When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

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.

Call your state senator. Tell them no layoffs at DOC!


Many of you, perhaps more than 3,000 DOC Teamsters, received notice from the Department that you will be laid off if the legislature is unable to reach an agreement over an operating budget for the coming biennium. 

In the manner that it issued layoff notices, the DOC has likely already violated the terms of our collective bargaining agreement, which will trigger our contract's grievance and arbitration process. 

Rest assured, no matter what happens with respect to layoffs, we will vigorously defend your rights under the contract and under the law.

To help jumpstart the process in Olympia, we need to send an urgent message to our state Senators. Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them to pass a budget immediately that invests in corrections employees who protect all of us. 

You and your co-workers put your lives on the line every day to serve and protect our communities, yet the state Senate is unwilling to do its job and pass a budget agreement that invests in the vital services you provide.

Please don't wait. Call your state Senator now!

Newly-ratified Republic contract is a win decades in the making


Teamster recycle and yard waste drivers who work at Republic Services achieved an historic victory yesterday.

With the terms of their new contract, the group accomplished a goal that they had pursued for more than three decades: Wages and working conditions that are equitable with the garbage drivers.

In every negotiation for the past 30 years, the group has made wage parity a priority. But achieving it has been easier said than done.

The inequity in the industry can be traced back to the 1980s when cities like Seattle first launched their municipal recycling programs. At that time, garbage was the moneymaker for solid waste companies; recycling was not.

That dynamic shifted as cities implemented programs like the “Wasteless in Seattle” initiative, which set ambitious goals for diverting garbage from landfills by recycling and lowering disposal, transportation, and energy costs.  

Teamster Jessica Poston speaks out at rally for state workers


Teamster Jessica Poston, a counselor at the Washington Corrections Center for Women, joined several other state employees who spoke at a rally the Western State Hospital in Lakewood today. 

The speakers were part of the All In For Action coalition that is calling on the state Senate to come to the table to pass a budget that fully funds important programs local communities depend on as opposed to protecting tax breaks for large corporations and the wealthy.

A family of Teamsters at Coke spanning three generations


Three generations of Teamsters at Coke: Gene Kettle (l), Dave Campbell (center), Jake Campbell (r).

“As long as those trucks are rolling, stay close to them and you’ll be fine.”

That was the advice Dave Campbell gave his son, Jake, who went to work for Coca-Cola as a merchandiser when he was still in high school. It was the same advice Dave’s father-in-law, Gene Kettle, had given him when Dave launched his own Teamsters career 36 years ago.

In all, the family’s employment at Coke has spanned three generations for a combined 75 years of service.

Gene started as a Teamster at the company back in 1955, but eventually promoted into management and went on to run operations at Coke’s Marysville branch. Dave recalls his father-in-law telling stories of a Coke strike back in the 70s’. “They hired a bunch of Huskies to load trucks,” he said. “One of them knocked over six pallet boards and half buried a route truck in glass. They fired them all.”