Our annual Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day is slated for this weekend when hundreds of rank-and-file leaders from across our Union will be gathering at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle on Saturday.
DOC Stewards will be meeting on Friday at our Union Hall in Tukwila starting at 11:30 A.M. for an afternoon of training before Saturday's main event. See the agenda for the DOC meeting here.
All Stewards will meet at the Convention Center starting at 7:30 A.M. for breakfast followed by workshops and training on Saturday. The event will wrap up at 1:30 P.M. after lunch. View an agenda for Saturday's Seminar here.
Over the course of the two days, we'll be talking about building union power and unity and ways to lift up our communities so that all workers have a strong voice.
It's looking to be an exciting event. Special guest James P. Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, will be on hand to welcome the Stewards.
Over lunch, Steve Vairma, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Vice-President at Large, and April Sims the newly-elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will address the group.
If you are a Shop Steward, you should have received an invitation to the Seminar with information about what to expect at the event. If you have not yet confirmed or need to cancel, please contact Madeline Shumate at 206-441-4860 x1225.
If you have questions about logistics, please reach out to your Union Representative.
We have fantastic news from Olympia tonight. Our bill (SB 5021) granting interest arbitration rights to Teamsters who work at the Washington State Department of Corrections passed unanimously out of the Senate.
This is a major victory for DOC Teamsters who have been fighting for statutory interest arbitration since 2010. It is also a testament to all of the members and their families who met with their legislators last week at our Lobby Day event.
Clearly, your voice made a tremendous impact. We still need a majority of representatives in the House to vote in favor of the legislation and a signature from the Governor, but passage in the Senate puts us a huge step closer to achieving our goal.
If you met with your State Senator last week and asked them to support interest arbitration for DOC, please send an email thanking them for their support.
Interest arbitration levels the playing field for union members working in public safety professions who don't have the ability to strike. It allows us to take mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator if we reach impasse with the State in contract negotiations.
Employees of other public safety agencies such as the Washington State Patrol and county corrections have access to interest arbitration. Now is the time to win interest arbitration for our members working in corrections and at the University of Washington Police Department.
A show of force on the Capitol steps in Olympia: DOC Teamsters fight for higher pay and interest arbitration.
Teamster corrections employees rallied in Olympia on Wednesday to push for safer workplaces and safer communities.
The group of more than 175 members and their families met with legislators throughout the day as part of our annual Lobby Day. The event culminated on the steps of the State Capitol with members holding signs that read, "Invest in Corrections Employees" and "Public Safety, Public Service".
"It's a great day to be a Teamster," said Samuel Coleman, a correctional officer at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton who spoke at the rally. "We're here today to fight for safety, interest arbitration, and higher pay."
"We're here today to fight for safety, interest arbitration, and higher pay."
Members called on lawmakers to fund the Department of Corrections (DOC) and University of Washington Police Department (UWPD) contracts and to pass legislation granting interest arbitration rights to both groups.
Interest arbitration will level the playing field in negotiations, improve staff safety, and ensure that these employees are fairly compensated. It gives them access to the same rights as other public safety personnel, such as the Washington State Patrol and county police, corrections, and firefighters.
Funding the DOC and UWPD contracts will create greater equity and boost morale. It will also help with recruitment and retention, which leads to more experienced staff and a safer working environment.
"Teamster corrections employees and officers at the UWPD serve and protect all of us," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "The State needs to invest in the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. That starts with funding the DOC and UWPD contracts and passing interest arbitration for both groups."
Thank you to all of the members who participated in this year's Lobby Day. Special thanks to Officer Samuel Coleman, Carrie Hesch, a recreational specialist at WCCW, and Lynn Kunkle, a registered nurse at MCC, for speaking so powerfully at the rally.
Please be sure to call the Legislative Hotline in Olympia at 1-800-562-6000 and tell your legislators to fund our DOC and UWPD contracts, pass interest arbitration, and restore the right of trained DOC personnel to carry a concealed weapon. Your voice makes all the difference!
Next week, Teamsters from across the state will be converging on Olympia for our 2019 Legislative Reception and Lobby Day. Over 200 members have registered to join us for the event on February 26-27.
It's shaping up to be another incredible demonstration of Teamster unity, power, and purpose as we meet with legislators to discuss our legislative priorities.
If you are registered and unable to attend, please reach out to Political Director Dustin Lambro right away. You can call him at 206-794-2606 if you need to cancel.
Our Teamsters Lobby Day event starts with a dinner on Tuesday, February 26 at 7:30pm at the RL Hotel in Olympia. Accommodations will be provided for all registered members on the night of February 26.
On the morning of February 27, we will have a lobby training and breakfast before heading over to the Capitol for our appointments with legislators.
Participating members will be receiving a confirmation letter with logistical information and our legislative priorities in the mail prior to the event. All of the information contained in the materials sent to your home, including info about our 2019 legislative agenda, transportation, the hotel, the training, attire, food, and appointments with legislators is available below:
This year we will be discussing the following issues with legislators:
- Funding our 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement
- Passing statutory interest arbitration
- Fixing the concealed carry law for weapons-trained DOC members
If you have questions, please contact your union representative or feel free to reach out to Dustin at 206-794-2606. Remember if you need to cancel, please contact Dustin right away so that we can make the necessary arrangements.
Thanks so much! Looking forward to seeing you on February 26-27 in Olympia.
Teamsters at ICS are sick of company bullying. They're united and ready to take strike action to defend their livelihoods.
The message was loud and clear, scrawled on the dust masks our members at Industrial Container Services (ICS) wore today as they sanitized and refurbished steel barrels for reuse: Don't make me sick, ICS.
The company wants its Teamster employees to take a major hit on their health and welfare coverage with significant increases to their out-of-pocket medical expenses. In negotiations, ICS is trying to impose an inferior medical plan and they are providing little notice about enrollment.
Members are sick of the company's bullying tactics. Before this morning's safety meeting, the workers gathered in the breakroom, put on the masks and attached stickers to their hardhats that read, "Ready to strike!"
Last Friday, the group voted unanimously to authorize a strike and is prepared to disrupt production unless the company changes its approach at the bargaining table.
"ICS needs to do the right thing and return to negotiations prepared to bargain in good faith," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "This is difficult, dangerous work where our members are exposed to toxic fumes and the risk of injury is high. The last thing this company should be doing is degrading our members' health care coverage."
UPDATE - FEB. 22, 2019:
On Wednesday, our members at ICS raised Just Practicing pickets in front of the company during their lunch break. Check out a few photos from the action below:
Power, unity and resolve: Teamsters at ICS gather outside our Union Hall after a unanimous strike vote.
Teamsters at Industrial Container Services (ICS) are not backing down. After months of being bullied by their employer in contract negotiations, the group is fighting back. Today after an update from their union committee on the company’s substandard proposals, members voted unanimously to authorize a strike.
With the vote, the group sends an unequivocal message to their employer that they are united and won’t be jerked around. “All of us are united in demanding that they negotiate fairly,” said Abel Flores, a nine-year employee at the company. “We need them to respect our rights, and we need to see improvements in their proposals.”
ICS has refused to engage in meaningful negotiations and made unilateral changes to working conditions, laying the groundwork for a possible ULP strike.
What's more, ICS wants members to take a major step backwards on their health and welfare coverage while at the same time they want to hitch members' wages to the minimum required under the law. They’ve even tried to divert previously agreed to retirement contributions from the existing contract into their new wage proposals.
The group is not having any of it. “It’s not fair that they’re treating us like this, under these conditions,” said Iduviges Castro Sanchez, an eight-year employee. “If they won’t come to a fair agreement with our Union, we’re ready to strike.”
"If they won’t come to a fair agreement with our Union, we’re ready to strike."
Teamsters at ICS are no stranger to a fight. In 2014, they showed tremendous courage in standing up to their employer to get organized.
Before joining Teamsters 117, the workers’ only water source was a rusty pipe. Their break room was a filthy wreck of battered lockers, and they had no sanitary place to wash their hands. These abhorrent conditions were worsened by a workplace rife with toxic chemicals workers are exposed to as they sanitize and refurbish barrels containing industrial waste.
With a Union, workers had a voice over their wages and working conditions. Joining Teamsters also led to extraordinary changes including a new break room, new lockers, and a new, clean water dispensary. Now the company is provoking the workers once again, and like before, the workers are prepared to stand up and fight.
The Pierce County Central Labor Council (PCCLC) has just announced that they are accepting applications for the 2019 Jerry Beckendorf scholarship.
Every year the PCCLC grants approximately $10,000 to students who demonstrate a dedication to community and social service. The scholarship is open to high school students living in Pierce County whose parents are members of a labor union.
You can access the application online at www.pclaborcares.org. Applications are due on March 15, 2019.
In this issue, you'll find an overview of our goals for the 2019 legislative session in Olympia as well as the status of the bills we are tracking.
Other highlights include a tribute to Richard Coleman, an officer at the Washington State Penitentiary, who is retiring this month as well as the announcement of Legislative Director Brenda Wiest as the new Vice President of our Union's Executive Board.
You can view the new Guardian online here. Print copies will be distributed over the next few weeks by a committee of shop stewards and member leaders.
If you would like to volunteer to help distribute the Guardian or have an article to contribute, please reach out to your Union Representative.
Sisters and Brothers -
We owe a whole lot of gratitude to Teamsters across our Union who have been working round-the-clock during Snowmaggedon 2019 to keep our streets clear, our grocery shelves stocked, and our communities safe.
A special thanks to Local 117 members in public works departments across the North and South Sound who have been operating plows and salting the streets for the last week. Road conditions are bad enough now, but can you imagine the mess we'd be in without their tireless service?
Thanks, also, to our members in the grocery and food service industries who are putting in 16-hour shifts and holding up in roadside hotels to heft, house, and distribute food products to stores, nursing homes and hospitals across our region. They're busting their tails so that we can continue to eat.
"As Teamsters we've heeded the call of service and sacrifice..."
Teamster police and corrections employees are not granted days off during snow emergencies. Thanks to our Sisters and Brothers in public safety who are braving the roads and, as always, putting their lives on the line, to serve and protect us.
So many more Local 117 members have shown up for work this week despite the snow. As Teamsters, we've heeded the call of service and sacrifice so that families across Washington State can continue to safely navigate their neighborhoods, put food on their tables, and enjoy the madness Mother Nature has gifted us.
You are our hometown heroes - we appreciate you all so much.
In Olympia, nurses from across the state are standing together to support a law that would make our workplaces safer. The proposed legislation (HB 1155/SB 5190) would allow front-line caregivers to take uninterrupted meal and rest breaks.
At DOC, fatigue isn’t just a worker issue, it’s a safety issue. When DOC medical staff are chronically exhausted and overworked, the safety of the entire facility is put at risk.
Employers and management are trying to weaken protections for nurses by introducing a competing bill (SB 5344) that doesn’t solve the problem. We need to reject that proposal and send a resounding message to legislators that we support safer, more secure conditions for DOC nursing staff.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Find your legislators online, and send them an email telling them to support HB 1155 and SB 5190 and oppose SB 5344. You can copy and paste the message below or draft your own message.
Thank you for standing together with Teamster nurses!
Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy (l), Organizing Co-Director Pedro Olguin (c), and Tyson Lapilio (r) at the Memphis MLK March
Tyson Lapilio, a Teamster at Republic Services, joined Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and Organizing Co-Director Pedro Olguin in Memphis for the Teamsters Solid Waste & Recycling Division conference earlier this month. Lapilio penned this excellent piece capturing his experiences at the event:
Rebecca Libadia has been in the union world since 2001. For 14 years she worked with the administration of Labor Relations at the Port of Seattle during the reconstruction and modernization of the Sea-Tac International Airport. There, she got to know all sides of a union contract.
After years of experience, a job for Rebecca must ethically align with her convictions, and that was one of her motivations for taking on the role of a dues clerk with Local 117.
Rebecca and her husband have two children with whom she shares a love for sports, especially the Mariners and Seahawks. In her spare time, Rebecca also cares for her quirky and intelligent Chesapeake Bay retriever and likes to catch a break with a good book.
Welcome to the team, Rebecca. We wish you the best of luck on your journey with Teamsters!
Good news from Olympia! Our legislation to grant interest arbitration rights to our members at the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the University of Washington Police Department (UWPD) (SB5021/SB5022) cleared a first, important hurdle in the Senate yesterday when the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee unanimously voted to pass both bills out of committee.
Our UWPD bill (HB1043) was also favorably passed out of the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee yesterday on a vote of 6-1. The House committee has not yet taken executive action on our DOC interest arbitration bill (HB1042), but we anticipate that will happen soon.
Because both bills will have an impact on the state budget, the bills that cleared their respective committees yesterday will now be sent to fiscal committees in the House (Appropriations) and Senate (Ways & Means), where we will have another opportunity to testify. We will update you when those hearings are scheduled.
Yesterday we also introduced our bill that will amend current statute to authorize trained DOC staff who have been subject to a background check in the last five years to carry a concealed weapon. This fix will restore a right that was taken away due to a problem with the RCW that invalidated our Peace Officer Identification Cards. The new bill (HB1589) has bipartisan support with twenty co-sponsors and will be considered by the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.
Please take a moment to thank the Senators on the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee for recognizing the need for interest arbitration for DOC and UWPD by sending a quick email or calling their offices. Thanks also to the members who took time out of their busy schedules to give powerful testimony on the bills.
The Teamsters 117 Executive Board has unanimously voted to appoint Brenda Wiest as its new Vice-President effective February 1, 2019.
Brenda will succeed former Vice-President and Union Representative Marcus Williams, who announced that he is planning for a possible relocation at the end of the year.
“I love this union and I am humbled and honored to have been asked to serve on our Executive Board,” Wiest said. “I am committed to building power and unity among all of our members through strong contracts, growth, community involvement, and legislative change.”
Brenda, who has been on the Local 117 staff for 15 years, will continue to serve as our union’s Legislative Director. She has excelled in that role through her work with lawmakers and our labor allies to craft and move policy that benefits workers across Washington State.
"I love this union and I am humbled and honored to have been asked to serve on our Executive Board."
Prior to stepping into that role in 2014, Brenda led organizing drives, contract campaigns, and strikes to build member power and win strong contracts at places like UNFI, Waste Management, and Davis Wire.
Brenda is active in the labor movement and her community. She has been a delegate on the Pierce County Central Labor Council for the last 12 years and has served on the PCCLC Executive Board for the last six. She is also a labor representative on the Labor and Industries Workers’ Compensation Advisory Committee and a participant on the Union Labels and Lists Committee.
She was appointed as a citizen and labor voice to the Tacoma 2025 Advisory Committee to build a strategic plan to guide the City of Tacoma for the next 10 years.
“Brenda is an extremely talented, committed, and experienced labor leader. We are thrilled to welcome her to our union’s Executive Board,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117.
Wearing our union colors down in Olympia for the interest arbitration hearings on January 17.
With the 2019 legislative session kicking off in Olympia this week, bills that would grant interest arbitration rights to our Department of Corrections (DOC) and University of Washington Police Department (UWPD) members are already starting to move.
Several Teamsters provided powerful testimony supporting both bills today in hearings before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee and the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee.
Michelle Woodrow, our union's President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement, laid out our case for interest arbitration before legislators:
Interest arbitration is a right commonly available to public safety employees such as the Washington State Patrol who do not have the ability to strike. It allows our union to move mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator should we reach impasse in negotiations.
At the DOC, we achieved interest arbitration through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Governor in 2014 and negotiated it into our contract, but it has not been codified in statute. Our members at the UWPD have never had access to these rights.
Without access to interest arbitration, members like Officers Mark Hackett and Marvin McKinney of the UWPD have struggled to obtain critical safety gear to protect themselves in the line of duty.
For Sergeant Jason Heuer and Officer James Deuel of the DOC, passing interest arbitration means securing their rights into the future. "It’s critical that we win this in statute because otherwise it can just be taken away...," they said.
Thank you to our members who took time out of their busy schedules to travel to Olympia to testify.
- You can view the House testimony on TVW here
- The Senate testimony can be viewed online here
- Track our bills: HB1042 (DOC), HB1043 (UWPD), SB5021 (DOC), SB5022(UWPD)
As session continues, there will be more hearings on these bills and more opportunities to make your voice heard. Passing interest arbitration for DOC and UWPD will require excellent participation at our upcoming Lobby Day on February 26-27. It will also require all of us coming together to educate legislators about the critical public safety work we perform.