When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

March Membership Meeting Cancelled

Due to the COVID19 outbreak across our state, we will be cancelling our General Membership Meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 19.

Our Executive Board made this decision in accordance with CDC recommendations and in the name of public safety. Thank you for your understanding as our community deals with this crisis.

This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us to come together to do our part to fight this disease. Thank you for everything you do.

Please stay healthy and safe.


Emergency Financial Assistance for Uber and Lyft Drivers

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UNEMPLOYMENT GUIDE FOR UBER AND LYFT DRIVERS - COMPLETE FORM BELOW

If you have lost income due to the COVID-19 crisis, you may be eligible for state unemployment benefits (even if you are still driving).

We encourage drivers to apply. 

Fill out the form below to receive our Unemployment Guide for Uber and Lyft drivers in Washington State. 


Update for DOC Teamsters on the COVID-19 Outbreak

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With COVID-19 spreading in Washington State, I wanted to make sure you are informed about steps we are taking at Teamsters 117 to assure that you, your co-workers, and your families' safety is a priority.

Over the last several days, I have been in frequent contact with the Department, both with Secretary Steve Sinclair and the Department of Corrections COVID-19 Incident Commander Danielle Armbruster. Through these conversations, I have relayed your concerns about how the Washington State Department of Corrections is managing the COVID-19 crisis.

I have urged the Agency to cease the visit program in its current form and reduce the number of volunteers allowed to enter the prison. The danger of introducing COVID-19 into a prison system that is already significantly understaffed and is responsible for the safety of incarcerated individuals, many of whom are suffering from significant medical complications, far outweighs any inconvenience that may be experienced.

Additionally, members have raised concerns about training requirements, such as defensive tactics, and the inability to practice safe social distancing as recommended by CDC guidelines. I have heard concerns about screening requirements, the need for appropriate and sufficient protective gear, and an overall concern about the “what ifs” as this situation unfolds. My commitment to you is to forcefully advocate for your health and safety as the Department works to manage this crisis. 

The Department is requesting that all questions and concerns related to COVID-19 be directed to DOCCOVID19@doc.wa.gov.  Please use this email to document and communicate any concerns you may have. As a public entity, having one repository for information can be beneficial to your Union.

To help protect yourself and your family, the CDC is recommending that you:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Close contact is considered within 6ft.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. WASH and/or sanitize your hands after.

In addition, the Washington State Employment Security Department has put together a list of benefits available to workers who are impacted by COVID-19 and an FAQ page for workers. If you have questions, please reach out to your Union Representative.

I know this is a worrisome time for all of us. At times like these, it is important that we remember to care for each other - our families, all of our Union Sisters and Brothers, and the members of our community.

Please stay healthy and safe.

Respectfully,


Michelle Woodrow
President and Executive Director


DRIVERS UNION: Fund COVID-19 Emergency Relief for Drivers Now!


Teamsters call on government, Uber & Lyft CEOs to provide emergency economic relief for drivers

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Ubah Dahraan, an Uber driver and single mom of four, says the loss of income she is suffering has been devastating.


The Drivers Union, comprised of Uber and Lyft drivers, and the Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association, both affiliates of Teamsters Local 117, are urging elected executives and rideshare companies to take immediate action to provide drivers with emergency relief to mitigate the devastating economic and public health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

In an Open Letter sent today to corporate executives and elected leaders in city, county, and state government, the union is calling for up to $1,000 per week in emergency income stabilization for all drivers who have been impacted by the crisis, rent and mortgage assistance, a moratorium on evictions, and the elimination of commissions on all trips.

“I worked 12 hours yesterday and made only $50,” said Aamar Khan, a wheelchair-accessible taxi driver. “If everything gets shut down, I can’t imagine making any more. I don’t know how I’m going to pay my bills next month. We need assistance and certainty so that we can survive. Otherwise, we’re going to end up on the street.”

"We need assistance and certainty so that we can survive. Otherwise, we’re going to end up on the street."

Drivers rely on passenger trips at Seatac Airport, from the technology sector, and at major public events to support themselves. Over the last few days, they say that work has completely dried up. Many Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers are already reporting a more than 80% decrease in their income.

“I’m a single mom with four kids,” said Uber driver Ubah Dahraan. “I can’t stay home because I need the money to support my kids. On the other side, it’s not safe to work at this time. My kids ask me every day, ‘Mommy, if you go outside, you think you can come back safe?’ Also, they ask me, ‘How are we going to survive?’ I don’t know what to tell them.”

Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers are on the front lines of both the public health and economic impacts of this crisis. Yet unlike most workers, drivers do not have access to paid sick days or employer-provided health insurance.

“Workers across many industries are hurting right now as a result of the COVID-19 crisis that has affected our region,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “But unlike other workers, Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers don’t have access to basic workplace protections to ensure their health, safety, and economic well-being. Drivers are facing a profound economic crisis. They need government and business to step in an provide emergency economic assistance now.”


Secretary-Treasurer's Message: Teamsters, please stay safe

John-Scearcy.jpgSisters and Brothers -

With the news of the Coronavirus COVID-19 spreading in Washington State, I wanted to make sure you are informed about the virus and let you know about steps we are taking at Teamsters 117 to help you and your family stay safe. 

The Center of Disease Control (CDC) is an excellent source of up-to-date, reliable information that breaks down the basics of the virus, how it is spread, and how to protect yourself and your family. You can access this information on the CDC's website here.

To help protect yourself, the CDC is recommending that you:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Close contact is considered within 6ft.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. WASH and/or sanitize your hands after.

The CDC also offers guidelines for your employer to help ensure your safety at work. We have drafted a letter to all Teamster employers that references those guidelines and encourages employers to have an operational health and safety plan in place that addresses the virus and to communicate that plan directly to you and your co-workers.

In addition, the Washington State Employment Security Department has put together a list of benefits available to workers who are impacted by COVID-19 and an FAQ page for workers. If you have questions, please reach out to your Union Representative.

In an effort to ensure the safety of our members, we have also cancelled our annual Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day. Both the DOC Seminar on Friday, March 6 and the main Seminar event at the Washington State Convention Center on Saturday, March 7 have been cancelled.

I know this is a worrisome time for all of us. At times like these, it is important that we remember to care for each other - our families, all of our Union Sisters and Brothers, and the members of our community.

Please stay healthy and safe.

In unity,

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John Scearcy
Secretary-Treasurer


Grievance and ULP filed over unilateral changes to DOC vacation selection

We wanted to keep you updated on actions we’ve taken to protect your rights under our collective bargaining agreement and under state law.

At the beginning of this year, DOC unilaterally changed the way they process vacation requests at some DOC facilities. This has resulted in the Department denying many requests that they previously would have approved.

We believe that DOC’s newly-established vacation selection procedures constitute both a violation of our contract and a violation of the Washington State law that requires your employer to negotiate with the Union over changes to working conditions.

Our Union’s legal team is fighting the Department on both fronts. On January 30, we filed a grievance over the issue and this week held a first-step grievance meeting with DOC administrators at Headquarters. In that meeting, DOC showed a complete unwillingness to resolve the issue, suggesting that we will likely be headed to arbitration.   

We have also filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) requesting that DOC be required to return to the previous vacation selection system. PERC has issued a preliminary ruling stating that they intend to investigate the case and are in the process of scheduling a hearing.

Thank you to all of you who have spoken out on this issue and reported the Department’s violations. We will keep you updated as soon as we have more information. If you have questions, please reach out to your Shop Steward or Union Representative.


Maverick Employees Vote Overwhelmingly to Ratify First-Time Contract with Teamsters 117

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A group of Maverick employees gather outside the Union Hall in Tukwila after voting on a first-time union contract.


FIRST-TIME CONTRACT FOR MAVERICK TEAMSTERS RATIFIES ON A 98% YES VOTE!

A group of over 1,700 employees of Maverick Gaming LLC has voted overwhelmingly to ratify a first-time union contract with Teamsters Local 117.

The new three-year agreement is the first of its kind for workers in the gaming industry in Washington State. The contract provides workers with a defined-benefit pension through the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust, improved compensation, and greater access to health care, along with a number of other workplace improvements. Voting took place throughout the week at meetings in Pasco, Yakima, Tukwila, Everett, and Tacoma, WA.

“I want to congratulate and welcome Maverick employees to our Union,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “These workers took a courageous step to stand together as Teamsters to secure their rights and benefits in the workplace. Together we have achieved a historic agreement that will improve the lives of over 1,700 working people and their families.”

"Together we have achieved a historic agreement..."

Ballots were tallied in Everett on Thursday evening, where workers reacted to the news of the contract ratification with excitement. “I love this contract. It gives my entire family – and when I say family, I mean every employee I work with at Maverick – it gives us all a stable future. It gives us job security, longevity, and a voice. It’s 100% the best thing for all of us,” said Wes Tompkins, a dealer at Coyote Bob’s Casino in Kennewick with over 20 years’ experience in the industry.

“I’m really excited about the contract,” added Jewalea Schnabel, a server and bartender at the Caribbean Casino in Kirkland. “The fact that we are part of the Union is a big step in itself. I’m also excited that we’re getting a pay raise for our cooks and excited about the pension. It will bring lifelong stability for all of us. That’s a really good thing.”


King County contract negotiations - take the survey!

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This March, we will begin contract negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement for all Teamsters at King County.

Teamsters 117 will be working as a part of a Coalition - the King County Coalition of Unions - to negotiate over our collective priorities related to the Master Labor Agreement, Total Compensation, and the JLMIC, the joint-labor management group that oversees County employees’ health care benefits. 

To help prepare for negotiations, please complete the contract survey by clicking the link below. You must complete the survey by no later than Sunday, March 8, 2020.

Take the Survey Here!

Filling out a contract survey is important! The survey helps prioritize issues and gives you an opportunity to voice your concerns. Our Union Negotiations Committee will use the survey results to develop proposals for contract negotiations based on your feedback.

In addition to the contract surveys, we will be holding in-person Contract Demands Meetings with King County Teamsters. The meetings are another way you can make sure your voice is heard. As soon as those meetings are scheduled, we will let you know.

Thank you for sharing your ideas about how we can build a stronger contract together! 


Are Teamsters at Fleischmann’s Vinegar headed for a strike?

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Shop Steward Adam Connolly and his co-workers at the Sumner facility have helped make Fleischmann's the world's largest producer of commercial vinegar.


Teamsters at Fleischmann’s Vinegar are fed up. The company has been dragging its feet in negotiations and has shown little respect for its employees. 

“We’re in our ninth negotiations session and they haven’t even given us complete proposals on health and welfare or wages,” reports Adam Connolly, a maintenance mechanic and shop steward on our Union Negotiations Committee.

Unlike the company, Connolly and the team have been straight up about their demands: Back in October, they presented Fleischmann’s with a comprehensive proposal, which included economics. Nine sessions later, the company still hasn't put all of their proposals on the table.

Connolly believes a recent corporate buyout may be to blame. In 2018, the Kerry Group, a massive food service conglomerate, gobbled up Fleischmann’s, a company that’s been in the vinegar business for nearly a century.  

“Kerry came in promising good things, but so far it seems like they want to take everything from us. We’re especially concerned about our pension and health care,” Connolly said.

With the company’s stall tactics souring negotiations, our members at Fleischmann’s are gearing up to take action. On Tuesday, the group voted unanimously to authorize a strike after an update meeting at Fleischmann’s production facility in Sumner.

"Our Union provides us with safer jobs, decent pay, and a pension."

“Nobody wants a strike,” Connolly insists. “But our Union provides us with safer jobs, decent pay, and a pension. And we’re prepared to defend it.”

“This group is ready,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “They’re sick and tired of this company trying to push them around. They’re standing up for fair wages, decent health care, and retirement security – all of the elements of a strong Teamsters contract.”

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Contract vote meetings for Teamsters at Maverick - schedule here!

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All 19 members of our Union Negotiations Committee recommend that you vote YES to approve the proposal


Starting next week Union members at Maverick will have a historic opportunity to vote on a first-ever contract proposal that will improve their workplace rights and provide lasting benefits for themselves and their families. 

The proposal is fully-recommended by our Union Negotiations Committee. The Committee consisted of 19 Maverick union members who actively participated in negotiations. All 19 members of the Committee unanimously recommend that you vote YES to approve the agreement.

We have scheduled Contract Ratification Meetings at multiple times and locations. At the meetings, you will have an opportunity to review the proposal and ask questions before the vote.

Teamsters at Maverick should attend the meeting that is most convenient to them:

CONTRACT RATIFICATION MEETINGS - MAVERICK

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

Coyote Bob
Crazy Moose

Monday, February 24

9:00am-11:00am
3:00pm-5:00pm
7:00pm-9:00pm

Red Lion Pasco
1515 N 20th Ave.
Pasco, WA 99301

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

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

Tuesday, February 25

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

Caribbean Casino Yakima  

Tuesday, February 25

9:00am-11:00am
3:00pm-5:00pm
7:00pm-9:00pm

Caribbean Casino Yakima

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

Great American Lakewood
Macau Lakewood

Wednesday, February 26

9:00am-11:00am
3:00pm-5:00pm
7:00pm-9:00pm

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

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

Thursday, February 27

9:00am-11:00am
3:00pm-5:00pm
7:00pm-9:00pm

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

 


Teamster families call for safe staffing and a voice in Olympia

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Teamster power on the steps of the State Capitol in Olympia!


Hundreds of Teamsters 117 members and their families flooded the State Capitol in Olympia yesterday for our 2020 Lobby Day. 

SEE PHOTOS FROM LOBBY DAY HERE!

Teamsters from all sectors, including our newly-organized members at Maverick Gaming, spoke with legislators about how safe staffing levels in our prisons helps build safer communities.

"We need safe staffing and security for corrections because what we do protects the public," said corrections officer Samuel Coleman of the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.

Coleman, along with over two hundred of our members from the Department of Corrections, took that message to the halls of the Legislative Building where we engaged legislators in short but pointed conversations.

Our talks with legislators also focused on another priority for our Union: To ensure that Local 117 workers in the gaming industry have a voice over any proposed expansion of gambling in Washington State. 

"We are stronger together and our voices are louder."

"I have been working at the Great American Casino in Tukwila for 15 years and am a single mother of three," said card dealer, Davy Men. "Every decision concerning gaming is important to me. Our voice should be heard."

The day's activities culminated with a rally on the steps of the State Capitol where Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and member leaders led the group in chants and spoke about how our collective power has brought about meaningful legislative change.

"The work we are doing here is incredibly important," Scearcy said. "Our legislative agenda and priorities are built off of what matters to the workers we represent. When we fight for these priorities, we are improving lives and impacting our membership as a whole. We are stronger together and our voices are louder."


Thank you to all of the members who traveled to Olympia for Lobby Day. You make our Teamster voice powerful and loud! See a complete list of our legislative priorities for 2020 here.


Teamsters achieve fully-recommended contract offer for over 1700 employees at Maverick Gaming

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Our Union Negotiations Committee achieves a first-time contract for workers in the gaming industry in Washington State.


Teamsters Local 117 has achieved a fully-recommended settlement agreement over a first-time contract for over 1,700 gaming industry workers employed by Maverick Gaming. Negotiations between the Union’s 19-member Negotiations Committee and the Company took place on February 6 and 7 at the Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila.

If approved by the membership, the new three-year agreement would provide workers with retirement security benefits through the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust, improve compensation, and provide greater access to health care for Teamsters at Maverick.

“This is a powerful first-time agreement that will provide lasting benefits to union members and their families,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “Our Union Negotiations Committee worked incredibly hard to achieve a fully-recommended proposal that reflects the priorities of the membership. We are excited to present the proposal to our members for their consideration.”

"This is a powerful first-time agreement that will provide lasting benefits to union members and their families."

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 compensation, health care, retirement security, scheduling, and other working conditions.

“I am very proud of the job our Union Negotiations Committee did. We worked hard to make sure that dealer tips are protected. We also made sure that our cooks, wait staff, and security are well-represented,” said Jackie Franco, a dealer at the Caribbean Casino in Kirkland.

Teamsters Local 117 was authorized as the workers’ exclusive bargaining representative through a card check process conducted by an independent arbitrator last December. Throughout the organizing process, Maverick remained neutral and allowed workers to determine for themselves whether they wanted union representation. “Maverick came to the negotiating table with an open mind and was willing to negotiate contract provisions that will improve the lives of our members,” Scearcy said.

The Union is in the process of scheduling contract ratification meetings so that members have an opportunity to review and vote on the proposal. “This is a historic agreement that, if ratified by the membership, will bring thousands of good, Teamster jobs with family wages and secure benefits to workers in the gaming industry in the Pacific Northwest,” Scearcy said. “It was possible because Maverick employees had the courage to stand together in a strong union to secure their rights and benefits in the workplace.”

 


DOC Teamsters - Take the Survey for Contract Negotiations

This May, we will begin negotiations over the 2021-2023 collective bargaining agreement for all Teamsters employed at the Washington State Department of Corrections. 

To prepare for negotiations, please complete the DOC Contract Survey by clicking the link below. You must complete the survey by no later than Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

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The survey asks questions about your wages, appropriate staffing levels, and other provisions of your collective bargaining agreement.

Filling out a contract survey is important! The survey helps prioritize issues and gives you an opportunity to voice your concerns. Our Union Negotiations Committee will use the survey results to develop proposals for contract negotiations based on your feedback.

In addition to the Contract Surveys, we will be holding Contract Proposal Meetings for all DOC Teamsters starting in March. The meetings are another way you can make sure your voice is heard. Come to one of the meetings and share your ideas about how we can build a stronger contract together! You can find a complete list of the meeting dates, times, and locations for your facility here.

Thank you for your service. Please stay safe.


A Teamster mom celebrates the James R. Hoffa scholarship award twenty years later

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At the 20-year anniversary celebration: Brenda Wiest (Vice President), John Scearcy (Secretary-Treasurer), Marie LaRiviere, James Hoffa (General President), Cammy LaRiviere, Michelle Woodrow (President)


Marie LaRiviere always shot for the moon. A Tacoma girl and the daughter of working-class parents, Marie had her sights set on Georgetown University in Washington D.C. She had the grades to get there. The trouble was affording an Ivy League school.

Marie’s mom, Cammy, supported the family through her work as a 911 Communications Officer at Tacoma’s Law Enforcement Support Agency. She spent her days fielding calls from people in distress, a job she loved for the help she could provide the community.

It was a good Teamster job with excellent benefits, but tuition for Georgetown was off the charts. Cammy told her daughter that she could attend any college the family could afford but sending her to Georgetown would be a stretch.

Undeterred, Marie started to cobble together money for tuition. She applied for scholarships wherever she could find them. “She went after them all,” Cammy recalled. Inspired by her daughter’s determination, Cammy encouraged her to apply for a scholarship she found while flipping through Teamster magazine.