Our international union is now accepting applications for the 2018 James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship. For the first time, scholarships will be awarded to students attending training and vocational programs.
The children and financial dependents of Teamster members are eligible to apply.
Academic scholarship awards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for high school seniors planning to attend a four-year college or university and Training/Vocational Program awards of up to $2,000 for use at community colleges and trade schools.
A new and improved online application process can be found on the James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund’s website: www.jrhmsf.org
Great to see members who work at the airport's rental car facility today.
A manager at one of the transportation companies - Fleetlogix - tried to block our visitation access last week and we pushed back in a big way. The company has already been sanctioned by the NLRB for intimidating workers who were wearing buttons supporting the union.
We'll be negotiating again on January 19 and 24. It's time to get a fair contract that respects our members and the important services they provide!
Scott Anderson giving the gift of life in the Safeway breakroom in the Auburn warehouse.
Scott Anderson, a Teamster of 43 years in the grocery industry, is soft-spoken, but don’t let his demeanor fool you.
Under the quiet exterior lies a man of great compassion and conviction who exudes a moral authority and a desire to help others through his actions.
Scott has served our Local 117 membership as a trustee on our union's executive board on and off for 20 years.
Since the mid-1980s, he has organized semi-annual blood drives for his co-workers in the Safeway warehouse. Over that time span, thousands of Teamsters have donated their blood to help save lives in our community. Their donations complement our union’s annual blood drive that takes place at the Teamsters hall each November.
"The Teamster blood drives come at a really important time of year for us."
“The Teamster blood drives come at a really important time of year for us,” says Robin Lulich, a donor resource consultant with Cascade Regional Blood Services. “There is usually high blood usage before and after the holidays. The Teamsters help boost the inventory back up.”
That means ensuring that there are ample blood reserves when disaster strikes, like when an Amtrak train derailed in Dupont last month. Cancer survivors, burn victims, surgery patients, sick kids – they all benefit from donated blood.
For Scott, the impetus to enlist his co-workers touches close to home.
Legislative session kicks off on January 8, 2018
A 60-day session of the Washington State Legislature kicks off on January 8, 2018 and will run through March 9.
During that time, we will be working to pass bills that help workers, increase government accountability, and protect the health of our families and workers.
Our union employs a full-time Legislative Affairs Director, Brenda Wiest, who will be on the ground every day in Olympia working to protect the rights of Local 117 members and their families. Brenda works closely with Political Action Director, Dustin Lambro, who is organizing opportunities throughout session for members to speak directly with their legislators about critical issues.
We will be holding two major lobby day events this year, for our for-hire drivers on January 24, and for our public sector and DOC members on February 12-13. Talk to your union representative about how you can get involved or call Dustin at 206-794-2606.
This legislative session our priorities include:
Department of Corrections/Law Enforcement
- Our number one legislative priority for DOC this session is to secure funding in the supplemental budget for a study of the DOC staffing model;
- We will also be working to: Expand the Public Safety Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) to include more DOC groups, achieve interest arbitration for campus police, expand the presumptive disease designations, and include PTSD and other stress-related disease coverage under workers compensation.
Expanding collective bargaining rights
- Under state law, some workers are barred from joining unions. We are working to pass a package of bills to expand bargaining rights for professional port employees, part-time workers, and interpreters.
- Our union has partnered with other public sector unions to create a number of statutory changes to give us the best chance to maintain union strength in a post-Janus environment.
- Oppose legislation that would preempt local governments from regulating the industry.
- Pass legislation that moves app-based drivers into the for-hire framework and levels the playing field for all drivers in the industry.
Priorities that are good for workers and our communities
- Pass the Equal Pay Act that will ensure differences in pay are not driven by sex or gender, and close the pay gap between men and women.
- Pass Prescription Drug Transparency to force big pharmaceutical companies to disclose the reasons for price spikes in medication.
- Pass the Voting Rights Act and Automatic Voter Registration to change discriminatory voting systems and increase voter representation and registration.
- Pass Breakfast after the Bell to close the Achievement gap and give all kids access to a healthy and nutritious start to their school day.
- Monitor Autonomous Vehicle policy to make sure workers and the public are protected.
- Work with stakeholders and legislators to address issues related to creating a Portable Benefits structure that provides for a meaningful safety net and addresses the underlying problems with the misclassification of workers and abuse of independent contractors.
The vote is underway. King County Teamsters have begun casting their ballots on their contract. The voting is the culmination of a year of bargaining, starting at the coalition level and concluding with small table negotiations.
Voting kicked off last week for several King County groups. The first vote meeting for all units was held on Saturday at our union hall in Tukwila. You can access a schedule of all the meeting times and locations here.
Lester Van Gelder, a wastewater treatment supervisor and shop steward who participated in coalition bargaining, encouraged his co-workers to participate. “It’s extremely important - this is affecting your livelihood,” he said.
“If you’re not voting, you’re not getting heard,” added Bobby Stalnaker, a steward in the security screener’s unit. “This is a chance for you to get your voice out there.”
"If you’re not voting, you’re not getting heard."
Members are voting both on a Master Labor Agreement (MLA), which was negotiated last year between our Coalition of Unions and the County, and their individual bargaining unit’s appendix agreements.
The MLA consolidates language from contracts across the county into one unified contract.
Sisters and brothers,
Greetings and happy 2018 to you and your family. I wanted to kick off the new year with a topic that is personally important to me as your union's Secretary-Treasurer. It has to do with valuing different perspectives within our union.
With more than 1.4 million members, our international union is made up of working people from a multitude of backgrounds, ethnicities, and races. We represent members in a wide array of jobs and industries, from accountants to zookeepers, and everyone in between.
But as varied as we are, our union staff and leadership has not always reflected the diversity of the membership. One of my priorities as Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117 has been to change that.
The strength of any team is in its ability to solve problems and meet organizational goals better than any one individual can. I believe a diversified team of staff and rank-and-file leaders bring new, different, and creative mindsets and points of views for a stronger union.
Since becoming Secretary-Treasurer, I have also made an effort to bring on staff who speak more than one language.
"Our union's leadership needs to reflect the broader membership."
Our team used to be essentially monolingual. Now we have staff members who speak Spanish, Arabic, Amharic, Russian, Ukrainian, German, and French. This improves communication on the shop floor and engages members that might not typically get involved.
The winter issue of the Guardian, our newsletter for Teamsters who work at the Department of Corrections, is now available!
In this issue, you'll find information on how to register for our upcoming Legislative Reception and Lobby Day on February 12-13, 2018 and an article on how members are starting to prepare for open shop, which is likely coming to DOC next year.
You can access a PDF of the Guardian online here. A number of member leaders will be distributing print copies over the next few weeks.
Starting in January, we will be conducting contract ratification meetings for all Teamsters who work at King County.
At the meetings, you will have an opportunity to vote on the Master Labor Agreement (MLA), which is unanimously recommended by all members of the King County Coalition of Unions, and on your individual bargaining unit's appendix or "small table" agreement.
To prepare for the vote, you can review the MLA and your individual unit's agreement here.
To vote, you must attend one of the drop-in ratification meetings below. If you have any questions, please contract your union representative or shop steward. For a print posting of the schedule, click here.
A year ago, a fire broke out at the Woodland Park Zoo and threatened hundreds of animals.
Thanks to the heroic work of Seattle-area firefighters, nearly all of the animals were saved. On behalf of all members of Teamsters 117, shop steward Peter Miller sends his gratitude to the firefighters for their heroic work in saving the animals.
Thank you firefighters and happy holidays!
Miguel Fuentes in front of Darigold facility in Issaquah.
At Darigold, Rob Garberding works at the butter cooler wrapping pellets and loading them into trucks. “I like driving my forklift. It’s not an easy job, but I like making it easy for everyone else,” he says.
For over seven years, Rob has worked with Ernest Batchelor and Miguel Fuentes, both Teamsters of 20 plus years. A few months ago, Ernest and Rob were challenging each other to weight loss. Rob, it seemed, has been doing so well that he’d lost 30 pounds, but Miguel suspected that something was wrong. “He couldn’t swallow food, and it was obvious that he had lost too much weight,” remembers Miguel.
"That’s what being a Teamster is -- when someone needs help, you help them."
Teamster union rep Takele Gobena (l) together with Local 117 members who work at ABM Parking.
Congrats to Local 117 members at ABM Parking who voted unanimously to ratify a new 3-year contract last week.
The group, which provides valet and cashier services at the Virginia Mason Medical Center, will see wage increases, improved vacation leave, along with a number of other improvements.
"This was my first time negotiating with the company," said Abiy Derseh, a shop steward and 9-year employee. "I learned a lot about the union - it was a good experience for me. And we got a good deal - we improved a lot from the last contract."
Despite the gains, Derseh expressed some concerns about possible layoffs as a result of increased automation in the garage. "We're not sure if they are going to try to surprise us and say, 'Next week you guys aren't here anymore.' We don't want that because we need to prepare for it. They have to negotiate a time frame for us."
Derseh took his concerns to union rep Takele Gobena, who helped the group negotiate a severance package, seniority rights, and relocation opportunities in the event of layoffs. The ability to mitigate the impact of layoffs is another advantage to being part of a union.
Whatever happens next year, the group is excited about the improvements they've made in their new contract. "Everyone is happy," Deresh said.
Teamsters at the Spokesman Review unanimously ratify contract, show the power of unity in an open shop
Teamster 117 members who operate the presses at the Spokesman Review.
There are certain fundamentals to a union contract. In a worker-friendly state like Washington, union security is high on the list. Union security insures that all employees in the bargaining unit pay their fair share for representation under the contract.
In right-to-work states, workers lose their freedom to negotiate union security, which can severely weaken the union.
But that doesn't have to be the case. A recent contract win at the Spokesman Review demonstrates that union members can achieve significant contractual gains even without union security, so long as they stick together.
Last month, Teamsters who run the press room at the paper voted unanimously to ratify a contract that contains the largest wage increases in years along with important language improvements.
The group will see protections against subcontracting, stronger seniority rights, better language around discipline, sick leave and hours of work, and a whole host of other improvements. They did it because they rallied together to support their union.
"Everybody that's in our shop was a part of the union," said Ken Coburn, a shop steward with 30 years at the paper. "I think the company was concerned that we might strike. And it could have happened - we could have shut them down."
"The company knew that we had huge involvement in the union."
In years past that wasn't the case. Even leading up to negotiations, several members were behind on their dues. Union rep, Matt House, met with the group and told them that their unity was key to winning a strong contract.
"Matt was awesome," said Jeff Weidert, a pressman with 40 years in the industry. "He's focused - laser-beamed. And he knows when to call B.S." Weidert and Coburn worked together to get their co-workers caught up on their dues, which sent a powerful message to the company.
"The company knew that we had huge involvement in the union," Weidert said. "With the power we had, we were able to take the teeth out of some of their proposals and we were able to negotiate some safeguards. I can't tell you how happy we are."
With open shop likely coming to the public sector next year, the lessons at the Spokesman Review are telling: When workers stand together in their union, they can thrive and win strong contracts, even in a right-to-work environment.
REGISTRATION FOR OUR 2018 LOBBY DAY AND LEGISLATIVE RECEPTION ON FEBRUARY 12-13 IN OLYMPIA IS NOW FULL. OVER 200 TEAMSTERS AND THEIR FAMILIES WILL BE ATTENDING!
Some of the critical issues facing Teamsters that we will be discussing with legislators include:
- The need for a comprehensive statewide staffing audit.
- Improving staff safety at all DOC facilities.
- Recognizing the critical community services we provide.
You can view a complete list of our legislative priorities here.
You are invited to a dinner and reception with legislators starting at 7:30pm at the RL Hotel in Olympia on February 12. Accommodations will be provided for all members on the night of February 12, 2018. You must register by Monday, January 15 to be guaranteed a room at the Hotel RL. You may still register after that date, but we cannot guarantee we will have the available rooms.
On the morning of February 13, we will have a lobby training and breakfast before heading over to the Capitol for our appointments with legislators.
It's important that we have an excellent showing at this event as we talk with legislators about the critical services we provide.
Congratulations to the newest members of Teamsters Local 117! A group of Kennel Aides who work at the Tacoma Humane Society have voted unanimously to join our union.
The group got together last night to celebrate winning a voice at work.