When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

Teamster telecommunicators honor our heroes at National Police Week

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Meghan Fewins (c), Brea Jermsted (r) together with Union Rep Taylor House (l) at National Police Week in Washington D.C.


Over the last several years, our Union's Executive Board has sent rank-and-file members to National Police Week in Washington D.C. For the event, thousands of law enforcement professionals gather to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

In previous years, members from the ranks at the Port of Seattle, the City of Pacific, and the University of Washington have attended.

This year, Police Dispatcher Meghan Fewins and Communications Officer Brea Jermsted, both of South Sound 911, made the trip. Fewins and Jermsted were involved in dispatching emergency calls when Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney was killed in the line of duty last year. 

Fewins and Jermsted took some time after their trip to share their reflections, experience, and gratitude. In a text message sent to her Union Rep, Taylor House, Jermsted wrote:

I feel absolutely honored to have been able to attend National Police Week and be there to support Deputy Daniel McCartney's family and co-workers. It was a truly humbling experience that I will never forget and I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to go. Washington D.C. has been on my bucket list since I was a kid and going during Police Week felt unreal. Meghan, Taylor, and I visited as many sites as possible while we were there. Thank you, Teamsters!

- Brea Jermsted

Fewins chronicled her experiences via email:

I had a great time at National Police Week 2019. I was dispatching for Deputy Daniel McCartney the night that he was killed in 2018, and I feel very blessed to be able to join the rest of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Dept and Dan’s family in honoring him all week. It was overall and amazing trip, and again I feel so lucky to have been a part of it.

- Meghan Fewins

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Fewins: "We watched Dan’s wife and kids place a flower in the wreath."



Honor our Public Safety Telecommunicators: Pass the 911 Saves Act!

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Congress is considering new legislation that will give Public Safety Telecommunicators the recognition they deserve. 

The 911 Saves Act (HB 1629) will reclassify workers in the profession from "Office and Administrative Support Occupations" to "Protective Service Occupations".  This will ensure that these workers will receive the benefits, funding, and respect that a first-responder classification entitles. 

Our Teamsters Union is working hard to give the bill the greatest chance of success. 

Our Local 117 Political Department staff will be meeting with our state's congressional delegation in Washington D.C. in June to ask them to sign on as sponsors to the bill. 

Our International Union's General President, James Hoffa, has sent a powerful letter to all members of the House of Representatives urging them to support the legislation. 

When the time is right, we will be calling on you to reach out to members of Congress to ask them to support the 911 Saves Act. 

Public Safety Telecommunicators play a vital role in coordinating life-saving emergency care. Without these highly-skilled workers, firefighters, law enforcement, and EMTs would not be able to do their jobs.

We thank our members working in this profession for the tremendous emergency services they provide our community. Please recognize their vital work by supporting the 911 Saves Act. 


Seattle drivers caravan for higher pay, better conditions at Uber and Lyft

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Uber and Lyft drivers speak out for fair pay and a voice before their caravan embarks for City Hall.


Ride hail drivers took their vehicles on a slow procession through Seattle neighborhoods today to call for better working conditions at Uber and Lyft. Drivers ended their caravan at Seattle City Hall where they delivered their demands to City officials for fair pay, a due process to appeal deactivations, and a voice.

SEE PHOTOS FROM DRIVER CARAVAN

“We are tired of seeing Uber and Lyft siphon off bigger and bigger percentages of what riders pay,” said Fasil Teka, an Uber driver of 7 years. “It’s time for the City to ensure that drivers have the same rights as all workers in Seattle.”  

"It’s time for the City to ensure that drivers have the same rights as all workers in Seattle."

Embarking from the Masjid al-Taqwa mosque in Seattle’s Central District, drivers honked their horns and displayed signs on their vehicles that read, “Share the fare!” and “Uber and Lyft: Listen to your drivers!” The caravan wove through the heart of the city, from the Central District to Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle, neighborhoods with some of the greatest concentrations of ride hail customers. 

“We are asking our customers to stand with us in our effort to win fair pay and a voice,” said Lyft driver, Mohamed Sharif. “When drivers are paid a living wage and can stand together to improve driver and passenger safety, our local economy and the entire community benefits.”


Uber and Lyft drivers to caravan through Seattle neighborhoods on Thursday

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Uber and Lyft drivers will caravan together through Seattle neighborhoods to City Hall on Thursday to demand fair pay, a due process to appeal deactivations, and a voice. The Driver Caravan will embark from the Masjid al-Taqwa mosque in Seattle’s Central District on Thursday, May 30 at 11:15 a.m. and weave through Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle.


DOC Guardian Newsletter - New Issue!

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The summer issue of our DOC Guardian newsletter is hot off the press! 

In this issue, you'll find a recap of the 2019 legislative session in Olympia, which featured a number of critical wins for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections.

The highlights include passage of a DOC interest arbitration bill, the full funding of our DOC contract, and the restoration of our right to carry a concealed weapon off duty without having to purchase a permit. 

You'll also find a full list of dates for our upcoming summer BBQs at the DOC and photos from our 2019 Lobby Day in Olympia.

You can access a PDF of the newsletter here; print copies will be distributed by member leaders at your facilities in the coming weeks.


DOC Summer BBQs - Dates, Times, Locations here

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Get ready to grab a hot dog with your Teamster Brothers & Sisters! Our DOC summer BBQs get underway starting this June at facilities across the state.

We'll be celebrating a banner legislative session in Olympia where we were able to win statutory interest arbitration rights for DOC among several other victories. 

View the days, times, and facilities for our union BBQs below. To RSVP, click on your facility below.

INSTITUTION DAY DATE TIMES
AHCC Friday June 28 0600, 0800, 1100, 1400
CBCC Tuesday July 9 1100-1430, 2100-2200
CCCC Thursday August 15 1100, 1300, 1430, 2100
CI HQ Tuesday July 23 0700, 1400
CRCC Wednesday June 26 0600, 0800, 1100, 1400
DOC HQ Friday July 26 1100-1300
LCC Thursday August 29 1100, 1300, 1430, 2100
Maple Lane Pharmacy Thursday July 25 1100-1300
MCC Thursday August 1 0620, 1100, 1300, 1420, 1600
MCCCW Tuesday July 16 1100-1430, 2100-2200
MICC Tuesday August 13 1000-1200
OCC Wednesday July 24 1100-1430, 2100-2200
SCCC Monday August 26 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100
SWRBO Monday July 22 1100-1300
WCC Wednesday August 21 1100, 1300, 1430, 2100
WCCW Thursday July 18 1100-1530, 2100-2200
WSP Monday June 10 0630, 0800, 1100, 1300, 1430, 1630

 


Womxn's Conference brings a powerful Teamster sisterhood to our union

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Participants from our first-ever Womxn's Conference gather outside our Union Hall in Tukwila to celebrate after the event.


A powerful spirit of sisterhood coursed through our union hall on Saturday as more than 100 members gathered together for our first-ever Teamsters 117 Womxn's Conference.

Photos from the event here.

Organized by a committee of Teamster women under the banner She/Us/We Rising Together, the conference featured presentations, participatory workshops, and an art show fundraiser for a new scholarship - the Jayme Biendl Working Women's scholarship.  

The event raised over $5,000 for the scholarship named after the Local 117 correctional officer who was tragically murdered at her post at the Monroe Correctional Complex in 2011.

"Jayme Biendl paid the ultimate sacrifice for serving and protecting our communities," said Michelle Woodrow, President and Executive Director of Teamsters 117. "This scholarship pays tribute to our fallen Sister and to all of the women across our union who work so hard to support their families."

Our union hall was transformed for the event with colorful banners, artwork, and flowers. State Senator Rebecca Saldaña kicked things off with her inspirational story of rising up from an immigrant family to become a champion of working people in the Washington State legislature. 

Senator Saldaña was followed by Elise Bryant, President of the National Coalition of Labor Union Women, whose speech was electric. The audience joined her throughout in intermittent chants and song.

"Don't mistake one moment of darkness for total blindness," she said. "This is the cure, you are the light. This is the food that feeds our soul."  You can view Bryant's entire address online here.  

"This is the cure, you are the light. This is the food that feeds our soul."

After the speeches, participants attended workshops designed to empower, inform, and inspire. Sessions were held on climate justice, running for office, sexual harassment, and union leadership. 

The group reconvened in the main auditorium for lunch and a panel discussion led by Local 117 Union Representative Maria Williams.

Participating on the panel were six powerful labor union leaders: Michelle Woodrow, President and Executive Director of Teamsters 117; Brenda Wiest, Vice President and Legislative Director of Teamsters 117; Tracey Thompson, General Counsel of Teamsters 117; Nina Bugbee, Director of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Women's Conference; Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of MLK Labor; and April Sims, Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council.

Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy brought the idea for the conference home from the IBT Women's Conference, which he attended last year. "I was inspired by the power and energy the event brought to our international union," Scearcy said. "I knew we could build on that power by organizing our own conference here at Teamsters 117."

"The whole idea of a Womxn's Conference resonated with me," said Joan Jaeger, a nurse at the Monroe Correctional Complex who attended the event. "This is the first year I've gotten involved in the union and I'm thrilled that it took place."


Teamsters 117 Womxn's Conference this Saturday!

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We will be holding our first-ever Womxn's Conference She/Us/We Rising Together! on Saturday, May 18 from 8 AM to 1 PM at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila.

This short, energetic conference will feature presentations, open discussion, and group participatory workshops for members of Teamsters 117 and their friends and family. Lunch will be provided, a fundraiser art-show, kid’s activities, and much more!

WOMXN'S CONFERENCE AGENDA - 2019

To attend, please register for this event. Register for the Womxn's Conference here.

We've already confirmed a lineup of distinguished guests. State Senator Rebecca Saldaña (37th District) will address the conference participants as well as Elise Bryant, the National President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, among others. 

Workshops are planned on the following topics:

  • Effective Union Leadership
  • Shutting Down Sexual Harassment On The Job
  • Mastering Financial Independence
  • Women Leading the Way for Climate Climate Justice
  • When Women Run, Women Win!

Donations for an art raffle will directly benefit a newly-created Teamsters 117 Jayme Biendl Working Women’s Scholarship

If you have questions about this event or need to cancel your registration, please contact Talisa Boad at 360-722-0891.


Honoring the men and women who serve the public - PSRW 2019

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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.

 


Legislature fully-funds DOC contract, wage increases guaranteed

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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.


ABDA report exposes high take rates at Uber & Lyft

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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. 

SEE PHOTOS FROM THE DRIVER SPEAK OUT EVENT HERE

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“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:


ABDA Report: Uber/Lyft take more, pay drivers less

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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.


Community pressure builds on ICS with OneAmerica delegation

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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:

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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.

Since February, Teamsters at ICS have raised informational pickets, and they have marched on company management on two other occasions with strong community support.   

"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. 

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Governor signs interest arbitration bills. DOC & UWPD Teamsters declare victory!

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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.”


Great news! DOC and UWPD interest arbitration bills to be signed on Tuesday

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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.