When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

Taxi drivers demonstrate power through strike at Sea-Tac Airport


Taxi drivers at Sea-Tac Airport express their growing frustration with poor working conditions and unjust terminations.

Taxi drivers exerted their collective power at Sea-Tac Airport today by staging an hour-long work stoppage that sent Port officials and the drivers’ dispatch company reeling.

At approximately 9:30 a.m., drivers in the airport taxi lot got out of their cabs, raised signs, and began chanting, “Unfair, unfair!” Cab service for arriving passengers slowed to a trickle.

"I have to fight for my freedom."

 “I work 16 hours to try to pay my bills. When I got home yesterday, I almost fell down,” said Alamu Tegegn. “I said to myself, ‘If I continue like this, I will die.’ So I have to fight for my freedom.”

The strike represented the culmination of months of frustration over humiliating working conditions and the unjust termination of union supporter, Ali Sugule.

On August 8, Sugule had criticized the airport dispatch company, Eastside For Hire, in public testimony at a Port Commission meeting. His dispatch services were revoked later that week.

Teamster sharpshooters raise money to fight hunger


Mark Hackett, Kimberly Braun, Tanesha Van Leuven, and Roger Gale at the Emergency Food Network's Breaking Hunger event.

Teamster members took aim to fight hunger last week at the 5th annual Trap Shooting and Archery Tournament sponsored by Tacoma's Emergency Food Network

The contest, held at the Gig Harbor Sportsmen’s Club on August 11, raised thousands of dollars to help feed hungry families throughout our region.  

"We were doing what we like to do, having fun, and doing it for a really good cause."

"There are a lot of ways to raise money but we were doing what we like to do, having fun, and doing it for a really good cause," said Tanesha Van Leuven, a member who participated in the event.

Van Leuven, who is an officer of ten years at the University of Washington Police Department, talked about the importance of our union giving back to the community.

"It's important to partner with various organizations in the community. Anything we give, donate, or sponsor can help people who need help right now."

Our Local Union’s Executive Board sponsored the team at the $600 level. All proceeds from the event went to benefit the Emergency Food Network.

Thank you to the members from the Teamsters Law Enforcement & Corrections Division and their friends who participated in the tournament.

  • Tanesha Van Leuven, University of Washington Police Dept. 
  • Mark Hackett, University of Washington Police Dept.
  • Roger Gale, City of Pacific Police Dept.
  • Kimberly Braun, Friend 

The Pierce County emergency food system includes 67 food banks providing over 15 million meals annually to over a hundred thousand families in need.  Teamsters Local 117 is a generous supporter of EFN and has participated in a number of volunteer events to benefit the organization.

Teamsters at Shuttle Park 2 Ratify a New Contract


Teamsters at Shuttle Park 2, an airport parking lot in SeaTac, voted to unanimously ratify their contract last Sunday. We had been in bargaining since May. The company has a history of complicated negotiations.

“Previous contract negotiations lasted over a year,” says Guled Ali, a Teamster and Shuttle Park 2 employee who was present at the bargaining table. “It went faster this time because we had better experience.”

Port Commissioners cut short driver testimony


Teamster driver Ali Sugule with his family. Sugule is fighting for his job after Eastside For Hire revoked his access to dispatch.

Port of Seattle commissioners spent the better part of their two and a half hour special meeting yesterday discussing a range of issues, including airport expansion and biofuel production, but when it came to taking public comment from drivers who are being exploited at the Port’s expense, they cut matters short.

The reason? They had a luncheon to attend.

“We have a hard stop on this meeting at 11:14,” said Commission President Tom Albro at precisely 11:07 A.M. That gave the public all of seven minutes to testify on critical issues impacting airport workers and the community.

A dozen or so Teamster drivers had been waiting more than two hours to speak out on a range of injustices at the airport.  The drivers had taken precious time away from their workday to express their concerns, but had to leave without testifying when the Commission unexpectedly shut down the meeting. 

Teamsters Supporting Teamsters at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group


Pharmacists Annalisa Thomas (PharmD) and Roland Lopez (PharmD) at work at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group.

Imagine you had a very young child with a critical medical condition that caused seizures. Suppose the medicine to stop it was available, but your daughter couldn’t take it because of its taste. What would you do then? Who would you turn to for help?

This is the request that Roland Lopez, PharmD, a compounding Pharmacist and Teamster at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group received. “We created the special flavor for her and she has been successfully on the same tasty medication for 2 years,” he said. “Now every Christmas her family stops by to say thank you.”

Teamsters at SuperValu vote overwhelmingly to ratify new contract


Members of the SuperValu union bargaining committee.

Teamsters in the grocery warehouse industry continue to win strong contracts.

This Saturday, our members who work at SuperValu voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new one-year agreement. The contract proposal was fully recommended by our union bargaining committee.

The new contract contains wage and pension increases, health and welfare protections, and for the first time Local 117 members employed at the company will have coverage for domestic partners under their health plan.

The economic benefits and other improvements helped offset the short term of the agreement. “Our company’s going through transition,” said Greg Wiest, a 28-year Teamster and member of the bargaining committee. “There’s a lot of uncertainty right now. But this was a good deal given that it was a one-year deal.”

King County MLA bargaining update


Local 117 members have been working as a part of a broad coalition of unions to negotiate a Master Labor Agreement with King County.

We wanted to update you on the status of the Master Labor Agreement (MLA) negotiations between our coalition of unions and King County.

As you know, these negotiations started in March and have been ongoing throughout the summer. Our goal in bargaining is to consolidate the best language from contracts across the county into one general agreement that will apply to all unions in the coalition that vote to accept the MLA.

On July 29 and August 3, our coalition met, without the employer present, in caucus to discuss the county’s most recent proposals and to develop a strategy moving forward.

We are addressing issues that the membership identified, such as vacation leave, other kinds of leave (bereavement, jury duty, organ donor, donated, executive, etc.), volunteer time, holidays and eligibility, reclassification, special duty, professional development, longevity and merit pay, term-limited temps, and working out of classification.

Again, we are proposing to incorporate the strongest language found in county contracts on those issues for the purposes of the MLA.

DOC barbecues bring people together


DOC members who work a the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla gather at Pioneer Park for one of our union BBQs.

Barbecues are blazing across the state as Teamsters at the Department of Corrections gather for summer cookouts at or near every prison facility in Washington.

“This brings people together,” said Noelle Guenette, a member leader who is an officer at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor.

"This is a great way to check in with everybody and reconnect."

Guenette showed up on the last day of her vacation to lend a hand at the event, as over 130 members passed through the facility’s visitation area for hot dogs, hamburgers, and some old-fashioned union solidarity.

“As a perimeter officer, I don’t get to see my fellow Teamster co-workers very often,” she said. “This is a great way for me to check in with everybody and reconnect.”

The BBQs are also an occasion to celebrate the recent signing of our 2017-2019 collective bargaining agreement by the governor and our union’s Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy. 

Teamsters at SeaTac rental car facility are standing strong


Members who work at Fleetlogix are fighting for a fair contract. (From l to r) Farhia Adam, Macario Espinoza, Hassan Mohamed, Surnder Singh 

At the rental car facility that serves Sea-Tac Airport, Teamsters are everywhere you look. We’re booking vehicles going out, and inspecting them as they return. We’re shuttling busloads of travelers to and from the airport. We’re washing and vacuuming cars, and driving them to the rental lots across the street.

One group, our members at Fleetlogix, is in the midst of a tough contract fight. They spend their workdays transporting vehicles around the facility and the region, north to Everett and south to Tacoma, for the Avis Budget Group.  These members have been working without a contract since the middle of March as their employer continues to make substandard proposals at the bargaining table.

“We need to stand up for our co-workers and our community,” said Hassan Mohamed, who joined the group just a few months ago. Mohamed is studying business administration at Bellevue College and uses his hard-earned wages to help pay for school.

Today, member leaders and staff were passing out buttons to all members, on all shifts to demonstrate solidarity before upcoming contract negotiations on August 10.

New Organizing at the Woodland Park Zoo Builds Teamster Solidarity


Employees of the Woodland Park Zoo's education department filed for Teamsters 117 representation with the NLRB on August 4. 

Today, over thirty employees in the education department at the Woodland Park Zoo petitioned for union representation with Teamsters Local 117, filing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and delivering a letter to management requesting voluntary union recognition. 

Workers in the education department are passionate about what they do, fostering respect for our natural world and conservation leadership through educational programs that inspire our community to learn, care, and act. 

"I am excited to form our Union..."

“I am excited to form our union because I love the Zoo’s mission, and the staff I work alongside with who bring that mission to life everyday deserve respect and support,” said Kristi Dodds, a Zoomazium Coordinator who has worked at the Woodland Park Zoo for 16 years.

After winning union representation, the education department employees will select a bargaining committee to negotiate their first collective bargaining agreement, after which they will join over 60 zookeepers, vet techs, and warehouse workers at the Woodland Park Zoo who already have a voice on the job as members of Teamsters Local 117. 

Congratulations on taking this step, and welcome to your union!

Teamsters Story Challenge





In our time, the word “freedom”, can be loaded with lots of different meanings.  There are entities claiming to be able to give it to you, sell it to you, or instruct you on how to get it yourself.  However, freedom fundamentally is defined by your ability to think, speak, and act in response to your own beliefs, choices and individual life experiences. 

There is no one way to define the word, just like there is no one way to define what it means to be part of union. Through winning strong contracts and improving our workplaces, Teamsters 117 members have unique stories of freedom to share. We want to hear them!

Reflect on how the various benefits, protections, and job improvements have created freedom in your life for you and/or your family.  Participate in our story challenge by answering the following question: 

Through your experience as a Teamster, how has being part of a union afforded you more freedom in your life?


1st place - $1000

2nd place - $400

3rd place - $150

Honorable mention and
other awards!


Entries must be between 300 – 500 words. The deadline for submitting stories has been extended to November 1.  All entries will be judged blindly by a member-committee.  Don’t let not writing since High School or English as a second language stop you from entering the challenge.  Everyone is welcome to participate and content will be valued over writing skill level. 


All entries may be used for publication by Teamsters 117 or read at union events.

Open to all Teamsters Local 117 members or retirees 18+ years of age residing in the US.

Each participant can submit only one story.

Winners will be notified by December 11, 2017 via letter to the provided address.

The winning story will be read at December Membership Meeting at Tukwila Hall.





family_pic.jpgIn 2004, the oldest of my three daughters, Anastacia, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. She was only five. Anastacia was fully insulin dependent which required multiple injections, blood-sugar tests and general oversight all while entering her first year of kindergarten. At that time I was a single father with full-custody working the night shift at Food Services of America. Being part of the union was what allowed me to earn a decent wage and have job security to take care of my daughter. Now my wish is that every worker has the right to enjoy the freedom that union fought contracts bring, and I fight for that every day as Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. Freedom to me is the ability to be there for my family.


Please submit your story here or send an email to yulia.issa@teamsters117.org.

If you would like to be on the members evaluating committee, click here.

You cannot submit a story and be on the evaluating committee at the same time.



Organizing update: 11 new DOC groups have joined our union


David Niles, a correctional specialist at CRCC, is grateful to be re-joining the union. 

Correctional Specialist, David Niles, of the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center (CRCC) in Connell is grateful to join the ranks of Teamsters 117 once again. 

In his previous position at the facility, he was a member of our union, but he promoted out of the bargaining unit. Now, his correctional specialist group, along with 10 other DOC groups have voted to join forces with Teamsters Local 117, with two more waiting for PERC certification.

That makes 11 new groups at the DOC over the last two years!  

Niles writes of his experience below:

Becoming a Teamster has been my goal since I was promoted to a non-represented position in 2014. Prior to my promotion, I was an active member of Teamsters 117 and a Shop Steward. A question that I asked myself, then my supervisor and the Union: Why is my current position non-represented? The answer that I received was that at the time of the Correctional Specialist position allocation, the first Correctional Specialist 3’s did not want representation and that the work being conducted traditionally was being conducted by non-represented classified positions. I then became busy learning my new job and the request fell by the wayside, but was not forgotten.

Don’t get me wrong, I thought that the lack of representation leaves an employee vulnerable and in the hands of policies that are constantly open to interpretation and revision. I also knew that those who are represented by a union are paid on average 5-10% more than non-represented employees and the current pays scales supports those numbers.

Fast forward three years, an opportunity arose to see if my peers have thought about or reconsidered joining the union again. The majority said yes and now it is history, I am now a proud union member of Teamsters 117 and a proud state employee with the Department of Corrections. I have a strongly worded contract that supports me and ensures fair and equitable treatment and I have fair compensation for the work that is performed. I look forward to being active in my Local and hopefully representing my fellow Teamsters as a Shop Steward once again.

David Niles
Coyote Ridge Corrections Center

Here is the list of all of the new Department of Corrections bargaining units that have joined our union since 2015:

  • Dentists
  • Registered Nurse 3
  • Administrative Assistant 3
  • Marine Department
  • Recreation & Athletics Specialist 4
  • Correction Specialist 2 (Supervisory)
  • Correction Specialist 2 (Non-Supervisory)
  • Occupational Nurse Consultants
  • Administrative Assistant 3 (CBCC)
  • Correction Specialist 1
  • Correction Specialist 3

These groups contain hundreds of new members who are standing together in their union to improve their wages and working conditions and to gain the benefits and protections of a Teamsters contract.

Let's be sure to welcome them to Teamsters Local 117!

Stand united & stick together - a message from Fred Meyer Shop Steward

Fred Meyer Shop Steward, Dwayne Kerrigan, has a message for his co-workers: "Stand together, stick together, and keep up the good fight!"  

On July 28, Fred Meyer Teamsters who work at the company's distribution center in Puyallup voted 332-1 to authorize a strike. We will be meeting with the company for negotiations on August 11.

Upcoming Pierce County Demands Meetings

We have several upcoming demands meetings scheduled for Teamsters who work in bargaining units at Pierce County. All of the meetings will take place at the IBEW Hall in Tacoma (3049 S 36th S Tacoma, WA 98409).

Here is the schedule for the meetings.

Assessor Treasurer's Office August 17 5pm
Custodian August 16  5pm 
Medical Examiners August 14  6:30pm 
Court Clerks and Pre-Trial Services August 8  5pm 
Parks August 14  5pm 
Facilities August 15  3pm 


These meetings are an opportunity to help establish priorities for bargaining. Please attend the meeting designated for your group to make sure your voice is heard! If you have questions, contact Union Representative Julie Yust at 206-441-4860 ext. 1275. Thank you.

Teamster drivers applaud federal judge's dismissal of lawsuit challenging for-hire law


Drivers Call on Uber to Stop Efforts to Block their Right to Have a Voice

Seattle for-hire drivers who are seeking to unionize under the city’s new collective bargaining law applauded a federal judge’s ruling to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce challenging the law.

“We’ve been waiting for this day, waiting to join the union and to have the right to negotiate with Uber,” said Mustafe Abdi, who has been driving with Uber for three years.

Abdi, who is a member of the App-Based Drivers Association (ABDA), listed a number of concerns he and other for-hire drivers would like to address at the bargaining table. “We need to talk about the rates and deactivation and other things. We don’t have medical, we don’t have retirement. We don’t have Social Security. We don’t feel safe when we drive our cars. This is good news for all drivers in Seattle.”

As independent contractors, Seattle for-hire drivers are not protected by traditional labor laws, such as Seattle's new $15/hr minimum wage law and its paid sick and safe ordinance. 

"We’ve been waiting for this day, waiting to join the union and to have the right to negotiate with Uber."

Uber and Lyft drivers sought assistance from Teamsters Local 117 to improve working conditions in Seattle’s personal transportation industry. In 2014, drivers formed ABDA to promote fairness, justice, and transparency in the industry.

“Judge Lasnik’s ruling puts drivers one step closer to being able to freely exercise their right to have a voice and unionize under the new law,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We hope Uber will respect the judge’s decision, stop its efforts to block the law, and recognize that, just like millions of other workers across the country, for-hire drivers have a basic right to self-determination and to stand together with the representative of their choosing to improve their pay and working conditions. We will continue to help drivers fight for that right.”

Drivers will have to wait to exercise their rights under the new law until the court lifts an injunction and rules on a separate case.