When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

Premium pay for officers working in BFOQ positions

In last year’s interest arbitration hearing, one of our priorities for Teamsters working in BFOQ positions at WCCW and MCCCW was to address the issue of excessive mandatory overtime.

Charlotte Weimann, a 33-year officer at WCCW, helped make our case to the arbitrator.

After listening to our concerns, Arbitrator Lankford awarded officers: a two (2) range premium for all hours worked in a BFOQ position if and only if the facility in question assigned more than 30% more mandatory overtime hours to female Corrections and Custody Officers than to male Corrections and Custody Officers during the preceding calendar quarter.

For calendar quarter April through June 2017, the more than 30% threshold was met. This means that female CO’s will receive a two (2) range premium for all hours worked in a BFOQ position for the current calendar quarter.

Due to DOC payroll issues, affected officers at WCCW and MCCCW likely won’t see their additional compensation until their August 10 paycheck.  But your premium pay is on the way.

This is another example of the power of interest arbitration and the impact it continues to have on members of our union. We can thank everyone who worked so hard to achieve interest arbitration for DOC Teamsters over the last several years and our outstanding union bargaining committee that successfully negotiated these rights into our 2017-2019 contract.

Teamster Talk: Our summer newsletter is out!


The new issue of Teamster Talk, our newsletter for members of Local 117, is now available! In this issue, you'll find stories on:

  • our contract wins at UNFI and Republic;
  • Teamster efforts to hammer out homelessness;
  • an ongoing contract fight at Auto Warehousing; 
  • and more!

You can get your Teamster Talk online here. For print copies talk to your union representative.

Election Endorsements 2017

Here are the Teamsters 117 political endorsements for the 2017 August 1st Primary Election.

For more information regarding the endorsement process or to get involved in election activities, contact Local 117 Political Coordinator Dustin Lambro at 206-441-4860 ext. 1262. 



Teamsters at Safeway celebrate new 4-year contract


It was a celebratory moment. Rank-and-file member leaders on the Safeway bargaining committee lined up at the front of our union hall while their co-workers greeted and thanked them for a job well done.

The committee had helped produce an outstanding new contract, which was overwhelmingly ratified yesterday by the membership.

“This is one of the best contracts we’ve had in a long time,” said Billy Barnett, a Teamster shop steward, who has worked at the company for 38 years. “I’m feeling really good about it. There are good raises, good pension, and the medical is real huge.”

"This is one of the best contracts we’ve had in a long time."

The Safeway agreement provides wage increases of more than two dollars an hour over four years and pension increases of a dollar an hour. Our committee successfully achieved improvements to sick and bereavement leave, and break-in rates for new hires have been cut in half.

Perhaps the biggest accomplishment in the contract is that it maintains the outstanding health and welfare benefits for members and their families.

Our union’s vice-president, Marcus Williams, took the lead in negotiations, with the support of union representative, Ryan Jarman, and Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy.

“This contract is testament to all of the Teamsters in the grocery industry,” said Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy. "Our members perform backbreaking work in difficult conditions. They work hard to ensure that our economy remains strong and that food products arrive safely and securely to the dining tables of families across our region. I want to thank and congratulate our bargaining committee for their excellent work.”

Check out photos from the Safeway contract vote here.

Continuing to fortify our union at the DOC

Michelle-Woodrow.jpgBrothers and Sisters -

B‌y standing ‌together ‌in our union, we’ve accomplished some major successes at the DOC. 

We achieved a 20.3% general wage increase over four years and negotiated interest arbitration rights into our 2017-2019 contract. 

Success did not come overnight.  It took members speaking out in Olympia, testifying at hearings, and assembling a first-rate negotiating team. It also took careful, strategic planning to work toward long-term goals. 

Over the last few months, we’ve been working to develop a strategic plan for 2017-2019.  Thousands of DOC members participated in the process through our member surveys and planning meetings.  Together, we’ve identified new strategic priorities that will guide us into the future.

One such priority is to fortify our union against attacks on workers. To achieve that goal, we will launch an initiative called Family. Strength. Community. This program involves members talking with members about how we can build a stronger union in the workplace.  We’ll also be talking about the threats facing our union and how we can prepare for them.

Next year the Supreme Court will rule on a case called Janus vs AFSCME.  With the current makeup of the Supreme Court, we expect a ruling against AFSCME and against all public sector union members. This decision will result in government workers throughout the country losing their freedom to negotiate union security into their contracts.  It will also take away the freedom to have all workers pay their fair share for contract negotiations and enforcement.  

If this happens, our union members could lose resources and suffer an erosion of their hard won wages and contract provisions. That is, unless we remain determined to support each other.

The best way to protect ourselves against an anti-union ruling is to stand together and re-commit to our co-workers and our union. That’s how we achieved interest arbitration, improved assault benefits, raised wages, and won a stronger contract at the DOC. Many unions thrive, grow, and continue to improve in open shop environments, but the members must engage and organize to be strong. If every member and leader is involved and committed, we will continue to improve our jobs and our lives.

To learn more about our Family. Strength. Community. initiative please visit FamilyStrengthCommunity.org

In Solidarity,

Michelle Woodrow
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement

911 Dispatchers Attend National Police Week


Jennifer Abruzzo and Stephanie Scott sharing their National Police Week experience.

This year’s National Police Week took place May 14 – 20 in Washington, DC. Jennifer Abruzzo and Stephanie Scott, South Sound 911 Dispatchers, were the Teamsters who were union-sponsored to attend the event alongside Michelle Woodrow, Local 117 President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement.  Scott has been a Teamster at SS911 for almost 10 years and worked as a police officer prior to that. She is also a newly elected Shop Steward at her workplace. Meanwhile, Abruzzo has 20 years at SS911 and 28 years in the industry under her belt.

Teamsters on a Winning Streak: A Fully Recommended Offer with Safeway Reached


Safeway Shop Stewards in bargaining: Jose Madrigal and Bryan Vangstad.

Last night at the Tukwila Hall we reach a fully-recommended offer for over 300 members working under the Safeway Grocery agreement.

“The bargaining committee was focused and determined to achieve the top priorities of the membership. This offer meets those demands,” mentions John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 117.

"The bargaining committee was focused and determined to achieve the top priorities of the membership. This offer meets those demands."

Going into the bargaining, members' concerns included improving their pensions, protecting their family’s health and welfare benefits, and many were hoping to extend the leave of absence such as funeral leaves.

“We were looking for more ethical treatment. A employee’s job cannot be jeopardized if he or she is there for their family during a troubling time like that,” says Jose Madrigal, the youngest Shop Steward in the crew. His first bargaining resulted in a big win for him and his coworkers as he is expecting to welcome a third child into his family.

Marcus Williams, the union representative coordinator who took the lead on this challenging negotiation mentions:

 “This contract would not have been achievable without the strong membership participation and our collective efforts with Local 174. Teamster Strong!”

Teamster contract wins are even more crucial for workers in the tough reality of our changing economy.

Organizer Extraordinaire Pedro Olguin Joins the Race for Burien City Council



 Pedro Olguin is the Organizing Coordinator with Teamsters Local 117 who has dedicated his entire adult life advocating for workers. He advocates for the community, labor and working families. As a father of two children growing up in Burien, he wants to leave behind a legacy of inclusiveness where everyone’s voice is heard.



An Oxford Internet Institute highlights an article on Uber Drivers’ struggle by Local 117 Organizer


Oxford Internet Institute has published “Towards a Fairer Gig Economy”, a collection of articles examining the social and economic problems associated with the “gig” economy. Entries are penned by academics, researchers and include an article written by our Local 117 Association Policy Coordinator, Dawn Gearhart.

"Unions cannot collectively bargain with an algorithm, they can’t appeal to a platform, and they can’t negotiate with an equation."

In “Giving Uber Drivers a Voice in the Gig Economy”, she examines the impact of automatized app platforms on drivers in a system designed to disempower workers. Technology that was welcomed for new opportunities brought with it stagnant problems: falling wages, long hours and poor working conditions.  Organizing app-based drivers presents a new challenge for the unions, and yet Teamsters have led this fight.

“Unions cannot collectively bargain with an algorithm, they can’t appeal to a platform, and they can’t negotiate with an equation.” 

Gearhart highlights successful efforts of the drivers to reverse adverse effects of the new technology by creating the ABDA association, mobilizing against cuts in pay rates and working to successfully pass legislation in Seattle that empowers drivers.

You can read more here.

Bill guaranteeing Paid Medical and Family Leave in Washington State Signed (Video)

Inslee at signing

After a long fight and months of negotiations, the Paid Medical and Family Leave bill was signed in Olympia on Wednesday. Starting in 2020, it will guarantee 12 paid weeks off for caring for a newborn or adopted child, recovering from a serious medical condition including that of a family member, or 16 weeks for a combination of both. Passing this top priority piece of legislation is a huge win for working families in Washington State.

"It takes people. It takes organizing. It takes making sure that your fingers are on the pulse of what working families need."

It was incredible to have representatives from three labor unions present at the negotiation table. At the pre-signing ceremony at the steps of Olympia Capitol Building John Scearcy, our Secretary-Treasurer, spoke of the importance of the voice of everyday working Americans in getting this bill passed. 

“There’s one thing that doesn’t change and that’s what it takes. It takes people. It takes organizing. It takes knocking on doors. It takes making sure that your fingers are on the pulse of what working families need.” (You can watch the full speech below.)

Many of the speakers were parents, and their children played on the steps of the capitol as the bill that crucially affects their bonds with their families was signed. This makes Washington the fifth state after California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York to implement this program. 




Many of the speakers were parents, and their children played on the steps of the capitol as the bill that crucially affects their bonds with their families was signed. This makes Washington the fifth state after California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York to implement this program. 


Secretary Treasurer's Message: Member-driven contracts


Brothers and Sisters -

We’ve started this summer with a bang. On one weekend in June, members voted overwhelmingly to ratify two contracts – at United Natural Foods, Inc. and Republic Services - with historic improvements.

At UNFI, we achieved a defined benefit pension protection for the first time, while at Republic the majority of members will see an incredible 25% wage increase over four years.

These two contract wins are especially noteworthy given our turbulent history with the companies. At UNFI, members went on strike in 2012 in an effort to raise standards to match other contracts in the grocery industry.  At Republic, recycle and yard waste drivers have struggled for decades without success to achieve equitable wages and working conditions with the garbage haulers.

In both cases, it appeared that we were headed for a labor dispute if we wanted to achieve our goals. So what made the difference? What allowed us to translate two challenging contract campaigns into historic wins?  The answer is members getting involved in their union. 

DOC Summer BBQs are getting underway soon - See schedule here

Join us for one of our DOC summer BBQs.  We will be meeting all across the state to celebrate getting our contract funded.  We will also be:

  • talking about the importance of political action
  • answering questions about our new contract
  • debriefing legislative session

You can view days, times, and facilities below. Click on the link to your facility for the location of your meeting and to RSVP.

Monday 7/24/2017 1100-1300 DOC HQ
Tuesday 7/25/2017 1100-1300 SWRBO
Wednesday 7/26/2017 1100-1330 Pharmacy
Thursday 7/27/2017 1100-1400 MICC
Friday 7/28/2017 1100-1400 CIHQ
Monday 7/31/2017 0610, 0800, 1200, 1410, 1600, 1730 CRCC
Wednesday 8/2/2017 0630, 0800, 1200, 1420, 1600, 1730    WSP
Friday 8/4/2017 0610, 0800, 1200, 1410, 1600, 1730 AHCC
Monday 8/7/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 CCCC
Tuesday 8/8/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 1530, 2100 WCCW
Friday 8/11/2017 0630, 1100, 1300, 1420, 1600 WCC
Monday 8/14/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 MCCCW
Monday 8/21/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 CBCC
Tuesday 8/22/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 OCC
Friday 8/25/2017 0620, 1100, 1300, 1420, 1600 MCC
Monday 8/28/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 LCC
Thursday 8/31/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 SCCC


Corrections, UWPD, and DES contracts funded! We did it by standing together


Early this morning, the state released its proposed operating budget for the 2017-2019 biennium.  All indications are that the legislature will vote on the agreement today and that the budget will be signed into law to avert a government shutdown and temporary layoffs of state employees.

The proposed budget fully funds the interest arbitration award for our members at the Department of Corrections. It also funds the contract for our members at the University of Washington Police Department as well as for members at the Department of Enterprise Services. This means that all of the terms and conditions of the new collective bargaining agreements for our members who are state employees are now in place.

Teamsters at the DOC will receive general wage increases of at least 10.5% over the coming biennium; at the UWPD, members will receive annual increases of 10%; DES members' wages will increase by roughly 6%.

The legislature ultimately decided to fund our contracts because all of us stood together and demanded respect for the challenging, dangerous work you perform.

So many of you have played a critical role in this success. Thank you to our incredible member leaders who worked long hours to achieve meaningful improvements to our contracts. At the DOC, we were able to achieve interest arbitration rights in our contract for the first time, which is a major accomplishment.

Many of you also took the time to contact your legislators in the last several weeks as we made the final push to stop a shutdown of state government and avoid temporary layoffs.

Finally, thanks to all of you for the incredible service you provide to our communities. Your work is challenging, dangerous, and vital to the safety of the public.

There is still more work to be done. The proposed budget does not fund an external audit of staffing levels at the DOC. We will be working to include it in the supplemental budget next January as it continues to be one of our priorities moving forward.

But if we stand together as we have done in the last several months, we can continue to strengthen our contracts, improve our working conditions, and our lives.

Tentative agreement reached on state budget


The Governor announced this morning that legislators have reached an agreement “in principle” on an operating budget for 2017-2019.

If the remaining work on the budget can be completed before the end of the day on Friday and the legislature is able to vote on the agreement, a government shutdown and temporary layoffs will be avoided.

Budget negotiators on both sides of the aisle say they are confident that they can get the work done.

At this point, no details about the budget deal are available. We expect to learn more after the four legislative caucuses are briefed on the agreement.

We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more.

UNFI Teamsters win pension protection with new contract


Three UNFI Shop Stewards, Hamilton Lancaster, Dottie Dunthorn and Catalino Brown, helped achieve this historic contract.

On Saturday, Teamsters who work at UNFI voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new contract. It includes a key provision never before present in their collective bargaining agreement – a pension.

Hamilton Lancaster, a Shop Steward at UNFI who fought for this historic contract, mentions that they “are the first UNFI facility in the country to get a pension. It is something that the company has sworn up and down they will never ever give us.”

"I’ve been there for 12 years and the company said — you’ll never get a pension."

Five years ago, workers at UNFI stood together courageously in a nine-week strike to demand better wages and benefits. This time around, Teamsters presented a unified front to fight for financial security after their retirement.

Pension, however, is not the only improvement this contract achieves. It also includes caps on mandatory overtime that will improve quality of life for members. “It’s huge because we won’t be as burnt out,” says Catalino Brown. “We’ll get our days off and will be well-rested to come in and be motivated to work.” 

Voting took place in two separate locations, at the Teamsters Hall in Tukwila and in Spokane. Both groups welcomed the new contract. As Lancaster sums it up, “We got some bargaining unit work protections in there, better vacation language, and everybody got a raise and a retro out of it. I think that made it a pretty good deal for a lot of people.”

Local 117 Vice President Marcus Williams, the lead negotiator for the union, praised the work of the bargaining committee.

"They did a fantastic job throughout the negotiations," he said. "The entire membership at UNFI stood strong for retirement security and other improvements.  It shows what we are able to achieve when we stand together."


This victory was one of the two contracts ratified this weekend. Republic Services drivers won a long standing fight for a contract granting them parity in wages and working conditions with the garbage drivers. John Scearcy, Teamsters Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, highlights the importance of these wins. 

"Our union's trend of achieving historic contracts shows that our new approach of building contract campaigns is strong. Our focus on engaging and activating the true power-base of our union, the members, is working."



Caps on mandatory overtime for better work - life balance.