and as worker-owners we have a stake in the success of this place. With our union contract, we have access to good vacation and sick leave benefits that folks have been using to weather this crisis. So far we have done really well,” said Mike Martens, a shop steward of 14 years throughout which he has worn many hats at the press shop.

As Teamsters at Capitol City are coming together to lift each other and serve their community in a global pandemic, they are hopeful. “We’ll make it through this,” concludes Ryan Murray.

Honoring our Telecommunicators at a time of national crisis


Sisters and Brothers -

As National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week comes to an end, I want to take a moment to thank you and highlight all of you that have chosen this profession.

When people talk about our first responders, many leave out an essential, highly-skilled group of workers - Telecommunicators - whose service is especially valuable at this time of crisis.

As Teamsters 911 personnel, you often serve as the first, critical point of contact with the public seeking relief in the event of emergency. You work behind the scenes to ensure the safety of the public and protect our police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel by monitoring their activities by radio and providing them with vital information.

Covid-19 has not only increased the call volume at our 911 centers, it has made your work more challenging as people deal with the stressors of life during a global pandemic. 

"In the midst of a national emergency, your work is more vital than ever."

We all owe tremendous gratitude to you for your dedication, commitment, and professionalism. In the midst of a national emergency, your work is more vital than ever.

As someone who worked as a 911 dispatcher for 20 years, I know the pressures of the job and the challenges you face. You perform heroic work, but often receive little recognition for the life-saving services you provide. 

Thank you again for the amazing work you do on behalf of the public.

In unity,

Michelle Woodrow
President and Executive Director

2020 Ann Gallagher Memorial Scholarship


The Ann Gallagher Memorial Scholarship is now accepting applications.

The deadline is FRIDAY, MAY 15th, 2020.

Required to qualify:

1.  Graduating High School Senior
2.  Sons or daughters of Teamsters 117 members are eligible
3.  Minimum 500 word essay on why this scholarship is important to you

View scholarship application and further details here.

Update for Teamsters working in law enforcement and emergency response


As public safety employees, your job puts you on the frontlines of our fight against this pandemic. To help reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure, we are working hard to ensure that employers are providing adequate paid time off to employees who are required to self-quarantine due to possible exposure to COVID-19.

Thanks to the efforts of many unions, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The Act requires public employers to provide two emergency leave benefits to employees:

Paid Sick Leave: Public employers are required to provide up to two weeks paid leave for employees to care for their own coronavirus related illness or quarantine, someone in their household who is ill with coronavirus or quarantined, a child that is home due to a coronavirus-related school closure or an unavailable child care provider.

Paid Family Leave: Public employers are required to provide up to twelve weeks of paid leave for employees if the employee is unable to work due to a need to care for their child because of a school or day care closure or because their child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus public health emergency.

Demand Sick Pay for Uber/Lyft Drivers


Update on Collective Bargaining Legislation for Uber and Lyft drivers


In 2015, the Seattle City Council passed a law that would give collective bargaining rights to Uber and Lyft drivers. Those drivers who were active in our Union's organizing efforts at the time remember a very contentious fight to get the law passed.

As soon as the law passed, Uber and Lyft, together with the Chamber of Commerce, filed a lawsuit to block the law from going into effect, denying drivers the right to bargain. That legal battle has raged on for years now with a lot of twists and turns. At one point, the City removed from the law the right to negotiate over compensation.

This past week, the Chamber dismissed their lawsuit “without prejudice.”  That means they can refile it again whenever they choose to and would likely do so if the City attempted to put the law into use, delaying it again.

Your Union has not been waiting for an outcome to the legal fight to do something about compensation while the City and the Chamber battled this out in the courts. We moved ahead with the Fare Share Plan to enact first-in-the-nation protections against unfair deactivation, set a living wage floor for drivers in the industry, and establish a worker organization that would provide representation for drivers as well as other benefits. 

The first part of the Fare Share Plan passed last year.  We will continue to fight to implement the law, raise driver pay, and bring new levels of protections and representation to the driver community through the Drivers Union affiliated with Teamsters 117.

Virtual DOC contract proposal meetings on April 15


To prepare for upcoming negotiations over our 2021-2023 collective bargaining agreement, we will be hosting virtual Contract Proposal Meetings for all DOC Teamsters.

The meetings will take place this Wednesday, April 15 at 0800, 1200, and 1600 using Zoom, an online video conferencing platform.

You will have the opportunity to participate in the meetings by video using your electronic device or by telephone. To register for a meeting, please click on one of the links below:


Wednesday, April 15 at 0800

Wednesday, April 15 at 1200

Wednesday, April 15 at 1600

To learn more about what we've achieved through contract negotiations and why it's so important for your voice to be included in the process, view our Stand for a Strong Contract tri-fold here.

Please contact your Union Representative if you have questions. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible this Wednesday!

Get the Help You Need: Resources in a Time of Crisis


In these uneasy times, if you find yourself in a stressful or physically threatening situation, or need to talk to someone, please consider using these 24/7 hotlines. 

  1. If you are a public safety employee, emergency services personnel or their family member, make a Safe Call Now to (206) 459-3020.
    It is a confidential, comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service nationwide.
  2. In a life crisis, reach out to counselors at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800) 273-8255.
  3. Staying at home may put vulnerable individuals at risk. If you or your loved one doesn't feel safe at home, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-7233, or text "LOVEIS" to 22522.
  4. If you are seeking help coping with drug or alcohol addiction, call the National Drug Helpline at 1(844) 289-0879.
  5. Connect with a crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line by texting "HOME" to 741741.

Corrections staff at MCC respond to emergency incident with professionalism


Michelle Woodrow, President and Executive Director of Teamsters 117, issued the following statement regarding the incident that took place last night at the Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC):

“We are extremely proud of our members’ response to the disturbance that occurred last night at the Monroe Correctional Complex. Despite the challenging nature of the incident and the large number of incarcerated individuals involved, corrections staff were able to secure the impacted parts of the facility in less than an hour.

Due to the swift and effective response of our members, the Department of Corrections is reporting no injuries to staff or the inmate population. We are grateful to the first responders – the Washington State Patrol, local law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs – who assisted our members in the rapid response to the incident.

At the Monroe facility and in prisons across our State, our members are working diligently to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are adhering to social distancing protocols, implementing initial screening of all people entering the prisons, and testing, treating, and isolating symptomatic individuals. They are working tirelessly to protect the health, safety and well-being of everyone in our State prison system.

These are stressful, frightening times for our entire community, especially so for essential corrections personnel and all incarcerated individuals. We owe tremendous gratitude to corrections staff for responding to emergency incidents like the one that occurred in Monroe last night with care and professionalism. Our members put their lives on the line to protect all of us. We are grateful for their service.”


VIDEO: Michelle Woodrow speaks about efforts to address COVID-19 issues at DOC


As the Department of Corrections struggles to manage the COVID-19 crisis, we have been working on many fronts to advocate on your behalf.

To summarize some of the work of our Union since the coronavirus pandemic began, I've created a video message for all DOC Teamsters.

In the video, I describe our work around issues such as DOC's initial and secondary screening processes, additional leave we've secured through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and more.

Throughout this crisis, we've been in constant communication with the Governor's Office, OFM, and the Department to make sure they are prioritizing your health and safety. Our Union Representatives and Shop Stewards are working incredibly hard to protect you and your co-workers. If you have an issue around safety in the workplace, please contact your Union Representative to report it.

Please also remember that, with contract negotiations scheduled to begin this year over our 2021-2023 collective bargaining agreement, we will be holding Virtual Contract Proposal Meetings on April 15. 

I will be sending you an invitation to register for the meetings soon using Zoom, an online video and telephonic conferencing platform.

You can watch the video here:

Protections for King County Teamsters secured by Union Coalition


Thank you to all Teamsters at King County who are continuing to provide critical services to our community during this crisis. 

Our King County Coalition of Unions has been actively negotiating over additional protections for represented members during the unprecedented pandemic caused by COVID-19.

We are happy to report that we have reached an agreement with King County that provides further protections for members of Teamsters 117, along with thousands of other Coalition members. 

In sum, we have secured access to a minimum of 160 hours of full-time paid leave (Federal and County) and subsequent options to utilize COVID-19 or Donated Leave. 

Here are some of the highlights:

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSLA): Effective April 1, 2020, members will have access to 80 hours of EPSLA as covered under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for the following reasons:

  1. The member is unable to work because they are quarantined, and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  2. The member is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine, or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19;
  3. The member is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.

For more information on the FFCRA, feel free to visit the Department of Labor website

All EPSLA will be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay which is better than what is required by the law!

Paid Administrative Leave (PAL): Effective on the first pay period in April, Coalition members will be allowed to use up to 80 hours of PAL for the following reasons: 

  1. Members who are sick with COVID-19 or taking care of eligible family members with COVID-19;
  2. Members who are sick with COVID-19 symptoms and must stay home;
  3. Members who fall into CDC high risk categories who cannot telecommute and do not want to come into the workplace;
  4. Members who are not high risk but are directed by a Health Officer or qualified medical professional to quarantine because of potential exposure to COVID-19 and who cannot telecommute; and
  5. Members who are home because their child’s school or childcare facility is closed and who are unable to work or telecommute.

This leave was established for all members in addition to the EPSLA prior to requiring the usage of any alternative leave bank.

COVID-19 Leave and Donated Leave: Members continue to have access to the COVID-19 Paid Leave and Donated Leave Programs.

Telecommuting, etc., Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), etc.: The MOA emphasizes increased access to telecommuting and PPE for those that are required to work on-site as well as priority reinstatement for any TLT or STT whose work may be suspended during this time.

Should you have questions, please reach out to your Union Representative. This is a huge victory for represented employees in King County and it wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible work of our Coalition membership during this time.

Grocery warehouse Teamsters are keeping our shelves stocked at a time of crisis


Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy met with members yesterday morning to talk about the rollout of a new safety screening process at Safeway.

With the COVID-19 crisis, Teamsters in the grocery industry are putting in long hours with few days off to keep our store shelves stocked with food and supplies. 

Like so many others at Local 117, members at the Fred Meyer distribution center in Puyallup and the Safeway warehouse in Auburn understand the magnitude of the crisis and are doing everything they can to help. 

"We have to feed America," said Chris Williams, a Shop Steward and 21-year member at Safeway. "Without food coming and going out of here, a lot of people would be at lost ends. People are trying to stock up, whether it's at a food bank or a local grocery store. If we didn't have our guys to supply them, people wouldn't have the disinfectants, toiletries, and food they need."


Shop Steward Chris Williams is part of the essential workforce that is keeping our grocery shelves stocked.

After some prodding, both Safeway and Kroger have stepped up and are paying members like Chris an additional $2/hr in appreciation pay. We've also recommended that the companies implement a new screening process as a way to keep workers safe.

“Union Representatives Lance Asher and Anthony McKinney, working with our outstanding Shop Stewards in this industry, have risen to the occasion,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “By working together, we have made meaningful recommendations and proposals with a collective focus on the safety and security of our members.”

Both Scearcy and Asher were on hand early yesterday morning to monitor the rollout of screening for our members at Safeway on their way in to work. 

Lining up at a popup tent, members were asked a series of questions about their health before entering the facility. Anyone suspected of possible COVID-19 exposure or infection is sent home and put on paid administrative leave.

"I'm glad to see the company putting in place safety measures for our members," Scearcy said. "This is an important way to help prevent infection in a workforce that is essential to keeping food on our grocery store shelves. We're hopeful employers in other essential industries will follow suit."

"We're hopeful employers in other essential industries will follow suit."

Yesterday the screening line at Safeway moved quickly, and members responded favorably to the new program.

"I wish they had started this a little earlier," Williams said. "But now that they're doing it, I feel relieved and appreciative."  

Jarrell Lewis, a 20-year Teamster at Safeway, agreed. "I woke up early and was looking forward to it," he said. "People have families at home, and we've got to make sure they are taken care of. Nowadays, everybody's got to have something in the kitchen. I take pride in what we do."