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.
Looking for a meaningful way to spend the upcoming MLK weekend? Come out and march for justice with other members of Teamsters 117.
Groups of Teamsters will be participating in both the Seattle Women’s March on Saturday, January 19 and the MLK March on Monday, January 21.
Look for Teamster banners and signs at the following times and locations:
SEATTLE WOMEN’S MARCH
Saturday, January 19 - 9:00am-11:00am
Cal Anderson Park (1635 11th Avenue, Seattle)
To meet up with other Teamsters, contact your union representative or reach out to Talisa Boad at 360-722-0891.
MLK DAY MARCH & RALLY
Monday, January 21 – 12:30pm-1:30pm
Garfield High School (400 23rd Ave. Seattle)
To march with Teamsters, contact your union representative or reach out to Karen Estevenin at 206-794-8471.
Both events further our mission as a union that builds power and unity for all working people to improve lives and lift up our communities.
As the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said: “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.”
It’s political season again, as lawmakers in Washington State have headed back to Olympia for the start of the 2019 legislative session. This is a budget year, which calls for a long session – 105 days, running from January 14 through April 28, 2019.
Over the last few years, our union has built a strong voice in Olympia. Participation at our annual lobby day has grown from a few dozen a decade ago to over 200 members and their families at last year’s event. With a stronger voice, we’ve been able to achieve legislative change that has benefited workers across our state. We’ve funded contracts for state employees and passed bills that have made our workplaces safer and more secure.
Our collective power is a direct result of member involvement, and in 2019 there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved.
Superheroes have captivated Halem since childhood.
Halem Hasan is a Teamster who works the night shift at Safeway Beverage Plant in Bellevue. A machine operator, he oversees the production of beverages that are shipped to stores across the country. He does that work by night, but at daybreak his steel-toed boots, the chemical resistant smock, mask, and goggles come off, and he puts on his cape. Now, Halem is on a mission. He walks the sunlit streets unnoticed, but the object of his search is always the same: toys.
Halem buys toys in bulk. He walks out of the stores with bags full of superheroes in boxes, complete with little shields, masks, stars, and above all, a dream at heart. When he gets home, he is cautious. His sidekick, his soon-to-be three-year-old daughter Addison -- an aspiring batgirl, mustn’t find out.
Halem with his family. He has been collecting comic book characters for years.
Every month of the year, Halem buys and puts away toys. In December, he gathers them all into one giant box and donates them to Toys for Tots. Before Safeway, he worked at Toys R Us and took part in the toy drive. That’s when he developed a collector’s taste. Today, Halem remains a toy collector and a devout comic book fan.
"Now, it’s my time to give back to the community this way."
Like every superhero, Halem has a backstory. He was raised by a single mother who struggled but provided the family with the best she could. Toys weren’t high on the priority list. Halem remembers waiting for that special time of the year when he would get gifts through toy donation programs. “We had programs like that for Christmas,” he recollects. “Now, it’s my time to give back to the community this way.” He hopes his daughter will join him on his mission someday.
Here is just a small sample of his collection.
Heidi was 12 when she firmly decided what her calling was. She would end up in the legal field. She knew her passion was to help people the way she wished someone would have guided her parents – immigrants from El Salvador. Heidi’s parents worked hard and raised their daughter to value the community and to be of service to others.
Heidi excelled at her studies, which earned her a scholarship to Hofstra University in Long Island, NY. She soon graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Sociology and Psychology. Later on, in Houston, she learned the ropes of the trade at a personal injury law firm. She didn’t mind the countless hours and the strenuous work. Knowing that she was providing help to the overwhelming number of affected individuals at any time of the day was worth it.
Today, Heidi is easily making the transition into the Teamsters family. The union work resonates with the passion in her heart. “The work of a good lawyer reminds me of the work of a labor organization because it is all about advocating for people,” she mentioned. One of her goals is to continue with her education and become a lawyer.
Welcome aboard, Heidi. We wish you the best of luck and are happy to have you on the team!
It was an incredible show of solidarity and strength this week among Teamsters who work at Transdev.
These paratransit drivers are on the road at all hours, day and night, to ensure that elderly and disabled residents of King County arrive safely to their medical and other appointments.
The County wants to contract their work out to a non-union employer. Our members are demanding respect and that the terms and conditions of their current contract be honored.
Please support them by visiting our Facebook page under the hashtag #TeamstersTransitPower where you can post your words of encouragement.
Now that 2019 has arrived, Teamsters who work at the WA State Department of Corrections can look forward to much-deserved wage increases that our union achieved through the interest arbitration process.
Effective January 1, 2019, most DOC Teamsters received a general wage increase of 3% while some classifications received targeted range increases. Those increases, which can be viewed here, are the last of three wage increases in our current 2017-2019 collective bargaining agreement.
In our 2019-2021 contract, you can expect the following increases:
- A 4% general wage increase effective July 1, 2019
- A 4% general wage increase effective July 1, 2020
- Range increases for some classifications
To take effect, the wage increases in our 2019-2021 contract must be approved by the state legislature. Getting our contract funded will take an excellent turnout at our upcoming Teamsters Lobby Day on February 26-27.
Thank you for the incredible service you provide to communities across our state. Working inside a prison is a constant challenge, and you and your co-workers put your lives on the line every day to protect the public.
The wage increases you receive this year and next represent a small step toward honoring your work and giving you the recognition you deserve.
King County Shop Stewards tallying votes at the union hall in Tukwila on Thursday evening.
Good news for Teamsters at King County! All Teamsters 117 bargaining units have voted resoundingly to ratify the Total Compensation ("total comp") agreement and their individual appendix agreements. The votes were tallied and certified by a group of ten King County shop stewards from various divisions at our Teamsters union hall in Tukwila on Thursday, December 20.
Your new contract covers your wages, benefits, and other compensable elements for 2019-2020. With the contract approved, all Teamsters 117 members at the County will receive a 4% wage increase effective January 1, 2019 and a total of a 3% wage increase in 2020, divided into two parts: a 1.5% increase effective January 1, 2020 and a 1.5% increase effective July 1, 2020.
Before this year’s wage increase is reflected in your paycheck, the contract will have to be approved by the King County Council and signed by the County Executive, which could take several months. You will receive your wage increase retroactive to January 1 once the approval process is complete. All Teamsters 117 members will also receive a $500 bonus on January 1, 2020 that applies to members of the King County Coalition of Unions only.
Other improvements include enhancements to your vision plan, the restoration of the 2016 retirees medical subsidy, improved long-term disability benefits, and access to a short-term disability plan. The excellent family medical benefits you enjoy as a union member at King County remain unchanged for the term of the contract. You can view the complete total comp agreement along with your individual unit’s appendix agreement here.
This new contract represents an important win for Teamsters at King County. Our strength and leverage at the negotiations table lies both with our Local Union and in working as a part of a powerful Coalition of King County Unions.
"This vote shows that when we stand together for family wages, better benefits, and a safe, secure, equitable workplace, we can win improvements for ourselves and our families," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "Thank you to our outstanding union bargaining committee that spent many months and tireless hours pushing the County to do right by its employees. In the end, we have achieved a contract that recognizes the tremendous service you provide to the residents of King County."
If you have questions, please reach out to your negotiations committee member, your shop steward, or your union representative.
Thank you for your service. We wish you a happy new year.
It was an incredible, fun-filled holiday meeting at the Teamsters hall last night. Hundreds of Local 117 members and their families packed the main auditorium and overflow room as we raffled off dozens of gifts, including a couple of mammoth tvs.
Thank you to all Teamsters 117 members for making our union the world's very best - powerful, united, and worker and community-driven.
Happy holidays, everyone!
Seattle-area drivers employed by Chariot, a micro-transit service owned by Ford Smart Mobility LLC, have chosen to join Teamsters Local 117. The workers authorized the union as their exclusive bargaining representative through a card check process conducted by an independent arbitrator last week.
The group of eighteen drivers joined together to ensure that they have a voice over issues like their wages, benefits, and working conditions. “Having a union will allow us to work with our employer to create greater protections and a better working environment for all of us,” said Mark Creighton, a driver with the company.
"Having a union will allow us to work with our employer to create greater protections... for all of us."
Throughout the organizing process, Chariot remained neutral and allowed workers to determine for themselves whether they wanted union representation.
“Chariot provides an excellent example of how a company should conduct itself during an organizing drive,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “While some employers fire workers or aggressively spread anti-union propaganda, Chariot trusted its workers to decide for themselves whether they wanted to join the union.”
The certification of Teamsters 117 as the workers’ exclusive representative triggers the process for contract negotiations. In the coming weeks, drivers will meet to establish their priorities for negotiations and identify rank-and-file leaders to participate on the union bargaining committee.
“We are thrilled to welcome Chariot drivers to our union,” said Scearcy. “Drivers at Chariot deserve a contract that protects their rights and reflects their priorities in the workplace. We are committed to working with them to achieve that goal.”
High winds travelled across Washington State last week uprooting trees and downing power lines. Thousands of residents were left without power. In Lake Forest Park, a crew of 6 public works employees responded to reports of wreckage caused by the winds. They cleared fallen branches from the roads and cleared the space for telecommunications and electrical utility services to make repairs. The crew performing this frequently dangerous job are Teamsters. They are the invisible force that takes care of street flooding, issues with water and sewage, and all the other tasks that keep the roads open and functional.
The group at Lake Forest Park organized 15 years ago, and their shop steward, Ian Murray, would still make the same decision today. They face day-to-day challenges with their management. He commented: “Without a union, management cannot be held accountable even if there are bad consequences for the public or the employees. When we are united and effective, they back off. Otherwise, we would lose our jobs on their whim.” The majority of members at Lake Forest Park have held their jobs for over a decade.
"When we are united and effective, they back off."
Murray has just gone through contract negotiations, and his team’s new contract goes into effect on the first day of 2019. In addition to a wage increase, they will receive a bump in compensation for “stand by” days, which happen when the whole crew is placed on call in case their help is needed due to severe weather events.
The highlight of the contract, however, is replacement of the Quartermaster system. Getting new gear – work clothes and boots – used to be a hassle. They had to submit the old work clothes before applying for replacement. This always resulted in management-controlled delay during which the workers had to wear their own clothes and boots. Since public works employees frequently operate in dangerous and grimy environments, their gear is expensive and has to meet safety standards. Now, with the new contract, they will receive a yearly stipend for their own gear and have control over access to professional clothing.
As more wind and rain are expected this week, Lake Forest Park Teamsters climb into their trucks and drive off to continue clearing the highway and preparing for the next tempest. Some of them will be on the road on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. If you see them driving by, send them a salute.
Join us for our Holiday Membership Meeting extravaganza this Thursday, December 20 from 7-9pm at the union hall in Tukwila.
As always, we'll have our annual raffle drawing, where members can win from a bevy of holiday prizes.
Electronics, power tools, bottles of wine, gift cards, games, big screen tvs, and best of all, NUTS, will be awarded during the meeting. All of the gifts are purchased from companies with whom Local 117 has a bargaining relationship.
If you work graveyard and are unable to attend the meeting, be sure to stop by the hall during the day on Thursday for some cookies and holiday cheer and to put your name in for the raffle.
All members are welcome! You can RSVP for the meeting online here.
OFM Director, David Schumacher, made the announcement in a memo sent to Governor Inslee on December 10. This means the Governor will include our award in his proposed 2019-2021 operating budget that will be submitted to the state legislature.
OFM's determination is a critical step toward ensuring that the 8% general wage increase for DOC Teamsters and the other terms of the award will take effect.
But it is certainly not a foregone conclusion. The legislature must still vote to approve funding the award.
Getting the award funded by the legislature will require an excellent showing at our DOC Lobby Day on February 26-27.
Most legislators have never set foot inside a prison and do not understand the challenging and essential nature of your work. We need to educate our legislators in Olympia about the critical work of corrections so they understand its value.
Please join your DOC co-workers in Olympia for our Lobby Day on February 26-27! If you have any questions about the event, talk to your union representative or contact Teamsters 117 Political Director Dustin Lambro.
Thank you for your service to our communities.
Teamsters 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy (c) together with union staff at the Shop Steward Seminar in March.
The votes are in! Teamsters 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy has been elected to serve as one of five vice presidents of the Washington State Labor Council’s First District and will serve under the new leadership of incoming President-elect Larry Brown and Secretary-Treasurer April Sims. The results of the election were certified last Thursday by an election committee of the WSLC.
The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is the largest union organization in Washington State with over 600 affiliated local unions and organizations, representing some 450,000 rank-and-file union members.
“I am honored to serve the working men and women across Washington State,” Scearcy said. “I will always strive to build a labor movement that is inclusive, bold, and reflective of the values all workers share - wages to raise a family, strong communities, a secure retirement, and respect in the workplace.”
Earlier this year Scearcy was recognized as Best Principal Officer of the Year by the Martin Luther King Labor Council.
“The labor movement needs more leaders like John Scearcy,” said newly-elected WSLC President-elect Larry Brown. “I respect what he brings to this movement, and the labor council is so lucky to have his voice on our executive board.”