This week we celebrate Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). This is a time to honor our public servants and express our gratitude for the critical services they provide.
Our members in the public sector clear our streets during snow emergencies, maintain our roads, clean up our parks, and keep our communities safe.
Too often public employees are the target of unwarranted criticism, but when disaster strikes they are usually the first to respond.
"That sense of duty and pride is so typical of our members who commit their lives to public service."
Take this last February, for example. When snowdrifts piled up on streets across the Pacific Northwest, most of us took time off to be with our families.
Not true with many of our public servants. Our members in public works braved the elements to operate the snowplows and clear the streets, while our law enforcement and corrections members valiantly reported for duty.
They knew their co-workers would carry a heavier burden if they stayed home and that it might even impact their safety. That sense of duty and pride is so typical of our members who commit their lives to public service.
Thank you to Teamsters who work in our cities, counties, and in state employment for your service. We are forever grateful.
More good news from Olympia! The Washington State Legislature has fully funded our DOC collective bargaining agreement for the 2019-2021 biennium.
This means that the wage increases achieved in our DOC members' contract through our interest arbitration award are now guaranteed.
Under the award, all Teamster correctional employees will now receive no less than an 8% general wage increase over the next two years.
The award calls for a general increase of 4% effective July 1, 2019 and a 4% increase effective July 1, 2020 for all classifications. In addition, a number of classifications will receive targeted range increases.
Teamsters 117 Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy, and Governor Inslee are expected to sign our contract in the middle of June. The contract will take effect on July 1, 2019.
Thank you to the members on our union's negotiations committee who put in many long hours to achieve a strong contract on behalf of all Teamsters at the DOC. Thank you also to so many of you who spoke directly with legislators about the critical nature of corrections work.
Congratulations on this accomplishment.
On the brink of Uber's Wall Street debut, drivers in Seattle joined protests across the country demanding that Uber & Lyft pay drivers a living wage.
Ride-hail companies Uber and Lyft are pocketing an increasing share from what passengers pay while drivers are earning less, according to a new report released today by the App-Based Drivers Association.
The study – based on analysis of company financial reports, combined with never before released trip-level data collected by local drivers in Seattle – was released at a Driver Speak Out event attended by drivers at the Sea-Tac Airport waiting lot.
“As drivers, we make sure our customers get to their destination safely, and we bear all the costs of car, gas, maintenance, repairs – everything,” said Don Creery, who has been driving for Uber for 5 years. “But over the years Uber has been taking more and more from what passengers pay, and now they’re telling investors they plan to reduce driver pay even further to satisfy shareholders. It’s just not right.”
The Speak Out event was one of more than a dozen driver-led actions in major metropolitan areas happening just ahead of Uber’s highly anticipated debut on Wall Street, which is expected to draw a valuation that could top $100 billion. But, while Uber’s IPO may be poised to mint a new generation of overnight tech millionaires, the data shows that drivers are being paid a declining share of what customers are charged.
When Uber and Lyft first came to Seattle, drivers were paid 80 percent of what riders were charged. Today, on the median trip in Seattle, drivers received just 69 percent, according to the ABDA report. And the more riders pay, the less drivers receive.
On a majority of trips analyzed, riders paid higher prices than advertised non-surge UberX rates. On these high-priced trips, drivers received just 62 percent of rider price – the company take was 38 percent. On some trips, driver pay fell to as little as 32 percent of what customers were charged.
Uber and Lyft’s take rates are high relative to other online marketplace platforms.
Paypal charges users 2.9% plus $0.30. Etsy charges merchants 5% plus a listing fee. Mercari charges sellers 10%. Ebay fees are between 2%-12% of sale price. AirBnB fees for hosts and guests combined range between 3%-23% of listing price.
“Consumers deserve price transparency to know that at least 80 percent of what they pay is shared with their driver, not kept by the company for overhead or profits,” said Peter Kuel of the App-Based Drivers Association, who has been an Uber and Lyft driver for 5 years. “Uber and Lyft should meet the same standards of every other business in town, ensuring that drivers can earn paid sick days and never receive less than a $15 minimum wage after expenses.”
See media coverage of the event:
- SEATTLE TIMES: As Uber and Lyft go public, Seattle drivers getting a smaller share of fares, union analysis says
- KING 5: Uber/Lyft drivers protest pay
- KNKX: Ride-share drivers rally at Sea-Tac over low pay before Uber IPO
- GEEKWIRE: Uber driver protests ahead of IPO spell uncertain future for gig economy
- KIRO 7: Local Uber, Lyft drivers protest low wages as others across country strike
- KOMO 4: Uber, Lyft drivers protest in Seattle, across the US
- KING 5: Seattle Uber, Lyft drivers to protest pay amid nationwide strike
- Q13: Uber, Lyft drivers go on strike to protest low pay, event planned at Sea-Tac Airport
- AL JAZEERA: Uber, Lyft drivers strike in cities worldwide ahead of Uber's IPO
- SEATTLE CHINESE TIMES: 隨著Uber和Lyft上市 司機的工資將會愈來愈少？
Seattle Uber and Lyft drivers will hold a Driver Speak Out! event and press conference on Wednesday to highlight increasingly high company take rates, low driver pay, issues around deactivation and other driver concerns as Uber prepares to go public later this week.
At the event, members of the App-Based Drivers Association will discuss a new report that exposes how Uber and Lyft are pocketing an increasingly greater share of rider payment in the Seattle market while drivers are earning less.
The study, Uber/Lyft take more, pay drivers less, is based on analysis of company financial reports, combined with never before released trip-level data collected by local drivers in Seattle.
The Driver Speak Out! will take place at the Sea-Tac Airport Ride Hail Lot (3037 160th St) on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 starting at 11 a.m.
The Seattle event will be held in conjunction with driver protests in other major metropolitan areas around the country in anticipation of Uber’s much-anticipated debut on Wall Street, which is expected to draw a valuation that could top $100 billion. Strikes and other actions are planned in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C.
Teamsters at ICS have participated in multiple solidarity actions over the last few months to force the company to treat them fairly.
Community support has been overwhelming for Teamsters at Industrial Container Services (ICS) who are fighting for a fair contract.
Today Javier Cruz, a representative of OneAmerica, delivered a letter supporting the workers to company management. OneAmerica is the largest immigrant advocacy organization in Washington State.
The photo below shows Cruz flanked by ICS workers as he prepares to deliver the letter:
The OneAmerica letter calls on ICS to restore the previous level of health benefits for ICS workers, cease any labor violations, and immediately resolve its differences with members of Teamsters 117.
"We're supporting workers here because they are immigrants and deserve good wages and the right to negotiate with the company," Cruz said.
"We want better benefits, affordable health insurance for our families, and decent wages so we can survive and pay the rent," said Pedro Ruelas, a four-year employee at the company.
"These workers have shown time and time again that they will fight to protect their livelihoods, but their patience is wearing thin," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "Now it's up to ICS to show them the respect they deserve or suffer the consequences of a drawn-out labor dispute."
Our union's bargaining committee will be back in mediation with ICS on May 23 and 24.
Governor Inslee signs a bill granting interest arbitration rights to Teamsters who work at the WA State Department of Corrections.
It’s a victory a decade in the making.
For ten years, Teamsters across Washington State made phone calls, wrote emails, and met face-to-face with legislators. We rallied on the steps of the state house, spoke out in the press, and marched around the Capitol grounds in Olympia.
Now, after years of perseverance, we have achieved an historic win.
On April 30, Governor Inslee signed a bill that immeasurably expands the rights of 6,000 Teamsters at the Department of Corrections (DOC).
The new law grants our union access to interest arbitration, a right essential to public safety professionals and one that has been denied our members for decades. Making the victory even sweeter, Inslee signed a similar bill on the same day that benefits Teamster officers at the University of Washington Police Department (UWPD).
“Our corrections and law enforcement members put their lives on the line to protect the public,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117, who made passage of the bills a top priority. “Interest arbitration ensures our members are treated with respect.”
"Interest arbitration ensures our members are treated with respect."
Interest arbitration is a complete game-changer when it comes to the power our union can leverage at the bargaining table. Without interest arbitration, we had little recourse when negotiating over issues like wages and working conditions. Not surprisingly, the State exploited its advantage by engaging in frustrating cycles of take-it-or-leave-it bargaining.
These new laws allow our union to push mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral arbitrator if we reach impasse in negotiations.
The ramifications are huge. Over the last three contract cycles, our DOC members have been able to access interest arbitration, first through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Governor, then through a negotiated provision in our contract. With interest arbitration, we have prevented concessions, strengthened language and increased wages for DOC Teamsters by a minimum of 28.3% over six years.
But from the start our goal has always been to codify interest arbitration into State law. “We wanted to ensure these rights could not be stripped away during negotiations, so we made statutory interest arbitration a long-term priority,” Scearcy said.
Getting to the goal wasn’t easy. Ross Hunter, the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee blocked early drafts of the bill. Later, the State Senate lacked the votes to pass the legislation. But thanks in part to our union’s powerhouse political program, the legislative landscape in Washington State shifted in 2018, creating an environment for change.
“We worked hard to elect legislators who were supportive and that approach paid off,” Scearcy said.
Under Scearcy’s leadership, our union made another major push during this year’s legislative session. In 2019, we had our largest, most successful lobby day ever. Over 200 Teamsters and their families converged on the State Capitol to talk with legislators about the need to get the law passed.
Now, after years of determination and hard work, a goal once thought unattainable has become a reality.
“I’m proud to be a Teamster,” said James Deuel, a corrections officer at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton. “Interest arbitration levels the playing field with management. It gives us the opportunity to fight for what we want and what we need.”
This Tuesday is truly a momentous day for our corrections and law enforcement members.
At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, Governor Inslee will sign into law bills granting statutory interest arbitration rights for our members at the Department of Corrections and University of Washington Police Department (SB 5021/SB 5022). At the same ceremony, the Governor will also sign a bill that restores the right for trained DOC personnel to carry a concealed weapon (HB 1589).
We will be gathering outside of the Governor's office on Tuesday starting at 1:30 p.m. All members are encouraged to attend this event and join in celebrating this extraordinary accomplishment.
Interest arbitration increases our power and leverage in contract negotiations. Without interest arbitration, we had little recourse when bargaining with the State over issues like wages and working conditions.
With this new law, we will be able to take mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator if we reach impasse in negotiations.
Over the next several weeks, we have a number of activities planned to celebrate this win. We will be sending thank you cards to the legislators who supported our bills and recognizing the bill sponsors and other key legislators at our June membership meeting and our summer DOC barbecues.
We are also creating a commemorative pin to recognize the hard work so many of you put in to pass this legislation.
Congratulations and thank you to everyone on this historic achievement. After a decade-long effort in the Washington State Legislature to expand the rights of Local 117 members, our moment of victory is close at hand.
Brothers and Sisters -
When members come together and get involved in their union, we can accomplish great things.
We’ve seen that recently at Teamsters 117 with a string of victories and inspiring examples of union solidarity.
For our members at the Department of Corrections and UW campus police, interest arbitration bills on their way to the Governor’s desk for his signature will immeasurably expand their rights in the workplace.
It’s a goal we’ve fought for nearly a decade poised to become a reality.
"When members come together and get involved in their union, we can accomplish great things."
At King County, we’ve also achieved a signature win. With historically high turnout, members at the County voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new Total Comp Agreement negotiated by a coalition of unions that will raise wages by a minimum of 7% over two years. The first wage increases will take effect this May with members receiving a retro check in June dating back to the beginning of the year.
This kind of union power is also fiercely present in our private sector shops.
Over the last few months, a group of mostly immigrant workers at Industrial Container Services has worn solidarity stickers, raised just practicing pickets outside of their workplace, and marched on the boss to deliver letters of community support.
Their goal? To end their employer’s bullying and win an equitable contract for themselves and their families. Their courageous actions should be an inspiration to us all.
All of this comes as our union prepares for an exciting event. On May 18, we will be holding our first-ever Womxn’s Conference for members of Teamsters 117 and their families. The conference will feature guest speakers, workshops, presentations, a fundraiser art-show, kid’s activities, and a delicious lunch.
This massive undertaking has been organized by a committee of member leaders. They’ve done the hard work of planning the agenda, inviting speakers, and recruiting attendees. The conference is open to all, and I strongly encourage you to attend. At this event we will unveil our newly-created scholarship - the Teamsters 117 Jayme Biendl Working Women’s Scholarship!
Members getting involved in our union can achieve amazing results. I encourage you to find ways to build unity and power in the workplace. All of us are stronger through your bold, creative actions.
Teamsters Rod Boettger (r) and Todd Reis (l) meet with Union Representative Cara Mattson to discuss a looming labor dispute at Veritiv.
With a labor dispute looming at Veritiv, 38-year Teamster Roderick Boettger recalls a two-day strike at the company decades ago.
It was a debacle not unlike the current one, with the company dragging its feet in negotiations and clinging to substandard proposals. “They weren’t giving us what we wanted, so we went on strike,” Boettger said.
The strike was short-lived, but the impact on the company was profound. Boetteger remembers the chaos in the shop when his crew returned to work.
“The warehouse was really messed up,” he said. “Forklifts were stuck in the air and stuff was scattered all over the place. It was complete disorder.”
Evidently, the company has not learned its lesson. This time around, they've slow-walked negotiations for eight months and appear to be trying to provoke a strike yet again.
Todd Reis, a Shop Steward on our union’s negotiations committee, called out Veritiv for its hypocrisy. “They tell us how much they care, but then turn around and try to take everything away that we’ve worked hard to keep,” he said.
Reis, Boettger and their co-workers are fed up. The group of warehouse workers and drivers represented by Teamsters 117 and 174 respectively voted unanimously to authorize a strike back in December.
Earlier this month, our two Locals issued a 10-day notice that we would be terminating our contracts with the company.
"We’ll get an idea of how seriously they’re going to take us soon."
Shop Steward Robert Morrison, also on our union’s negotiations team, says the group is disgusted. “We’re ready to go right now. We’ll get an idea of how seriously they’re going to take us soon.”
John Scearcy, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, reiterated this point. “Our members are amped up and ready to strike,” he said. “Veritiv needs to return to negotiations and bargain a fair contract in good faith that respects our members and their families.”
The next negotiations session on April 30 will be telling: Will Veritiv come with reasonable proposals or will they continue to balk at decent treatment of their employees? If it's the latter, they'd better be ready for a fight.
Teamster Gerald Maines sits down with Jesse Jones of KIRO 7 to discuss the plant closure at Shasta.
Thanks to some shrewd investigatory reporting by KIRO 7's Jesse Jones, Shasta's dirty tricks are finally being exposed.
Shasta's Tukwila plant was shut down by the City's fire marshal nine weeks ago after the company failed to obtain permits for a major construction project at the facility.
Shasta has refused to provide any compensation for its Teamster employees during the shutdown, and many have lost their health and welfare benefits. This includes a member with a new-born baby and one battling stage 4 cancer.
After getting stonewalled by Shasta, Shop Steward Gerald Maines along with Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy reached out to Jones to talk about our contractual rights and how the company's negligence has affected workers.
"We have a labor agreement, we have rights in that labor agreement that guarantee pay. And unless it's outside the company's control, they are expected and contractually obligated to provide wages and benefits," Scearcy told Jones in the interview.
See the full story below:
On Friday, the State House and Senate finalized the legislation for our Department of Corrections (DOC) and University of Washington Police Department (UWPD) interest arbitration bills (SB 5021/SB 5022). This clears the way for both bills to be sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
The Governor has indicated that he is supportive of the bills, and we expect he will sign them into law in the coming weeks. As soon as we have a date for the bill signing ceremony, we will let you know and encourage you to attend this historic event.
It’s hard to express the magnitude of this victory. We’ve been working as a union for nearly a decade to achieve statutory interest arbitration rights. Now the finish line is close at hand.
Interest arbitration is a complete game-changer when it comes to the power we leverage in contract negotiations. Without interest arbitration, we had little recourse when bargaining with the State over issues like wages and working conditions.
It’s hard to express the magnitude of this victory.
With this new law, we will be able to push mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator if we reach impasse in negotiations.
The ramifications are huge. Over the last three contract cycles we’ve been able to access interest arbitration rights at the DOC, first through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Governor, then through a negotiated provision in our contract. Because of interest arbitration, we’ve succeeded in increasing wages for DOC Teamsters by 28.3% over six years.
But from the start our goal has always been to codify these rights into State law, which is exactly what these bills will do. Once they become law, we will have increased our strength to negotiate higher wages and better working conditions for all of you who risk your lives to serve and protect our communities.
Thanks again for your tremendous work toward this victory. By standing together and committing to each other, we’ve succeeded in achieving critical rights that will improve the lives of 6,000 members and their families.
We have lots of great news to share from Olympia!
On Saturday, our interest arbitration bill (SB 5021) for Teamsters at the DOC cleared yet another critical hurdle when it passed out of the House Appropriations committee on a vote of 26-6.
The bill has now successfully passed out of all of its fiscal and policy committees in the House of Representatives and is in the House Rules Committee awaiting a vote on the House floor. Passage in the House is the final step before the bill gets sent to the Governor for his signature.
Interest arbitration is important because it levels the playing field when we are in negotiations with the State. With interest arbitration, we can take mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator if we reach impasse in negotiations.
In more good news from Olympia, our bill (HB 1589) that restores the right for trained DOC personnel to carry a concealed weapon is in the Senate Rules Committee and requires only a Senate floor vote and the Governor’s signature to secure passage.
Our other top priority is to ensure that our DOC contract gets funded. On that front, things are looking promising as well. While budget negotiations are ongoing, both the House and the Senate have included funding for our collective bargaining agreement in their budgets.
This is all fantastic news. Our collective voice as Teamsters this legislative session has been incredibly strong and made a tremendous impact. Thank you for working so hard to make sure legislators hear our voice and to build a strong political program that makes these kinds of victories possible.
Have a kid who needs cash for class? Teamsters 117 is now accepting applications for the 2019 Jeff Alfieri Scholarship.
The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, May 31, 2019.
- View scholarship application and instructions
- View eligibility requirements
- View a flyer for the program
The Local 117 Jeff Alfieri Scholarship of up to $2000 is awarded to outstanding students whose parents are members of Teamsters Local 117. If you have questions about the scholarship, talk to your Business Representative, or call 206-441-4860 or 1-888-872-3489.
The founders of the scholarship fund, Ralph and Sue Alfieri, established the scholarship in memory of their son Jeff Alfieri, a former Business Representative with Teamsters Local 117.
Teamsters at UNFI/Supervalu are united and won't be pushed around by an employer who is intent on maximizing profits at their expense.
Imagine coming home from work, you sit your family down, and have tell them your job is being relocated hundreds of miles away. Your employer is offering no security with regard to your union contract, your wages, seniority, and benefits.
This is the reality for our members employed at the UNFI/Supervalu grocery distribution centers in Auburn and Tacoma.
After acquiring Supervalu last year, UNFI abruptly announced that they would be moving the work from both facilities to Chehalis and Ridgefield.
The proposed move raises critical questions for our members and their families. Will they remain Teamsters? Will the terms and conditions of their current contract apply at the new locations? Will they retain their seniority rights? What will their severance package look like if they are unable to make the move?
"Teamsters at UNFI/Supervalu won't be bullied into forfeiting their rights."
Hundreds of members from the group and their families met at our Union Hall in Tukwila on March 16 to discuss these questions and set priorities. The group met again for another update on Saturday, March 30.
"This is everyone's future," said Annette Pitchford, a 33-year Teamster Shop Steward who works inventory control at the UNFI/Supervalu facility in Tacoma. "It is essential that we stay together and you can really feel that in the warehouse right now."
Our union's principal officer John Scearcy was joined by previous Local 117 Secretary-Treasurers Tracey Thompson and John Williams to address the group.
"We are working to ensure that our members' rights are protected under their contract and under the law," Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy said. "Teamsters at UNFI/Supervalu won't be bullied into forfeiting their rights. They are united and prepared to fight to protect their livelihoods."
Faith-based and community leaders join with workers at ICS who are struggling for justice and respect.
Community pressure on Industrial Container Services (ICS) continues to intensify.
An interfaith delegation of religious leaders and representatives from community groups joined with workers to deliver a letter yesterday calling on the company to respect the rights of ICS employees and bargain a contract in good faith.
Members of the delegation took turns offering prayer and a message of solidarity with the workers as the group waited in the ICS lobby for management to receive the delegation and "open the doors of justice."
"I wanted to be here with my voice and my presence today to stand behind these workers and their courage because what they need and what they want for their families is important," said Tana Powell of the Valley and Mountain United Methodist Church.
"Our community is standing in unity with Teamsters at ICS."
Workers at ICS have been struggling over the last several months for a contract that honors their work and respects their right to a clean, healthy working environment.
During negotiations, ICS unilaterally changed its employees' health care plan and allegedly engaged in unlawful surveillance of workers during a peaceful protest on February 22.
On March 7, Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez met with workers and delivered a letter to ICS management urging the company to negotiate a living wage, affordable health care, and retirement security for members of Teamsters 117.
"Our community is standing in unity with Teamsters at ICS," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "This company needs to understand that we are stronger when all workers can afford to put food on the table for their families, take their kids to the doctor, and not have to worry about exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace."