When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

A Teamster mom celebrates the James R. Hoffa scholarship award twenty years later


At the 20-year anniversary celebration: Brenda Wiest (Vice President), John Scearcy (Secretary-Treasurer), Marie LaRiviere, James Hoffa (General President), Cammy LaRiviere, Michelle Woodrow (President)

Marie LaRiviere always shot for the moon. A Tacoma girl and the daughter of working-class parents, Marie had her sights set on Georgetown University in Washington D.C. She had the grades to get there. The trouble was affording an Ivy League school.

Marie’s mom, Cammy, supported the family through her work as a 911 Communications Officer at Tacoma’s Law Enforcement Support Agency. She spent her days fielding calls from people in distress, a job she loved for the help she could provide the community.

It was a good Teamster job with excellent benefits, but tuition for Georgetown was off the charts. Cammy told her daughter that she could attend any college the family could afford but sending her to Georgetown would be a stretch.

Undeterred, Marie started to cobble together money for tuition. She applied for scholarships wherever she could find them. “She went after them all,” Cammy recalled. Inspired by her daughter’s determination, Cammy encouraged her to apply for a scholarship she found while flipping through Teamster magazine.

A Message from Michelle Woodrow: A busy time for DOC Teamsters

Michelle Woodrow

Brothers and Sisters -

I hope your 2020 is off to a great start! For our Union, there's a lot going on, and I wanted to make sure you're up to speed.

As you may know, this is a contract negotiations year for DOC Teamsters. In May, we'll begin negotiations over your 2021-2023 collective bargaining agreement. 

To prepare for negotiations, we'll be sending out Contract Surveys to all DOC employees who are members of Teamsters 117 soon. 

We will also be holding Contract Proposal Meetings starting in March. You can find a complete list of the meeting dates, times, and locations for your facility here.

The surveys and the meetings are opportunities for you to provide feedback so that your Union Negotiations Committee can head to the bargaining table armed with meaningful proposals based on member priorities.

Contract proposal meetings for DOC - CANCELED!



In preparation for contract negotiations with the Department of Corrections, we will be holding Contract Proposal Meetings at facilities across the state. Your feedback will help our Union Negotiations Committee develop meaningful proposals for negotiations. Please attend one of the meetings listed below! For information about location and to RSVP, click on the link for your facility.

AHCC Wednesday March 25 0620, 1130, 1300, 1420, 1600
CBCC Wednesday March 18 1130, 1300, 1400, 2100  
CCCC Thursday March 9 0620, 1100, 1300, 1420, 1530
CI HQ Wednesday April 8 0530, 0630
CRCC Thursday April 2 0620, 1130, 1300, 1420, 1600, 1830
DOC HQ Tuesday March 17 1030, 1215
LCC Tuesday April 14 0620, 1100, 1300, 1420, 1530
Maple Lane Pharmacy Thursday March 12 1100, 1200
MCC Thursday March 26 0630, 0915, 1130, 1430, 1630
MCCCW Friday April 17 1130, 1300, 1400, 2100 
MICC Monday March 16 1030
OCC Tuesday March 17 1130, 1300, 1400, 2100 
SCCC Tuesday April 7 1130, 1300, 1415, 1630, 2100
SWRBO Tuesday March 10 1100
WCC Thursday April 9 0620, 1100, 1300, 1420, 1530
WCCW Monday April 13 0620, 1130, 1300, 1400, 1500
WSP Tuesday March 31 0630, 0915, 1100, 1300, 1430, 1630


Teamsters support Swedish Medical Center workers on strike


Teamsters Local 117 stands in solidarity with nearly 8,000 Swedish Medical Center workers who began a three-day unfair labor practices strike Tuesday morning. The workers are members of SEIU Local 1199NW.

Healthcare workers at seven Swedish Medical Center campuses in King and Snohomish Counties are fighting for quality patient care and good, family-sustaining jobs. These nurses and caregivers report that they face understaffing which impacts patient safety, along with disrespect and discrimination from management.

According to their union, instead of bargaining in good faith for a contract with reasonable wages, management has spent $11 million on an agency to temporarily replace workers during the strike.

“The Teamsters Union represents over 50 thousand healthcare workers, including hundreds who are members of Teamsters 117. Our members work long hours, often with limited resources, in stressful environments to provide critical, ethical care. We stand with our labor partners at SEIU 1199NW to ensure that workers in the profession are treated with dignity and respect,” said Michelle Woodrow, President of Local 117 and Western Region Representative for the Teamsters Health Care Division.

"We are committed to standing with the striking workers until their demands are met."

“In Washington State and nationally, we want Swedish  Medical Center workers to know that we have their backs. We stand by them as they fight for what’s right—fair treatment and quality care for patients,” said Nina Bugbee, Director of the Teamsters Health Care Division.

“Nurses and caregivers touch every life and every community,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “As a community, we need to come together and support them in their fight for fair working conditions, racial equity, and patient safety. We are committed to standing with the striking workers until their demands are met.”

Two more scholarship opportunities for Teamster families!


Got a kid who's headed off to trade school or college? In the last few days, two more scholarship opportunities have opened up for Teamster families.

First, our Teamsters 117 Jeff Alfieri Scholarship is now accepting applications. 

The scholarship is awarded to outstanding students whose parents are members of Teamsters Local 117. 

The founders of the scholarship fund, Ralph and Sue Alfieri, established the scholarship in memory of their son Jeff Alfieri, a former Business Representative with Teamsters Local 117.

Check out eligibility requirements and apply here.

Teamsters & allies bring the UNFI fight up the supply chain to Amazon/Whole Foods


Local 117 members unlawfully laid off by UNFI bring their fight for justice to Amazon/Whole Foods

On Thursday, in Austin, Texas, a delegation of Oxfam, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and Teamsters Union representatives joined forces, demanding Whole Foods take real steps to clean up abusive labor practices in its food supply chain.

Whole Foods is one of the lowest-scoring supermarket chains on Oxfam’s human rights scorecard, even worse than Walmart.  

On the same day, in Seattle, laid-off grocery workers, Teamsters Local 117 representatives and consumer allies visited Amazon headquarters to demand that Amazon-owned Whole Foods weigh in on its largest supplier, UNFI to stop labor abuses there.

Teamster officials in Austin, participating in the event with Oxfam and FLOC, tried to deliver a letter to John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods.

Seattle protestors sought to meet with Stephenie Landry, VP of Grocery Delivery for Amazon and deliver the same letter, demanding justice. Click to read the letter, and see photos and video from Seattle.

“Hundreds of families are hurting today, because Whole Foods' partner UNFI is not honoring contract terms that we negotiated and they agreed to, that's unacceptable and we won't stand for it," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local Union No. 117. “Amazon has the ability and the responsibility to demand Whole Foods and UNFI stop abusing workers and communities across its entire supply chain, and honor their commitments to us all.”

"We demand Whole Foods and UNFI stop abusing workers and communities across its supply chain."

Right before the holidays, UNFI illegally laid off over 200 workers from its Tacoma, Wash., distribution center. UNFI is refusing to honor an arbitrator’s award that upholds the workers’ contract and protects their wages and benefits.

“The loss of money, medical benefits and retirement that we have become accustomed to has really made life difficult. I have had my garbage service canceled due to inability to pay. My phone has been shut off for a couple of weeks. How am I supposed to find employment without a phone? What if there was a problem with my daughter at school? I have also fallen a month behind in rent,” said Jason Black, one of the laid off Tacoma, food distribution workers. “Other workers have been hit with evictions, had utilities shut off and scrounged for change to make sure their families are fed. Food, shelter, clothing and good health for our families are the main priorities now and covering these expenses is hard and is only going to get harder because of UNFI’s greed.”

Teamsters urged Amazon’s Whole Foods grocery executives Mackey and Landry to call on UNFI CEO Steven Spinner to comply with the arbitrator’s decision and stop breaking the law – as a first step toward demonstrating their combined company’s commitment to a truly sustainable food supply.

Whole Foods Market has a strategic supply chain agreement with UNFI, which runs more than 50 grocery warehouses, and is an essential partner to Amazon’s premier grocery channels: Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh.

The protestors also called on Amazon’s Whole Foods to ensure that all its suppliers respect workers’ rights and safety.

Teamsters represent over 4,000 members at UNFI across much of the U.S. UNFI has recently escalated its attacks on its local labor unions, leading to extensive unrest across its grocery distribution network, including a two-week strike in the Midwest in late December 2019.

Maverick Employees - Contract Survey and Schedule for Demands Meetings


This is an exciting time for workers in the gaming industry in Washington State. Teamsters 117, one of the most powerful and respected unions in the Pacific Northwest, has been certified to represent you in contract negotiations with your employer.

This means that a Union Negotiation Committee will meet with Maverick to negotiate a first-time contract that will secure your rights and benefits in the workplace.  The Committee will consist of professional Teamsters 117 negotiators along with a team of your co-workers to ensure that everyone who works at Maverick is represented at the negotiation table.

To prepare for negotiations, your voice is critical!  Your feedback will help your Union Negotiation Committee develop meaningful proposals for negotiations.  You can provide feedback in two ways: 1) Complete the online Contract Survey and 2) attend a Contract Demands Meeting.

Our Union’s legal team has developed a short survey that will help you and your co-workers establish priorities for negotiations. The survey will take you 5-10 minutes to complete. By taking the survey, you are making sure your voice is heard in the contract negotiations process. 


Contract Demands Meetings are another opportunity for you to provide feedback so that the Union can establish priorities for negotiations. At the meetings, you will also be selecting Shop Stewards. These are your co-workers who will help represent you in your workplace. Please attend one of the Contract Demands Meetings listed below.


Card Room




Club Hollywood Casino
Silver Dollar Mill Creek
Caribbean Card Room
Royal Casino Everett
Great American Everett
Caribbean Casino
Crazy Moose MLT
Red Dragon Poker

Monday, January 27





Best Western Cascadia Inn
2800 Pacific Ave.
Everett, WA 98201

Card Room




Silver Dollar Seatac
Great American Tukwila
Caribbean Card Room
Silver Dollar Renton
Caribbean Casino

Tuesday, January 28


Thursday, January 30





Teamsters Local 117
14675 Interurban Ave. S
Tukwila, WA 98168

Card Room




Great American Lakewood
Macau Lakewood

Wednesday, January 29




Comfort Inn Tacoma
Seattle Room
8620 S. Hosmer St
Tacoma, WA 98444

Card Room




Caribbean Casino Yakima  

Wednesday, January 29




Caribbean Casino Yakima
Fish Room

Coyote Bob
Crazy Moose

Tuesday, January 28




Crazy Moose

Conference Room

Thank you for your participation in this process! As soon as we have established negotiation dates with Maverick, we will let you know.  Our goal is to make sure you have the strongest possible representation and to negotiate a contract based on your priorities that will provide a better, more secure future for you and your family.


Legislative session gets underway in Olympia - check out our priorities!


Today marks the first of a 60-day legislative session in Olympia where lawmakers will be making critical decisions that impact members of Teamsters 117 and their families.

As always, our Union will have a strong presence in Olympia. We will be working to hold politicians accountable and pass bills that help workers, increase government accountability, and protect the health and safety of working families in Washington State.

Teamsters 117 employs a full-time Legislative Affairs Director, Brenda Wiest, who will be on the ground in Olympia working to protect the rights of Local 117 members and their families. Brenda works closely with Political Action Director, Dustin Lambro, who is organizing opportunities throughout session for members to speak directly with their legislators about critical issues.

Our Teamsters 117 Lobby Day will be held on February 12-13, 2020. You can register for the event online or contact Dustin at 206-794-2606 for more information.



  • FUNDING ADDITIONAL CUSTODY AND HEALTHCARE POSITIONS AT DOC - Supplemental budget funding to increase the number of custody and healthcare staff at DOC is imperative. The Staffing Audit identified several flaws in the current DOC Staffing Model. Understaffing has put a strain on workers burdened by excessive overtime, which leads to unsafe working conditions inside the prison system and an increased likelihood of errors in the healthcare of incarcerated individuals. We support the Governor’s budget which adds money to increase staff at DOC.
  • PEER-TO-PEER COUNSELING FOR DOC - DOC staff are often witness to terrible trauma inside the adult prison system. We are seeking to pass a bill that will create a privileged relationship between staff that access the peer support team to allow open dialogue during a member’s moment of need without fear of disclosure. This will create parity between the DOC and other county corrections and law enforcement jurisdictions.
  • WORKER PROTECTION ACT - We have many great workplace protections—wage and hour, equal pay, health and safety, and anti-discrimination laws. But enforcement agencies often have years-long backlogs and the federal government limits what tools workers have to achieve justice. HB 1965, the Worker Protection Act, creates a pathway for workers to blow the whistle when current laws are violated, while generating resources for stronger state enforcement.
  • PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PRIVACY - Our state has robust public disclosure laws, but ones that can expose the personal and financial information of public workers to scam artists. HB 1888 takes common-sense steps to safeguard personal data—like birthdays and data that reveal addresses—to protect public workers’ safety and guard against identity theft and fraud.
  • IMPROVEMENTS TO LEAVE FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES - We will be working on several bills this session that improve leave for public employees by raising the cap on leave, allowing injured workers to access shared leave, and giving employees earlier access to leave. 
  • IMPROVEMENTS TO DEATH AND DISABILITY BENEFITS UNDER PSERS - We support policy that will create parity between DOC and other public safety personnel by improving Death and Disability benefits for PSERS members.


  • WORKER PROTECTION ACT - We have many great workplace protections—wage and hour, equal pay, health and safety, and anti-discrimination laws. But enforcement agencies often have years-long backlogs and the federal government limits what tools workers have to achieve justice. HB 1965, the Worker Protection Act, creates a pathway for workers to blow the whistle when current laws are violated, while generating resources for stronger state enforcement.
  • OVERTIME PROTECTIONS — This year, the Department of Labor and Industries updated overtime rules for the first time in 40 years and restored protections for thousands of salaried workers. Restoring overtime helps working families by honoring and respecting people’s time — that’s good for workers and our economy. Teamsters 117 will oppose any attempt to erode, roll back, or limit L&I’s ability to maintain overtime protections.
  • THIRD PARTY ADMINISTRATOR REFORM — TPAs are supposed to provide case management expertise for self-insured employers and Retrospective Rating program participants. Unfortunately, they are often used to suppress workers’ compensation claims and undermine injured workers’ ability to get the wage replacement and medical benefits they are due.
  • INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAM REFORM — Too often employers and the Department of Labor and Industries require unnecessary and invasive Independent Medical Exams for injured workers trying to heal and return to work. New workers’ compensation policies should limit how often IMEs can be requested when other sufficient medical information is available.
  • AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - Requires that persons or entities testing autonomous vehicles or autonomous vehicle technology equipment under the Department of Licensing’s Self Certification Pilot Project shall maintain with the Department of Licensing proof of an umbrella liability insurance policy in an amount not less than five million dollars per occurrence for damages by reason of bodily injury, death, or property damage in addition to the  financial responsibility requirements in accordance with RCW 46.30.020.
  • EMPLOYEE PERSONAL VEHICLE SEARCHES HB 2239 - Prohibits certain searches of employee vehicles in employer parking areas. Specifies an employee right of possession of property within their vehicles in employer parking areas. Provides for investigations and potential civil penalties by the Department of Labor and Industries.

Secretary-Treasurer's Message: Scholarship Opportunities!


Sisters and Brothers -

Hope your 2020 is getting off to a great start! As you plan out your new year, I wanted to give you a heads up about an exciting new scholarship opportunity for members of Teamsters 117.

At our Womxn's Conference last year, we established the Jayme Biendl Working Womxn's ScholarshipThe new scholarship commemorates the life and legacy of Officer Jayme Biendl of the Monroe Correctional Complex who was killed in the line of duty in 2011.   

The Jayme Biendl Working Womxn's Scholarship is intended for Teamster 117 women members and their dependents who are pursuing continuing education or a training/vocational program.

Learn about eligibility requirements for the scholarship here.

In addition, we have a number of other scholarship and community sponsorship opportunities available to Local 117 members. These include:

Thanks so much for your membership in Teamsters 117! 

In unity,


John Scearcy


Teamsters at the City of Auburn Overwhelmingly Ratify 3-Year Contract


Local 117 members Richard Valenti (l), Taylor Pence (c), and Greg Noonan (r) are armed and ready at the City of Auburn.

Greg Noonan, Teamster at the City of Auburn, is your veritable jack-of-all-trades. His work portfolio consists of plumbing, carpentry, welding, and metal fabrication along with some ingenious design work. 

When city officials and other town dignitaries needed a sleigh to parade down Main Street, Noonan made it happen. He transformed a flatbed truck into Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer with antlers, blinking lights and all.

"It's hard to say what I do from one day to the next," Noonan admits. "But that keeps things interesting."

Noonan will be retiring this June, passing his craftsman's torch to his co-workers in the City's Public Works Department. As he departs, he'll have the peace-of-mind that the workforce he's labored alongside for 24 years will continue to be protected by a strong Teamsters contract. 

Highlights of the new agreement include negotiated wage increases, longevity pay, increases to the uniform allowance, and full maintenance of benefits with excellent health care coverage through the Washington Teamsters Welfare Trust. 

"Between no increases to our medical and getting longevity pay - those were the two big things that really got our guys on board."

Rich Valenti, the town's horticulturist and member of our Union's negotiations team, explained why the contract passed with such impressive numbers.

"Between no increases to our medical and getting longevity pay - those were the two big things that really got our guys on board," he said. 

Valenti does the town's planting, pruning, and landscape design. He plots out trees, shrubbery, and flowers for hundreds of garden beds across the City. A portion of his time is spent during the winter months propagating annuals in a small greenhouse, where he transform 200 plants into 4,500 by transplanting their cuttings and seeds.


Rich Valenti (l), Taylor Pence (c), and Greg Noonan (r) are armed and ready to keep Auburn at its finest.

Much of the work of Noonan and Valenti, along with the other Teamsters at the City, takes place behind the scenes. They repair our roads, maintain our potable water system, and beautify our public spaces. Their work is indispensable to the smooth operation of the City's infrastructure and Auburn's quality of life. 

With the contract approved, members are feeling like their work is finally recognized. "I've never seen a contract ratify with those kinds of numbers," Valenti said. "And we had a great turnout for it, too."

Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy congratulated the group on the new agreement.

“We had record turnout to overwhelmingly ratify a contract that addresses core issues important to our members that have their boots on the ground," Scearcy said. "This is what you achieve by working together as a union and a great example of the power of member engagement, knowledge, and participation."



UNFI Litigation - News and Updates


This page is set up to provide updates to Teamsters 117 members who worked at UNFI's warehouse in Tacoma and were unlawfully laid off by the company. Our Union is defending an Arbitration Award that UNFI is challenging in federal court.

Our goal is to fight the Company in court and uphold the Arbitrator's Award that allowed members to transfer to Centralia with the same wages and benefits that they had in Tacoma. When there are developments in the case or other news that impacts Teamster families, we will post it here.

To receive updates via text message, text "Teamsters FUNFI" to 313131. Please understand that the litigation process is a lengthy one and there may be several weeks between updates. If you have questions, please post them in the comments below understanding that our legal team is busy and will answer them when their schedule allows. 


June 18, 2020
On Saturday, June 20 at 10:30am, we will have an online update meeting from our outside legal counsel on the arbitration. Our Union's attorneys in the case will be available to answer your questions. To attend the meeting, you must register in advance. Please click on the link to register: UNFI Arbitration Discussion – Saturday, June 20 @ 10:30am

May 26, 2020
On Thursday, May 21, our Union's legal team, together with outside legal counsel, had a conference call with the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board and the attorney for the NLRB's Division of Advice. On that call, our legal team responded to a series of questions related to the Arbitration Award. You can read the questions and our answers to issues raised on the call in a document prepared by our legal team here.

We will be setting up a meeting on Zoom, an online video conferencing platform, for Union members who have been impacted by the case. In that meeting, you will have the opportunity to discuss issues related to the case with our Union's legal team. As soon as that meeting is scheduled, we will let you know. 

May 16, 2020
On Thursday, May 14, our Union submitted a motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and our Proposed Order, asking the federal judge to uphold our arbitration award. This coming Thursday, May 21, our Union's legal team, supported by outside legal counsel, has a conference call with the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board and the attorney for the NLRB's Division of Advice. On that call, we will be discussing UNFI's Unfair Labor Practice charges claiming that the award violated the National Labor Relations Act. We will updated you after our conversation with the NLRB next week.

April 29, 2020
Background: UNFI filed two actions to avoid complying with Arbitrator Duffy’s arbitration award, which determined that Tacoma employees had transfer rights and the right to continue working for the same wages and benefits at the Centralia facility. It filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the NLRB claiming that the arbitration award violated the National Labor Relations Act. It also filed a federal lawsuit (Case Number: 2:19-cv-01736-RAJ) seeking to overturn the arbitration award. 

Region 19 of the National Labor Relations Board has sent UNFI's unfair labor practice charges to the Division of Advice to decide whether to move forward with the case. 

Meanwhile, UNFI asked the federal judge in the federal case to "stay" (e.g. pause) the federal action while the NLRB case played out. We opposed that motion and are waiting for the judge to rule.

Update: Your Union continues to reach out to the attorneys at the Division of Advice to weigh in at that level but so far have not been able to reach anyone and it is unclear if the Division of Advice's office is open during the COVID-19 crisis.

In the federal court case, we are preparing a motion for summary judgment, asking the federal judge to "confirm" the arbitration award. We plan to have our motion fully prepared and submitted by May 14, 2020. We will update this thread once that motion is filed.

April 2, 2020
In an effort to keep you all updated on the processing of the litigation, we contacted the court for a status update today. The only new information is that the motion for stay that was filed on 1/24/2020 is in Judge Jones' queue. The court was not able to provide a time frame for a decision. As we have shared before, this is a slow legal process that is presumably further delayed by the staffing and priority case load in relation to the COVID-19 crisis. Although this update does not include any major development, we have been asked by the membership and we have committed to provide regular updates no matter how big or small.

March 13, 2020
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the meeting at our Union Hall in Tukwila on March 21 has been cancelled until further notice. Please stay healthy and safe!

March 5, 2020
As you know, UNFI filed actions in both Federal Court and at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Union to challenge Arbitrator’s Duffy’s award.  In the Federal Court action, UNFI filed a motion to stay (put on hold) those proceedings until the NLRB ruled on their charges. We suspect that the Company's motives for filing the motion to stay are to continue to block your rights under the Award and to slow down the process as much as possible. The judge has not yet ruled on that motion. As soon as we hear from the judge, we will let you know.

At the regional NLRB office (region 19), our Union’s outside legal team filed a supplemental position statement a few weeks ago. Our statement provides a good overview of our main arguments in the case and request that the Board dismiss UNFI's charges. To inform yourself, please take some time to review this document. Since then, the regional office has been unable to make a determination about UNFI’s charges (likely for political reasons) and has submitted the charges to the NLRB General Counsel (a Trump appointee) for “advice”. We suspect the General Counsel's "advice" will be to push these charges to hearing. We are preparing for this outcome. Stay tuned for more information.

February 10, 2020
UNFI has filed a motion to stay proceedings in federal court.  They are asking the Judge to stay (which means stop processing) the proceedings in federal court until the NLRB proceedings are concluded.  We are filing our objection to that motion today, and the hearing on the motion is Friday. 

January 13, 2020
As many of you know, our Union filed and won and Arbitration Award related to the transfer of work to Centralia. Unfortunately, UNFI has refused honor the Arbitration decision and has instead filed appeals with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and in Federal Court. The following updates are related to the litigation over UNFI’s appeal:

UNFI’s Unfair Labor Practice Charges against the Union with the NLRB:
The Union has filed its position statement and exhibits with the NLRB. The NLRB will now consider our position statement before deciding whether to investigate UNFI’s claim.

UNFI’s Appeal of Arbitrator Duffy’s Arbitration Decision to Federal Court:
Our Union has filed its answer to UNFI’s complaint and asserted counterclaims against UNFI for enforcement of the award. Our counterclaims against UNFI are (1) to confirm the award; (2) injunctive relief to enforce the award; and (3) breach of contract. The Court extended UNFI’s time to answer our counterclaims to January 17, 2020.

Although litigation is slow-moving, we are committed to keeping you updated with posts and text alerts as we progress through this process. To receive a text that an update has been posted, please text “Teamsters FUNFI” to 313131. If you have questions, please post them in the comments below understanding that our legal team is busy and will answer them when their schedule allows.

January 3, 2020
As many of you know, our Union filed numerous Unfair Labor Practice charges (ULP’s) with the National Labor Relations Board over the last year alleging that UNFI engaged in interference, disparaging communications, surveillance, unilateral changes and more. Although these charges are unrelated to the Arbitration and the ongoing litigation over the award (appeal), we feel it is important to keep you updated on the progress:

Union’s Unfair Labor Practice charges against UNFI:
The hearing on these charges was scheduled for Tuesday, January 7, 2020. On January 2, 2020, the Labor Board reached a settlement with UNFI, requiring the Company to send a notice posting to current and former Local 117 and 313 members setting forth UNFI’s legal obligations to its employees under the National Labor relations Act.

As mentioned above, UNFI is mandated to mail you a letter setting forth UNFI’s legal obligations to its employees under the National Labor Relations Act. We expect that letter to be mailed out within the next week or two. This letter will not require any further action from you. Although this may seem insignificant, it marks another Teamster win against this employer that couldn’t be possible without the involvement and testimony of many of you.

We have asked our legal team to draft an update related to the litigation over the Arbitration award and the appeal process. We intend on providing that update soon.

December 2019
Teamsters 117 establishes the UNFI Hardship Fund designed to assist members from UNFI's Tacoma facility who are experiencing extreme financial hardship as a result of being unlawfully laid off by UNFI. If you are a UNFI member who worked at the Tacoma facility and you are facing financial hardship, please apply for assistance here.


October 7, 2019
Arbitrator Joseph Duffy rules unequivocally for the Union stating that members of Teamsters 117 shall be allowed to transfer to Centralia under the same terms and conditions that they have in Tacoma. View the Arbitration Award here.

Maverick Gaming Industry Workers Choose Teamsters 117


Maverick employees at the Great American Casino in Tukwila celebrate certification of their union!  

More than 1,700 card room workers employed by Maverick Gaming have chosen Teamsters Local 117. The Seattle-based Local Union was authorized as the workers’ exclusive bargaining representative through a card check process conducted by an independent arbitrator today.

“We are thrilled to welcome Maverick employees to our Union,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “Workers in the many card rooms across Washington State deserve a strong voice in the workplace and a contract that protects their rights and reflects their priorities. We are committed to working with them to achieve that goal.”

"We are thrilled to welcome Maverick employees to our Union."

Maverick employees will be the first unionized gaming-industry workers in Washington State. They sought representation with the Teamsters because they wanted a voice over issues like their wages, health care, retirement security, scheduling, and other working conditions.

“I feel it’s time for gaming employees to have a collective voice and input in the decision-making,” said Babet Vanvolkenburg, a dealer at the Macau Casino in Renton with over 20-years’ experience in the industry. “With the union we can have more job security.”

“I want the union because we’ll have an opportunity to improve our working conditions. My priorities are things like paid holidays, more vacation, and better wages,” said Mariano Quizapa, a cook at the Silver Dollar Casino in SeaTac.

Throughout the organizing process, Maverick remained neutral and allowed workers to determine for themselves whether they wanted union representation. “Maverick provides an excellent example of how a company should conduct itself during a union organizing drive,” Scearcy said. “While some employers fire workers or aggressively spread anti-union propaganda, Maverick trusted its workers to decide for themselves whether they wanted to join the union.”

The certification of Teamsters Local 117 as the workers’ exclusive representative triggers the process for contract negotiations. In January, workers will meet to establish their priorities for negotiations and identify rank-and-file leaders to participate on the union bargaining committee.

“This is a historic moment for workers in a previously unorganized industry in Washington State,” Scearcy said. “We look forward to sitting down with Maverick and negotiating a contract that reflects the priorities of these workers – things like good family medical benefits, a secure retirement, and secure scheduling – all of the protections and benefits of a strong Teamsters contract.” 

Happy Holidays from our Union's Executive Board!


Sisters and Brothers -

On behalf of our Union’s Executive Board, I want to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season.

As Teamsters, there is so much for us to be thankful for – workplace rights, guaranteed wage rates, and the many protections and benefits that come with having a union job. 

As we give thanks, let’s also remember to express our gratitude to the many Teamsters who will be working over the holidays. While most families will be home celebrating together, many of you work in professions that never sleep.

"Our gratitude to the many Teamsters who will be working over the holidays."

For those of you who will be away from your loved ones, we are grateful to you for your dedication, service, and sacrifice. A special thanks goes out to our members in the corrections and law enforcement professions who make tremendous sacrifices this time of year as they serve and protect our communities and keep all of us safe.

As the decade comes to a close, we’ve made incredible strides at Teamsters 117. We’ve won stronger contracts and expanded the workplace rights of thousands of members across our union. We’ve fought back threats in the courts, and we’ve emerged stronger and more engaged.

Next year, we hope to grow our union through new organizing. We’ll also be developing a strategic plan that will help us build a stronger future together.

Thank you for your service to our communities. Happy holidays to you and your family.

In unity,


John Scearcy

Holiday meeting brings Teamsters from across our union together


What a night! Dozens of prizes, gift cards, and lots of union cheer. Have a happy holidays everyone!  

It was a packed house last night at the Teamsters Hall in Tukwila! Hundreds of Local 117 members from across our union joined in the festivities of our Holiday Membership Meeting extravaganza.

As is tradition at the event, we raffled off dozens of prizes including power tools, electronics, gift cards, TVs, bottles of wine, and best of all…NUTS!

Check out photos from the event here.

Before getting to the raffle prizes, John Scearcy, our Union’s Secretary-Treasurer, kicked off the meeting with a few announcements.

He started by recognizing the outstanding service of Scott Anderson, who will be stepping down from his position as Trustee on our Union's Executive Board after an incredible 45-year Teamster career with 20 years on the Executive Board.

"Our members at UNFI are an inspiration to all of us."

Since the 1980s, Scott has organized food and blood drives at the Safeway distribution center in Auburn. Over that time span, hundreds of Teamsters have donated food to families in need and blood to help save lives in our community. Thank you, Scott! We are grateful to you for your service!

Taking Scott’s role on the E-Board will be Sysco Shop Steward, Will Buff. Will is an 18-year Teamster with 9 years’ experience as a Shop Steward and has helped secure strong contracts in the food service industry.

Scearcy also shared our Union’s ongoing fight with UNFI, the company that has unlawfully laid off over 200 Teamsters from its Tacoma warehouse.

“Our members at UNFI have galvanized the labor movement across the country,” Scearcy said. “Facing extreme pressure from an unscrupulous employer, they have stuck together and are demanding that UNFI honor their contractual rights. They are an inspiration to all of us.”

We've established a hardship fund for our members at the Tacoma warehouse, some of whom are facing eviction and struggling to support their families.  Contributions are welcome! 

We also passed the hat for Frank Ordonez, a Teamster UPS driver from Florida who was tragically killed after his truck was hijacked earlier this month. In total, members pitched in $1400 for Ordonez's family. Our Teamsters 117 Executive Board has approved matching donations collected from the membership last night.

Thank you to everyone for a great event. Happy holidays to you and your family!

Local 117 establishes hardship fund to support members unlawfully laid off by UNFI


Teamsters in Tacoma learning that UNFI has failed to make timely payments on their health and welfare and pension. 

Over the last several months, our Union has been in an intense labor battle with United Natural Foods, Inc (UNFI), a ruthless employer that has shown little regard for our members' livelihoods or their contractual rights.

Right before the holidays, the company unlawfully laid off over 200 Local 117 members from its Tacoma distribution center and is refusing to honor an arbitrator's award that upholds their contract and protects their wages and benefits.

Many of our members are now facing eviction or are struggling to pay the bills or put food on the table for their families.

To assist members from UNFI's Tacoma facility who are facing extreme financial hardship, our Union has established the UNFI Hardship Fund.

Over the last month, we have received generous donations from Local Unions and Joint Councils across the Teamsters Union as well as donations from other labor organizations and individuals. We are extremely grateful to you for your support.


If you would like to donate to support Local 117 members in need, you can contribute by sending your donation to:

Teamsters Local 117
c/o UNFI Hardship Fund
14675 Interuruban Ave. S. Ste 307
Tukwila, WA 98168

Thank you for your support!