When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

45-year member at American Steel, Kim Ferguson, hangs up his torch

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Longtime Teamster steelworker Kim Ferguson (r) congratulated by his union rep, Lance Asher.


The work of Teamsters shows up in some remarkable places.

The roof at Safeco Field retracts on wheels that were burned by Teamsters. Ditto for the pontoons that anchor the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. The Space Needle itself was fabricated with Teamster steel.

Through their labor, Local 117 members like Kim Ferguson and his dad have helped fashion some of our region’s most renowned landmarks.  Together the two share 78 years of membership in Teamsters 117.

“I got a dose of it when I was a young kid,” Ferguson remembers. “I’d go to union meetings with my dad and it was packed, wall-to-wall, standing room only.”

Ferguson started going to union meetings back in the ‘60s when he was 10 years old. In the summers, he’d ride the crane with his dad down at Stack Steel & Supply, one of our region’s most prominent steel service centers at the time.

Ferguson’s dad spent 33 years in the steel industry with Local 117. At 18, it was Ferguson’s turn to go down to the old hall to get sworn into the union he would call home for the next 45 years.


Gearing up for DOC contract negotiations starting this week

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Brothers and Sisters -

As your union's Secretary-Treasurer, I've had the privilege over the last several weeks to attend many of the contract proposal meetings across the state as we prepare for upcoming negotiations over our 2019-2021 Department of Corrections contract.

At those meetings, I spoke with many of you about the challenges you face in the workplace and improvements you would like to see in our contract.

I want to thank you personally for talking openly about your concerns. The input that so many of you provided, both at our meetings and in contract surveys, has been invaluable in helping our union bargaining team develop meaningful proposals for these negotiations. 

Negotiations with the State officially get underway next week. On Tuesday, May 1, our union team, which consists of 21 member leaders from facilities across the state, will meet independently to finalize our proposals. We will be across the table from the State for the first time on May 2. 


Airport drivers suspect retaliation as contractor terminates 29 from airport fleet

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Teamster taxi and flat-rate drivers pack a Port of Seattle Commission meeting on April 24.


Sea-Tac Airport taxi and flat-rate drivers responded with calls for justice after taxi airport contractor Eastside for Hire announced the termination of 29 drivers from the airport fleet. Drivers received a communication from Eastside of the terminations on Tuesday, April 24.

“I don’t have thousands of dollars to pay to work at the airport,” said driver Fitaber Gudina in her testimony before Port of Seattle Commissioners on Tuesday. “The only money I have is to buy bread for my children. Please, stop this injustice.”

“We want to be able to work to pay our mortgages and pay for college for our children,” testified Michael Megnta, who has been driving in Seattle for 27 years. “We believe in this society and want to raise the next great generation. Let us work!”  


Teamsters at Humane Society of Tacoma & Pierce County Say No to Inhumane Treatment: Vote Unanimously to Authorize Strike

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There was no hesitation from any of the predominantly female Teamsters who care for animals at the Humane Society when a strike authorization vote was taken. Never in all her 18 years of being a Teamster has Sarah Anderson – Cat Foster Coordinator, shop steward, and member of the bargaining committee – seen a proposal from an employer that has been so extreme with takeaways.

“We take care of animals that are forgotten and neglected, and work everyday to ensure needy animals find new homes,” she shares. “The hard work and overwhelming commitment of my co-workers is inspiring.”

“That’s why it’s so hard to understand why the new management team is working so hard to attack our pay and benefits after years of productive bargaining with Teamsters,” said Anderson. “It feels like we are fighting for basic human rights at this point,” she shares. “They are aggressively trying to break us down.”


Your kid need $$ for school? Scholarships available!

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Are you the parent of a student in need of money for trade school or college?

We are now accepting applications for the 2018 Jeff Alfieri Scholarship. The Local 117 Jeff Alfieri Scholarship of up to $2000 is awarded to outstanding students whose parents are members of Teamsters Local 117. 

The deadline for submitting applications is Thursday, May 31, 2018.  View application materials below:

The Local 117 Jeff Alfieri Scholarship of up to $2000 is awarded to outstanding students whose parents are members of Teamsters Local 117. If you have questions about the scholarship, talk to your Business Representative, or call 206-441-4860 or 1-888-872-3489.

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.


Meet the Member Leaders on your DOC Bargaining Committee

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As contract proposal meetings for Local 117 members who work at the Department of Corrections have come to a close, please welcome the rank-and-file members of your DOC Bargaining Committee.

They are volunteer Shop Stewards from across the state representing a comprehensive range of DOC positions. Together with union staff, they will be sitting across the table from the State over the next several months to negotiate over our 2019-2021 DOC collective bargaining agreement.

Negotiations will begin on May 1-2. All negotiations will take place at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila. Here is the schedule for negotiations:

  • May 1-2
  • May 23-24
  • June 5-6
  • June 20-21
  • July 10-11
  • July 17-18
  • July 23-27 (Mediation, if necessary)
  • August 22-31 (Interest Arbitration hearing, if necessary)

Teamster Drivers Take Action at Sea-Tac Airport, Refuse "Pay-To-Work"

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Teamster taxi and flat-rate drivers gather on the roof of the Sea-Tac Airport parking garage before Tuesday's protest.


More than 200 taxi and flat-rate drivers raised signs of protest at Sea-Tac Airport on Tuesday in a massive effort to stop airport taxi contractor Eastside for Hire from forcing drivers to pay to work. Drivers chanted “stop the pay-to-work scam” and “Eastside unfair” as they marched for nearly an hour at the taxi dispatch line on the third floor of the airport parking garage.

Last Thursday, Eastside sent drivers a notice informing them that they had until 5 P.M. on Tuesday to sign an intent to pay $9,000 or forfeit their right to access the airport. The drivers of 405 taxicabs and flat-rate vehicles in the airport fleet rely on fares from the airport as their primary source of income. Losing the right to access the airport would result in a devastating loss of business for drivers.

“Nobody has the money to pay that sum,” said taxi driver Saranjeet Shaglani. “It’s very expensive to work here. We can hardly pay the bills. So we all gathered together to get justice.”

"We all gathered together to get justice."

Drivers have already paid thousands of dollars for the right to service customers at the airport. When the Port of Seattle awarded Eastside the taxi contract in 2016, drivers paid Eastside a minimum of $4,600 per driver to join the fleet.

Drivers also paid to convert their vehicles with Eastside’s branding. In addition to the cost of entry, airport drivers are charged a $155 weekly dispatch fee and a $6 per trip fee. Drivers say the fees at the airport are so high that many earn less than minimum wage after expenses.


National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week: Celebrating 50 Years of 911

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The original phone from which the very first 911 call was made in Haleyville, AL. The numbers 9-1-1 where selected back when rotary dial telephones were still the primary type of phone, so the shorter the number the better.


At 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, 1968, the first 911 call was placed from the mayor's office in Haleyville (AL) and answered a short distance away at the police station. Up until then, there was no centralized number for people to call in case of an emergency, and it was a lucky plea for help uttered into the phone that was met with an appropriate response.

Today, 240 million calls are made to 911. The people who make an immediate response possible are the heroes operating behind the scenes. They ensure public safety and protect our police officers and firefighters by monitoring their activities by radio and providing them with vital information. Held every year during the second week of April, National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is a time to recognize telecommunications personnel in the public safety community for their service and commitment to the profession. This week of April 8 – 14, we celebrate 50 years of their dedication and critical work.

So why "9-1-1"? At the time of its creation, the adopted emergency line in Britain was 999. In the US, however, there was a need for a number that was short, unique, and had never been used as an area code or service code before. This was also back when rotary dial telephones were still the primary type of phone, so the shorter the number – the better it was.

The emergency phone system has changed since it was first created, but our reliance on public servants listening on the other side of the line in critical moments hasn't. Thank you for the heroic work that you do!


Pacific Place Mall Parking: Employers Change but the Contract Stays Strong

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Michael Berhea, shop steward at LAZ Parking, in front of the Pacific Place Mall garage after casting his vote.


If you have ever been to downtown Seattle, you would have seen the Pacific Place Mall. You would have gazed at elegant lines of its four floors, watched the expensive vitrines under the skylight and walked across its skybridge.

But you probably have never pushed one of its employee side doors. If you have, you would have left the glamour and natural lighting behind and plunged into the grey corridors of cracked concrete.


First-ever contract for new Teamsters at the Woodland Park Zoo

Teamsters in the Education Dept at the Woodland Park Zoo celebrate their new contract. 


Congrats! to our new members, Teamsters in the Education Dept. at the Woodland Park Zoo. The group voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to ratify a first-ever union contract. 

The group came together last year to win better wages, working conditions, and a voice on the job. They officially joined our union in August after an NLRB election vote.

"It took courage and determination for these workers to stand together in their union and win a voice," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "Let's congratulate them on their first Teamsters contract and welcome them into our union."

The Education Dept. group joins 60 Teamster zookeepers, who are also employed by Woodland Park Zoo. 


MCC steward encourages participation to DOC contract meetings

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Sgt Jason Heuer, a Shop Steward at MCC, is well versed in the rights and protections that our Dept. of Corrections contract provides. 


The life of a steward at the Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC) keeps you on your toes. Jason Heuer, a sergeant at the facility who joined the steward ranks in March 2017, spent the better part of his day last week defending the contractual rights of his fellow members.

He dealt with an investigation, handled a discipline case, and juggled a number of grievances. Heuer, who knows his CBA inside and out, preaches the power and value of our contract.

"There's a lot of information in there that protects our members," he said. "My job as a steward is to ensure that management is being straight and that our rights are not being violated."

Heuer showed up to a contract proposal meeting this week with a couple of suggestions for our union bargaining team as we head into negotiations with the State this spring.

Wage increases, a more solid retirement, and suggested changes to unscheduled leave reporting are all issues he brought to the fore.

"Come in and speak your voice. That's what being part of a union is all about."

Heuer was happy to hear that the leave issue in Article 23 of the DOC contract is already being addressed through a demand to bargain. He was also pleased that we achieved funding in the state budget for an audit of staffing levels at the DOC. "That's something I've been pushing for at least 10 years," he said.

On the retirement front, our union's Political Director, Dustin Lambro, is putting together a member Task Force to begin to tackle the issue. Better retirement security is a major concern for DOC Teamsters. No one in their 60s, after 35 years of service, should have to go toe-to-toe with a violent inmate.

Getting the system changed will be a heavy lift and will require member political engagement on a massive scale. If you'd like to participate on our Retirement Task Force, please contact Dustin at dustin.lambro@teamsters117.org. Union Reps are also asking for volunteers at the contract proposal meetings taking place around the state over the next two weeks.

"These meetings are absolutely critical," Heuer said. "Come in and speak your voice. That's what being part of a union is all about."

 


Frustration voiced at last week’s total comp negotiations

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Rick Reinlasoder, a Teamster who works in the County's Water and Land Resources Division, asked tough questions in total comp negotiations on March 29.


“I was not satisfied with their response,” said Rick Reinlasoder. Reinlasoder, a Local 117 shop steward on our union bargaining team, had just finished grilling King County negotiators on why wage increases had been processed for non-represented employers but not for Coalition members.

“We’ve earned it, we deserve it, and we have a right to it, but we can’t do anything with that money for close to six months.”

"We can’t do anything with that money for close to six months."

Reinlasoder echoed the frustration of others on the bargaining team after hearing in last week’s total comp negotiations that the Master Labor Agreement (MLA) was still winding its way through the County’s legislative process and members wouldn’t see their wages increases and retro pay until June.

It is strong unions, collective bargaining, and political power that drive wage increases for all King County employees, yet non-represented employees are enjoying the bump in their paycheck that the Coalition had worked for nearly a year to negotiate. “That’s quite frustrating for the membership,” Reinlasoder said.

Reinlasoder's pointed questions came in the context of a presentation by the County’s Budget Director, Dwight Dively, on the financial health of the County. Dively reported a revenue shortfall despite the strong local economy.

The March 29 negotiations started with Coalition chairs, Michael Gonzales and Cecilia Mena, outlining our union’s initial economic proposal, which addresses the high-priority compensation elements in your contract, including wage increases for 2019 and 2020.

The next negotiations sessions are scheduled for April 19 and 26. We expect the County to present its initial proposal in those sessions. If you have questions, please talk to a bargaining committee member or your union representative.


Guardian Newsletter: On the Steps of the State Capitol

Teamster corrections employees rally on the steps of the state capitol in Olympia on February 13.


The spring issue of our Guardian newsletter is hot off the press! In this issue, you can get caught up on the following stories impacting Teamsters who work at the Department of Corrections:

  • Strong turnout at our DOC Lobby Day
  • DOC stewards preparing for upcoming contract negotiations
  • A successful legislative session in Olympia
  • New DOC union representative, Amy Ford

You can access the Guardian online; print copies will be distributed at our upcoming contract proposal meetings over the next two weeks.

 

 


Teamster airport drivers prevail after long fight, unanimously ratify contract

Teamster airport drivers who work at Fleetlogix celebrate the ratification of their new four-year contract on March 27.


It's been long time coming, making this moment especially sweet. Teamster drivers who work for Fleetlogix voted unanimously to ratify a new four-year contract yesterday.

The contract vote ends a year-long battle with the employer, who for months wouldn't budge from a number of proposed takeaways, including cuts to the workers' vacation benefits and seniority rights.

From the start, the group of over a hundred members held strong. They turned out for union meetings, wore solidarity buttons, and signed a petition calling for dignified conditions at work.

“We need to stand up for our co-workers and our community,” said Hassan Mohamed, in the midst of the contract campaign.

"We need to stand up for our co-workers and our community."

With scant progress at the bargaining table, the group organized a "march on the boss" action last November. Dozens of workers on shift confronted management at Fleetlogix. They also took their demands to the Avis-Budget Group, the rental car outfit that contracts with Fleetlogix to transport vehicles around Sea-Tac Airport.  

In the end, the workers' unity and determination ruled the day. Backed by an engaged membership, our bargaining team held firm against takeaways and won meaningful improvements for the group.

Highlights of the new agreement include improved vacation, expanded bid rights, protections to members' seniority rights, an additional personal day, protections to health and welfare benefits, and meaningful wage increases. Members also won the right to use the Avis-Budget Group's break room.

"This contract absolutely helps all of us at Fleetlogix and it's good for us as an airport crew," said shop steward Sharmake Warsame. "It's good for me, it's good for my crew, and it's good for all of us."

"This campaign was successful because workers played the central role," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "They stood up and spoke out against unjust conditions and inadequate proposals. They worked for months without a contract and never relented. Their solidarity made the difference."


United we stand: Coalition work yields results at King County

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Shop Steward Dan Fernandez (l) and Union Representative Brian Perreira after Total Comp bargaining session on March 22.


Our Coalition of Unions has been working overtime on behalf of Teamsters at King County, and the results speak for themselves.

Last year, the Coalition achieved a first-ever Master Labor Agreement (MLA), which was overwhelmingly ratified by all participating Teamster bargaining units. Our Coalition team bargained a 3.25% wage increase for 2018, one of many improvements in the MLA.

With MLA bargaining wrapping up last fall, the Coalition has already launched into a new round of negotiations with the County, which started earlier this month. “Total Comp” negotiations considers all compensable elements of your contract.

“Total compensation has everything to do with your overall compensation package,” explained Brian Pinney, a bargaining committee member who works in the County’s Solid Waste Division. “A general wage increase, your medical coverage, a lot of other benefits - they’re all covered under Total Comp.”

Negotiations kicked off on March 1 with our Union and the County establishing ground rules for bargaining. Yesterday, the Coalition met independently from the County to map out our priorities for negotiations and to develop a comprehensive initial proposal.