When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

Standing Strong: Sysco Teamsters vote unanimously to authorize a strike

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Sysco Teamsters in front of our union hall in Tukwila after the strike authorization vote. 


There was not a single no vote in the house.  All Teamster drivers and warehouse workers who packed the union hall for the Sysco meeting on Saturday cast their vote to authorize a strike.

The unanimous strike vote sends a clear message to the company that the group is not backing down in their fight for fairness.

The company came into negotiations with a substandard proposal across the board and have taken some actions that we are investigating as potential violations of federal labor law.

“Teamsters at Sysco in Seattle are prepared to strike for fair treatment and to protect their livelihoods,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117 and the lead negotiator for the union. “Our members work incredibly hard to supply safe food service products to schools, restaurants, and hospitals across our region. The company needs to recognize them for their labor.”

Negotiations between Sysco and our union got underway in July, with the contract set to expire on September 1. No extension agreement has been signed.

In other parts of the country, Sysco has been trampling on the rights of workers. In recent months, Local 117 members have participated in Days of Action to show solidarity with Teamsters in Oklahoma where the company has fired multiple shop stewards and tried to break the union. Late last year, Sysco Teamsters in Missouri established an unfair labor practice picket line to protest alleged violations of federal labor law.

We are hopeful that when Sysco returns to the negotiations table, they will bargain in good faith. We will keep you updated as soon as we have more information.


Investment in Member Training Pays Off with Local 117 Leadership Academy

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Congratulations to our Teamsters Leadership Academy participants who just finished up an 8-month training that covered topics like labor history, organizing, building union power, contract enforcement, communications, and more.

This program is part of our union's strategic priority to invest in member leadership and development. That priority grew out of member input into our 2016-2019 strategic plan.

In last night's training, Cheryl Miller of DOC and Skyler Still of GP Gypsum shared their experiences with the group of organizing solidarity-building actions at their workplaces. 

Cheryl put on a day-long BBQ for members at the Airway Heights Corrections Center in Spokane, while Skyler rallied his co-workers to wear buttons to coincide with a visit from corporate so that he could bring to their attention concerns on the shop floor. 

What an amazing group of Local 117 leaders committed to building a stronger union! We'll be recognizing these members on their achievements at the September membership meeting. Don't miss it!

 


Union demands equity on wages as DOC interest arbitration begins

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Our union team presented the case for higher compensation for DOC Teamsters today in the first day of our interest arbitration hearing with the State.

The core of our argument is that our corrections members deserve more than the State’s proposal to raise wages by 2% in year one and 2% in year two of our contract. The membership unequivocally rejected that proposal by 98.8% to 1.2% in the recent DOC contract vote.

The results of the vote triggered the interest arbitration clause in our contract. It also sent a powerful message to the arbitrator that the State’s substandard proposal does not come close to recognizing the critical work DOC Teamsters do to serve and protect our communities.

Unfortunately, the State is still not getting the message. They continued to maintain in today’s proceedings that higher wages for DOC are unnecessary and unwarranted.

Our union attorneys countered by laying out our argument for higher wages based on comparables with corrections employees in like jurisdictions. You can view the union’s opening statement here.


Teamsters win strong contract at SuperValu

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Our union team gathers on the first day of contract negotiations with SuperValu.


Over the weekend, Teamsters who work in SuperValu’s grocery warehouse in Tacoma voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year contract. The contract provides annual wage increases, excellent health and welfare coverage, and retirement security for over 200 members of Local 117 and their families.

“One of the highlights for me was ensuring full maintenance of our medical benefits,” said Anthony McKinney, a shop steward who served on our union’s negotiations committee. “A lot of my co-workers are on their way to having children. They’ll see the incredible benefit of keeping this medical coverage in our contract.”

"They’ll see the incredible benefit of keeping this medical coverage..."

The agreement maintains industry standards and aligns with other Teamster grocery contracts, including those at Safeway and Fred Meyer. This is a major accomplishment given the dramatic changes and consolidation in the industry.

A little over a year ago, SuperValu purchased Unified Grocers for $390 million. Teamsters who had worked in Unified’s Seattle warehouse moved down to the SuperValu facility in Tacoma.


A Resounding NO: DOC Teamsters Vote to Reject State's Contract Propsoal

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Our message is loud and clear. By an overwhelming margin, DOC Teamsters have voted to reject the State’s contract proposal.

The final vote results are as follows:

  • 98.8% (2886) voted to REJECT the State’s offer.
  • 1.2% (34) voted to ACCEPT the State's offer

With over 50% of the DOC membership casting a ballot, this contract vote has one of the highest voter participation rates ever.

Clearly, the membership found the State’s proposal to increase wages by 2% in year one and 2% in year two insultingly low. With a strong economy and higher than expected revenues, the State needs to do more to recognize your work and the sacrifices you make every day to serve and protect our communities.

The vote to reject the proposal means that we now have the opportunity to present our argument for higher wages before a neutral, third-party arbitrator in a hearing scheduled to start this Wednesday, August 22 in Tacoma. 

The arbitrator will listen to evidence on both sides and issue a decision on general wage increases and other economic elements of our contract by the end of September.

No matter what the arbitrator decides, we will need to make sure that the award is fully funded by the State legislature during the next legislative session in Olympia, which starts in January. This will require a massive participation at our annual Lobby Day event, which will take place in February next year.

The interest arbitration hearing is scheduled to run for eight days. During the hearing, we will provide you with regular updates. We will also be calling on members of the bargaining unit to testify at the hearing as we make our case before the arbitrator. 

Thank you to everyone who made their voice heard and for following the lead of our union’s negotiations committee that unanimously recommended that you reject the State’s proposal.

Your work as Teamster corrections employees is worth more than the State’s substandard offer. You face challenges and dangers on the job that the public doesn’t understand to protect all of us. The State needs to do more to honor your service.


King County total comp update - August 10, 2018

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Members of Teamsters 117 on our King County Coalition of Unions negotiations team.


Our union coalition team was back at the negotiations table with King County yesterday as we continue to bargain over your wages and health care for 2019-2020.

These so-called “Total Comp” negotiations have been ongoing since February with a group of dozens of rank-and-file union members, including more than 20 Teamsters, representing your interests in bargaining.

We have entered the challenging period in these negotiations when we are relatively close to an agreement but still have a few critical issues to resolve.

The County made a proposal in the last session that involved many moving parts including general wage increases and other economic elements of your contract. Our group spent much of yesterday’s session identifying the highest priority items that will have the greatest benefit to the largest number of represented members at the County.

The good news is that the fund that safeguards our health care benefits is in excellent shape. The Protected Fund Reserve (PFR), which was established in 2013 by the Joint Labor Management Insurance Committee (JLMIC), has grown from $25 million to a projected $66 million in 2018.


Tracey Thompson returns to lead our union's legal dept

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Welcome back Tracey Thompson (l) and thank you Marie Duarte (r) for your outstanding service!


Brothers and Sisters -

Changes are coming to our outstanding Teamsters 117 legal team. In September, Marie Duarte, our Associate General Counsel, will be returning to the east coast to be closer to her family.

During her tenure at Local 117, Marie has been a passionate advocate for workers' rights, has successfully defended dozens of members of our union in arbitration, and has handled challenging litigation. My deep appreciation goes out to Marie for her work on behalf of all members of Teamsters 117.

Knowing Marie, I have the utmost confidence that she will continue to rise to the defense of workers no matter where her career path takes her in the future. We wish her all the best!

In parting, Marie has these words to share: "It has been a privilege to represent the members of Teamsters Local 117 for almost two years. I am humbled by the trust that John, Michelle, and the members put in me to help realize their collective vision of building power and unity for working people. As an immigrant woman, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to bring a new voice to this work. Thank you for the opportunity to serve."

Returning to replace Marie, we welcome a familiar face. Tracey Thompson has accepted the position of General Counsel of Teamsters 117 effective September 10. 

"It is an honor to return to serve the members of this union that I love..."

For those of you who don't know Tracey, she is somewhat of a legend in the labor movement in the Pacific Northwest. Tracey was a staff attorney at our Local for six years before serving as Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117 from 2009-2015. 

Tracey brings an extraordinary legal mind to the position, an intimate knowledge of our union, and a deep passion for defending the rights of workers. To top it off, Tracey is in good health and eager to get started. We are thrilled to have Tracey back on board!

"It is an honor to return to serve the members of this union that I love under the outstanding leadership of John Scearcy and Michelle Woodrow," Tracey said. "I'm ready to hit the ground running and ensure that our union's legal counsel is second to none."

Please join me in thanking Marie for her service and welcoming Tracey back to our union! 

In unity,

John Scearcy
Secretary-Treasurer


TAKE ACTION: Defend attacks on health care for state employees!

Hands-Off-Our-Health-Care.pngAccess to good health care is critical for State employees, but so far the State is not getting the message. In the current round of health care negotiations, their proposal would increase out-of-pocket costs for you and your family.

Our coalition of unions has proposed COST SAVINGS through a reduced premium share, but the State is pushing back. We need to flood the Governor's office with phone calls and emails now!

Tell the Governor to fund a health care agreement that values the hard work you perform to serve and protect our communities. 

During the recession, State employees made sacrifices to help the State through its financial crisis. Now that the State is back on solid financial footing, they need to prevent costly increases to your health care.

CALL AND EMAIL THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE NOW!

Call Governor Inslee's office at 360-902-4111 or send him an email now. Urge him to:

  • Support a fair health care agreement that values the hard work and sacrifices you make to serve and protect our communities.

Please call and email the Governor now!


Tacoma Joint Labor Committee Contract Vote

Vote materials were mailed out on August 8 for Teamsters employed at the City of Tacoma under the Tacoma Joint Labor Committee Agreement. This is a one-year rollover to the current agreement. Your union negotiations committee recommends that you VOTE YES to approve the proposal.

You can access the complete redlined proposal below:

Please mail your ballot back to our union office by August 20. If you have questions, please talk to your Union Representative.


DOC Contract Voting Is Now Closed - Voting Closed on Sunday Night at 11:59 P.M.

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DOC VOTING IS NOW CLOSED. VOTING CLOSED AT 11:59 P.M. ON SUNDAY, AUG. 19.  We will be posting the results on Monday, August 20. Stay Tuned!

Your union negotiations committee unanimously recommends that you VOTE NO!

VOTING INSTRUCTIONS

Voting is being conducted two ways: (1) by telephone or (2) through the internet. You may only vote by one (1) method. Polls open at 12:01 A.M. on Monday, August 6 and close at 11:59 P.M. on Sunday, August, 19.

COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT YOU VOTE NO!

Your union's negotiations committee is unanimously recommending that you VOTE NO on your contract. A majority voting no will send the State's substandard economic proposal to an interest arbitration hearing where we will make our case for higher wages before the arbitrator.

Please review the documents listed below AND attend one of the contract update meetings at your facility to understand why we are recommending a NO vote. The cover letter, voting instructions, and contract summary documents below will also be mailed to your home address on file with the union.

DOC CONTRACT DOCUMENTS

CONTRACT UPDATE MEETINGS

Attend one of the contract update meetings at your facility to understand why we are recommending a NO vote and to inform yourself about the upcoming interest arbitration process. Be sure to check the times and locations of the meetings at your facility.

It is important that we have excellent voter turnout and a strong NO VOTE so that we can make our case for higher wages before the arbitrator!


Teamsters Third Summer Internship Complete - Thank You Clara!

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Last week, we said goodbye to our summer intern for 2018, Clara Raftery. Clara joined us to help with the Family.Strength.Community campaign and did wonderful work in engaging our members in the face of the Janus court ruling.

Clara is at the University of Washington studying the Geography of Globalization and Development which involves analyzing social and cultural groups and the organization of society. "I was unaware of the daily workings of labor and organizing, so I really appreciated this experience with Teamsters 117," she said.

Her interest in empowering people and giving them a platform is what drew her to seek an internship in the labor movement. As a co-chair of United Students Against Sweatshops at the UW, she was thrilled at the opportunity to expand her experience contributing to and learning with our team.

Clara engaged workers in empowering conversations, took part in phone banking and attended a Port Commissioners meeting to represent workers' rights. "I really can't stand by when workers or certain communities are misrepresented. Being involved in labor activism is a privilege," she reflected.

This was our third consecutive year of offering internships which help engage young people in the labor movement. If you are attending college, our website is a good source of information to learn about the world of union organizing and representation.


Welcome Vanessa Zavala-Gonzalez and Haley Silvernale to our union staff!

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Vanessa Zavala-Gonzalez (l) and Haley Silvernale (r) joined our union staff in July 2018. 


Our union is excited to welcome two new employees to complement our outstanding administrative staff in the dues office. Vanessa Zavala-Gonzalez and Haley Silvernale began their Local 117 adventure in July.

Haley grew up just a few miles from our union hall and graduated from Raisbeck Aviation High School in 2014. Since then, she has worked at a fastener distribution company and the Museum of Flight, where she ran simulators and gave tours of the Space Shuttle Trainer.

Haley’s family is union to the core, with both her father and grandfather having spent much of their careers representing workers in the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Teamsters.

“With unions, people have a voice to gain the right to work and survive,” she says. “Having a union to back you up is important.”

"With unions, people have a voice..."

Vanessa hails from a hardworking immigrant family that resides in Tacoma. Her father runs his own tiling business while her mother has worked numerous jobs to help support Vanessa and her two older brothers.

Vanessa pitched in from a young age, helping her mom pick raspberries in the summers and clean buildings in the winter while she was in school.  She also assisted with her father’s business, handling licensing, completing tax forms, and organizing his files. 

All of her family’s hard work has paid off as they finished building their own dream home with the help of friends and relatives two years ago.

Vanessa is bilingual and speaks fluent Spanish, which is a tremendous asset for our front-line office staff that serves our diverse membership. She has her sights set on becoming a psychologist or marriage counselor someday. “My family has given me a strong, lovable foundation,” she says. “I want to be able to help create that for others.”

Congratulations to both Haley and Vanessa and welcome to our Local 117 family!


Matt Komperda, 20-year union member, joins staff at Local 117

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Matt Komperda has been a union member his entire adult life and a shop steward on and off for eleven years. Now he’s using that wealth of experience to work as a Union Representative for Teamsters 117.

Matt has been immersed in rep work at the Local since early June to help with coverage in the grocery industry. As a permanent staff member, he’ll be representing members in a broad jurisdiction of private sector shops in King and Pierce counties.

Matt got an early introduction to union jobs. In High School, he worked at a Safeway store in Gig Harbor, where he joined the United Food and Commercial Workers. Just four days after graduation, he got hired on at company’s distribution center in Auburn. That’s when he launched his career as a Teamster.

“I thought it was just going to be a summer job,” he said. “I ended up staying there for 18 years.”

Matt was recruited as a Shop Steward by former Teamster Rep Tom Gallwas, who recognized Matt’s leadership on the shop floor and his keen knowledge of the Safeway contract. 

"I learned attention to detail and the power of having a voice..."

During his tenure as a shop steward, Matt handled grievance meetings, participated on the union’s negotiations team, and attended lobby day events in Olympia. He also was part of a group of member leaders who met to give input on our union’s strategic plan.

“I learned attention to detail, the power of having a voice, and the importance of knowing our Teamsters history,” he said.

Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy is excited to have Matt onboard. “Matt has been a strong member leader in the grocery industry for many years. It’s a pleasure to welcome him to our staff, and I wish him all the best as he moves into a new stage of his Teamster career.”


JCC Contract Proposal Meetings 2018

This August, we will be holding contract proposal meetings for Teamsters who work for the City of Seattle under the Joint Crafts Council agreement.

This is your opportunity to provide feedback on your contract and discuss priorities as a group. 

Please view the schedule of meetings listed below. If you have questions, contact your Union Representative Taylor House at 206-441-4860 x1232. Thank you! 

BARG. UNIT DATE TIME LOCATION
Seattle Parks Coordinators 8/13/2018 2:00-4:00PM Bitter Lake Community Ctr
Seattle City Light South 8/13/2018 5:00-7:00PM Bldg A Multi-Purpose Rm
Seattle FAS/Fleets 8/14/2018 4:30-6:30PM Teamsters Hall - Tukwila
Seattle Parks Assist Coordinators 8/15/2018 12:30-2:00PM Japanese Garden - Tateuchi Community Room 
Seattle Public Utilities 8/15/2018 3:30-5:30PM 2700 Airport Way S.
Seattle City Light North 8/16/2018 4:00-6:00PM North Service Center
Seattle Parking 8/23/2018 3:00-5:00PM Teamsters Hall - Tukwila

 


Teamster leadership academy participant organizes BBQ for fellow members

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Cheryl Miller, her husband Mark, and AHCC member Rob Rinard setting up for the BBQ event on July 31. 


Hot dogs sizzled on the grill as DOC members grabbed a bite to eat and discussed an upcoming contract vote and the need to stay strong given a recent Supreme Court ruling that threatens our union.

The BBQ was organized by Cheryl Miller, a shop steward at the Airway Heights Corrections Center in Spokane. Cheryl is a participant in our Teamsters Leadership Academy and drew inspiration to hold the event from the 9-month course.

“Putting on an event like this was strictly by a member for a member,” she said.  “The only way that we can stay strong is to stick together and stand our ground otherwise we’re going to end up working for a lot less wages than we’re getting now.”

"The only way that we can stay strong is to stick together..."

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in Janus v AFSCME to create an “open shop” environment in the public sector, allowing members to abandon their unions. The danger of open shop is that wages, benefits, and working conditions can erode over time. Cheryl wanted to spread the word that the antidote to open shop is member unity and engagement.

Over the course of the day, hundreds of members stopped by to chat and grab a hot dog. Many expressed their appreciation and said they would make sure to vote on their contract.

An event of this scale cannot be put on without help.  Cheryl recruited her husband, Mark, a retired Teamster food service manager and fellow member Rob Rinard to pass out materials and work the grill. Teamster staff were on hand, including Michelle Woodrow, our union’s President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement, to talk about negotiations and answer questions.

“What an excellent way to build union solidarity,” Woodrow said. “Thank you to Cheryl Miller for organizing this event and to all of our DOC members who work so hard to keep our communities safe. They deserve a contract that recognizes their sacrifice and honors their commitment to public safety.”