When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

First Teamsters Contract for Captains and Lieutenants at SCORE


Captains and Lieutenants at SCORE who passed their first Teamsters contract unanimously are celebrating in front of the facility with President Michelle Woodrow, their rep Matthew House and attorney Eamon McCleery.

At the South Correctional Entity (SCORE) in Des Moines, WA , captains and lieutenants support other corrections staff and oversee the day-to-day activities of inmates, a job that is stressful and challenging. On Tuesday, this group got together to take a vote. On slips of blue paper, they all ticked the same box: yes. They voted for getting better health coverage at a lesser cost, for additional paid time-off, for enrolling in the Teamsters Retiree’s Welfare Trust and for a pay increase of up to 9% over two years. By doing so, they voted in their first-ever Teamsters contract, which turned them from unrepresented, at-will employees to union members secured by a collective agreement and voice.

“Today is a victory, and I’m feeling celebratory,” said Ryan Barrett, a captain and a member of the negotiating committee.


For Ryan Barrett today is a victory. He has been organizing to form a union for over three years.

It all started over three years ago when Barrett approached his co-workers with the idea of organizing to form a union. He was met with some resistance at first, but the group soon warmed up to the idea as things started to change in their organization. Forming a union was a way to ensure fairness and transparency when dealing with an employment issue or needing an answer from an attorney.


Proud new members of Local 117, they made the choice to join Teamsters after thorough research.

The group briefly considered forming their own guild, but after meeting with Michelle Woodrow, President of Teamsters Local 117, and doing some research on their own, they decided Teamsters 117 was the way to go. “We asked our partners and law enforcement agencies in the area and the feedback was nothing but positive,” Barrett explained. “We felt like we would have access to all these strengths for a very small fee. You get so much value of the union that there really are no downsides to it.”

By far, the group values as their biggest achievement the security and representation that comes with having a union. Knowing that they have Teamsters in their corner empowers them to speak up for things that they need and makes their workplace safer.

We're hiring! Seeking Union Representative who will build power with DOC Teamsters


We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications to hire an additional Union Representative for Teamsters who work at the Department of Corrections.

A successful candidate for the position should possess a solid understanding of our collective bargaining agreement and be adept at building union power through member organizing and engagement. The candidate will primarily be responsible for representing members in Western Washington. 

You can access a complete job description for the position on our union's website. Interested applicants must submit a cover letter and resume to Director of Administration Jennifer Shaw at jennifer.shaw@teamsters117.org by the close of business on Wednesday, August 14. 

We are excited to be able to add this additional position thanks to continued growth in our membership, outstanding solidarity at the DOC, and because Local 117 members are standing together to keep our union strong.  

Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy recognized at the WA State Labor Council Convention


Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy received the Power to the People award at the WA State Labor Council Convention on July 26.

Congrats to our amazing Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy! Brother Scearcy was recognized at the WA State Labor Council Convention last week for his outstanding work leading our union's political action program over the last year.

Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy ushered our union through the 2019 legislative session, which was one of our most successful ever. 

We achieved an 8% wage increase over two years for Local 117 members at the WA State Department of Corrections by funding our DOC contract. We also passed a bill that will provide interest arbitration rights to our members at the DOC and the University of Washington Police Department.

Scearcy accepted the award on behalf of our rank-and-file union activists who have been instrumental in fighting to preserve and expand the rights of working families in Washington State.  

Uber Drivers: "No Delay for Fair Pay!"


Today, Uber drivers leafleted outside of Uber’s Seattle office, and at more than a dozen other driver gathering spots, to generate calls to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan calling on her office to immediately introduce legislation to raise driver pay and establish labor protections.  

The leafleting actions come on the heels of Uber releasing a proposal to impose a $3.80 congestion toll on all Seattle commuters.  Drivers say the company’s $3.80 congestion toll plan is nothing more than an attempt to cause delay and avoid regulations that would raise driver pay and fund benefits.

"Instead of focusing on congestion tolls, Uber needs to do right by their drivers first..."

“Instead of focusing on congestion tolls, Uber needs to do right by their drivers first,” said Peter Kuel, an Uber and Lyft driver for more than 5 years and a leadership council member of the App-Based Drivers Association.  “Uber and Lyft should do today what every other business in Seattle already does – ensure drivers earn benefits like paid sick days and are never paid less than minimum wage after expenses.”

Teamsters Vote! Fill out your ballot and drop it in the mail


Just a friendly reminder to make sure you fill out your ballot and drop it in the mail for the 2019 Primary Election by August 6. You no longer need a stamp to make your voice heard! 

Ballots were mailed out to registered voters on July 17. Last year's turnout in Washington State was the highest in 20 years. Let's do our part as union members to make sure results remain strong.

Not surprisingly, presidential and mid-term election years increase voter turnout significantly. But it's equally important for us as concerned citizens to participate in off-year elections.

This year, many of the candidates on your ballot are strong supporters of working families. There are excellent candidates vying for the four seats up for reelection on the King County Council and for the seven open seats on the Seattle City Council.

The outcome of these races and others in the counties and towns across our region will have a tremendous impact on policies and regulations that will affect us for years to come.

Please fill out your ballot and drop it in the mail as soon as possible. If you want to learn about the candidates our union has endorsed through our member-driven process, please visit our union's endorsements page on our website. 

Labor attorney Eamon McCleery joins our union team

Eamon_19.jpgWe're pleased to announce the hiring of Eamon McCleery, an experienced labor attorney who joined our union staff effective July 1.

Eamon will be our Teamsters 117 staff attorney dedicated to handling negotiations, arbitrations, and unfair labor practice litigation on behalf of members working in corrections and law enforcement.

A native of the Pacific Northwest and a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law, Eamon previously worked as an attorney at a labor law firm specializing in representing law enforcement and corrections employees in the State of Washington.

It's important to understand that the outstanding unity and low opt-out rate among law enforcement and corrections members have allowed us to secure Eamon as an additional resource.

When members stand together and commit to each other like we have seen at Teamsters 117, we can improve wages, safety, and benefits and protect our workplace rights through professional, quality representation.

If you are in need of legal support due to an issue in the workplace, please contact your union representative who will initiate a legal review process with Eamon.

Teamsters applaud committee vote to approve pension reform bill

Good news came in yesterday from our International Union on the issue of pension reform:

Critical Legislation Now Moves to House for Vote

The Teamsters Union applauds the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means for today’s vote to approve H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, more commonly referred to as The Butch Lewis Act.

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, offered by Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), was first introduced in Congress in November 2017 by Rep. Neal. The measure has 193 co-sponsors, including nine Republicans. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has again joined Rep. Neal in introducing the bill in the 116th Congress.

“I’d like to thank Chairman Neal, Rep. Peter King and every member of the House Ways & Means Committee that voted to advance H.R. 397 to the House for a vote,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa.  “We cannot delay any longer – this legislation must be passed in Congress so that millions of American workers retain their hard-earned retirement security.”

There are more than 300 multiemployer pension plans across the country — including the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund — that are in danger of failing. The Teamsters have been fighting for years for a legislative solution and have worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to do so.

The measure would boost financially troubled multiemployer pensions plans so they don’t fail. It would create a new agency under the U.S. Treasury Department that would sell bonds in the open market to large investors such as financial firms. Those proceeds would then be used to bolster faltering pension plans as part of a 30-year loan program.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.


Your 2019-2021 DOC contract is now online!


Yesterday we received the finalized version of our 2019-2021 DOC collective bargaining agreement from the Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM), and the document is now available for you online. Our union's Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and the Governor signed our contract in a ceremony in Olympia on June 17.

You can view a link to the complete contract with all of the negotiated changes below:

Your union contract contains a number of language improvements and a minimum of an 8% general wage increase for all Teamsters at the DOC over the next two years.    

Members received a general increase of 4% effective July 1, 2019 and will receive another 4% increase effective July 1, 2020. In addition, a number of classifications will receive targeted range increases.

Please take some time to familiarize yourself with your union contract. It contains essential seniority rights, bidding rights, safety provisions, vacation and holiday pay, the right to just cause in a disciplinary investigation, and many other workplace protections that are unavailable to non-union employees. 

Thank you to our outstanding union negotiations team for their work on our contract and for speaking out for fair wages, safety, and respect for all DOC corrections employees.

Retro pay arrives for King County Teamsters!


Teamsters at King County will see an extra chunk of money in their paychecks this month. The money comes as a result of months of hard work by members and staff who have been part of our King County Coalition of Unions.

The Coalition spent much of last year negotiating a Total Compensation Agreement, which all Teamster bargaining units overwhelmingly ratified last December. The Agreement covers your wages, benefits, and other compensable elements for 2019-2020.

With the contract approved, all Teamsters 117 members at the County received a 4% wage increase effective January 1, 2019. Before you could see the money reflected in your paycheck, the contract needed to be approved by the Council and the County Executive.

That process is now complete and your wage increase retroactive to January 1 has arrived.  

Your contract also provides for 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. You will also receive a $500 bonus on January 1, 2020 that applies to members of the King County Coalition of Unions only.

ST's Message: Stronger after Janus


Brothers and Sisters -

A year ago backers of the Janus court case were forecasting the end of unions. They tried to use the courts to take away our freedom to stand together for fair wages, affordable health care, and a secure retirement for ourselves and our families.

One year later, unions have emerged stronger than ever. More people across the country understand the value of standing together with their co-workers to improve their quality of life and build strong, vibrant communities.

"...members are sticking with the union in overwhelming numbers."

At Teamsters 117, members are sticking with the union in overwhelming numbers. As a result, we’ve raised wages, improved benefits, and strengthened contracts for thousands of public service workers over the last year. We’ve helped passed laws in Olympia that will enhance the rights of all members of Teamsters 117. This year we also hosted our first-ever Teamsters Womxn’s Conference that brought a powerful spirit of sisterhood to our union.

Member committee convenes to assess retirement at the DOC


Our Teamsters DOC retirement committee met last week in Olympia to look at policy options.

A group of members who attended the DOC contract signing in Olympia last week spent a few minutes celebrating on the steps of the State Capitol then got straight to work.

Their goal? To evaluate retirement benefits and make policy recommendations for Teamsters at the Washington State Department of Corrections. 

It's a challenging job given the convoluted nature of pension politics and the potential impact pension reform could have on the State budget, but all were in agreement: The work needs to get done. 

"Retirement is something at DOC that needs to be looked at," said Jeannette Young, a classification counselor at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton. "We work one-on-one with inmates and it's a highly stressful environment."

"We are committed to working to tackle this difficult issue."

The current DOC retirement system has many corrections staff working longer than they should, which can compromise staff safety inside the prisons.

"Many people are forced to stay on too long because they need to maintain their medical benefits," said Shawn Piliponis of the Larch Corrections Center. "This can affect response times and the ability to assist in disturbances."

After a round of introductions, the 21-member DOC Retirement Committee focused on brainstorming improvements they'd like to see. Ideas included improving post-retirement healthcare benefits, reducing the penalty for early retirement, and making PSERS available to everyone, among others. 

Now the hard part begins. The next step requires researching what is fiscally and politically feasible and what would have the greatest impact on the membership as a whole. It also requires educating members and engaging them around the issue. Clearly, people are concerned about their retirement and would like to see improvements. The trick is getting folks involved.

The committee agreed to meet on an ongoing basis to develop short and long-term goals. Once viable options are on the table, the group also plans to survey the membership to see what ideas we can coalesce around. 

"Corrections work is inherently stressful and dangerous," said Michelle Woodrow, our union's President and Executive Director, who is helping to lead the committee. "We are committed to working to tackle this difficult issue so that all of our members at the DOC can retire with dignity." 

To learn more about your current retirement benefits, please visit the Department of Retirement Systems. You can learn about health care options in retirement here. If you are interested in participating on our Teamsters Retirement Committee, contact Political Director Dustin Lambro at dustin.lambro@teamsters117.org.  

Members seize on lost-time opportunity to develop leadership skills


Teamsters Mari Jane Friel (l) and Anthony McKinney (r) take their talents out to the broader membership. 

Mari Jane Friel and Anthony McKinney are a couple of stand-out union activists. Both have excelled at building a strong union in their respective workplaces.

Mari Jane is a roads utility worker at King County. She ramped up her union involvement when the Janus court case loomed with its threat of open shop. Anthony comes out of the grocery industry, where he and a fellow shop steward orchestrated a powerful workplace action to stop their employer from skimming their work.

Both Anthony and Mari Jane recently had a chance to come on board at Local 117 as lost-timers. Our union negotiated a leave of absence with their employers and picked up their wages and benefits while they were away from their jobs.

DOC contract signed by Gov and our union's Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy


Governor Jay Inslee signs our DOC 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement. 

Our 2019-2021 DOC collective bargaining agreement was signed on Monday by the Governor and our union's Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy in a short ceremony in Olympia.

This marks the end of many hours of hard work from our union negotiations committee followed by an interest arbitration hearing and an intense effort to persuade legislators to fund the contract.

The contract contains a number of language improvements and a minimum of an 8% general wage increase for all Teamsters at the DOC over the next two years.    

Members will receive a general increase of 4% effective July 1, 2019 and a 4% increase effective July 1, 2020. In addition, a number of classifications will receive targeted range increases.

I encourage you to familiarize yourself with your union contract. It provides important information about your rights, protections, guaranteed wages, and working conditions. 

Thank you again to the incredible work of our union negotiations team and to all of our members who spoke out for fair wages, safety, and respect. You made this victory possible.


Members celebrate contract victory after Governor signs the agreement.

Teamsters Women of Color Stand for their Rights and Reverse Unjust Termination at Fleetlogix


Nurto Abdi directing traffic at the rental car parking building of Sea-Tac Airport.

At Sea-Tac Airport, Fleetlogix unjustly terminated Nurto Abdi, and it was subsequently overturned during the grievance process. The day the disputed incident took place, Abdi was driving the rental car a customer had just dropped off. She stopped at the gate and the light flashed green, swinging the gate arm open. Abdi drove forward but immediately felt a jolt. When she got out, she saw that the lower part of the gate had malfunctioned and hit the car.


Abdi’s employer, Fleetlogix, didn’t hear her out and quickly fired her. English not being her first language, she wrote a statement in her native language and with the help of her co-worker Burhan Farah, a union leader at her workplace and her union representative Takele Gobena filed a grievance. Soon after she had to leave the country responding to a family emergency.


Meanwhile, the company pushed to process the grievance in her absence without giving her the chance to be heard. Fleetlogix has already been sanctioned by the NLRB in the past for intimidating workers who were wearing buttons supporting their union. Working together, union leader Farah and union representative Gobena did not let the employer proceed without Abdi’s presence.


Abdi worked at Sea-Tac Airport for nearly 15 years.

When she was back in the United States, the Board of Adjustment meeting lasted four long hours. Abdi and Farah had to face Fleetlogix VP, CEO and CFO who specifically flew in to challenge Abdi’s rights. Still, this list of company executives did not help their case -- Abdi got her job back and her seniority was restored.


“I felt appreciated in so many ways,” reflected Farah. “As immigrants and women of color, we are vulnerable in this and most jobs we might take. It is being part of the union that protects us. It was empowering for our entire team to see someone like us standing up to men in power. The company needs us, and we need a union. It was a battle, but in the end the victory was sweet.”


“This is not just my victory, but also one for all the people who work at Fleetlogix,” Abdi concluded. “I am grateful for the energy and time my union representative and my coworker put in to work on my case.”

Teamsters at ICS win strong contract after long struggle


ICS Teamsters showed unwavering unity and resolve in their fight for a fair contract.

After months of struggle, Teamsters who work at Industrial Container Services (ICS) have achieved a monumental win. Yesterday the group voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year contract.

The contract contains a 5.2% wage increase in the first year for the majority of the group, paid union orientation for new hires, and healthcare protections for the workers' families, among other improvements.

"We're happy with our new contract," said Abel Garibay Flores. "All of us struggled together for better pay and benefits and it made a difference." 

Getting to this point took tremendous courage. With ICS intent on exacting bitter takeaways in bargaining, the group of mostly immigrant workers voted unanimously to authorize a strike and engaged in multiple solidarity actions, including a “just practicing” picket in front of the facility on February 20.

The workers also benefited from an outpouring of community support. Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez marched with a member delegation to deliver a letter to company management demanding fair treatment.


Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez standing together with Teamsters at ICS at a solidarity action on March 7.