When we fight, we win!

Teamsters 117 Wire

Immigrants gather for resources, community and legal support


Members and their families at our Immigration Resource Fair on April 22 at the Union hall in Tukwila. 

About 50 members of Teamsters 117 and their families met at the Union hall in Tukwila on Saturday to attend our Immigration and Community Resource Fair.

Members browsed resource tables from several local advocacy organizations while their kids played board games and watched movies across the hall.

Our Comite Latino caucus grilled carne asada and veggie burgers, which they served with an assortment of salsas, cilantro, radishes, and onions.

The event featured three 30-minute know-your-rights trainings provided by one of our partner organizations, Colectiva Legal del Pueblo. The trainings were well attended and the feedback was positive.

"Our immigrant members are facing many challenges," said Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy. "We are happy to provide critical community and legal resources to ensure that our members know their rights in the workplace and in the community."

Check out photos from the event on our Flickr page here.

100% Yes Vote on Woodland Park Zoo Contract


Teamsters Local 117 represents approximately 65 Zookeepers, Warehousers, and Veterinary Technicians at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. 

Congratulations to our members at the Woodland Park Zoo on their new contract! 

Members voted to ratify the agreement yesterday. The vote was unanimous - 100% voted in favor of approving the proposal.

The agreement includes wage increases in each year of the contract and eliminates a controversial merit pay system. 

"Our members at the zoo do essential work that benefits all of us," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "They care for the animals, teach conservation and ecology, and help bring joy to the over 1 million visitors to the zoo each year. They deserve a contract that reflects the valuable contributions they make to our community."  

Shop Steward Peter Miller was inspired by the vote:

"Everything I learned in shop steward training paid off: listening, hearing, organizing, surveying, sharing and supporting. But most of all believing. Believing that if you really want to make changes, it can happen. Your union is not only that negotiator and business rep and shop steward. It is you and in what you believe to be how you want the terms and conditions of your employment to be. "

Teamsters help fight homelessness through tiny house project


It was an impressive sight. Fifty volunteers, all union members, coming together to fight homelessness. Teamsters working together with Machinists, working with members of the Building Trades and the Martin Luther King County Labor Council.

The group set out to build two tiny houses at our Teamsters Union hall on Saturday, and they succeeded in spectacular fashion. The new structures will be transported to a local homeless camp in the coming weeks.

"With all of the uncertainty in our world, this represents hope," said Cynthia Adams, a member of our Local 117 Executive Board who works at King County, as she observed the group's progress.

The volunteers hammered out the frames in just a few hours, added siding, insulation, doors, windows, and a roof. One house was completely finished by day's end. The second house is nearly completed as well.

 "What a fantastic project," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "We are proud to give back to our community by adding Teamster labor to this great cause. Thank you to the many volunteers who lent a hand in this effort. You make our union and our community strong."

King County Presents its Proposal in MLA Bargaining


Our King County Coalition of Unions met with the County again yesterday at the Teamsters hall in Tukwila to continue negotiations over a Master Labor Agreement (MLA).

With these negotiations, we are working to consolidate common language in our contracts into one general agreement that will apply to all Unions in the Coalition that vote to accept the MLA.

We also aim at setting contractual minimums for participating bargaining units to promote equity throughout the Coalition agreements.

Bargaining units that successfully ratify the MLA by the end of 2017 will receive an additional 1 percent general wage increase effective January 2018.


On April 20, our Coalition team, which consists of dozens of Union Representatives and rank-and-file Union leaders, met again with the County.

In the last bargaining session on March 30, we presented our initial comprehensive proposal for the MLA. We believe our proposal strongly reflects the interests of the membership by including some of the best language from the contracts of the Coalition’s individual bargaining units.

In this meeting, the County responded with a presentation and explanation of their initial proposals. We spent a great deal of time asking clarifying questions while the County responded to our questions.

We expect that the County will finish its presentation in our next bargaining session scheduled for Thursday, May 11 at IBEW Local 46 in Kent. We have also scheduled bargaining dates for Thursday, May 18 and Thursday, May 25 at our Teamsters Hall in Tukwila.

If you have questions, please contact your Bargaining Committee member or your Union Representative.  Thank you for your service to the residents of King County.

Teamsters will build tiny houses to fight homelessness


Join us as we partner with several other Unions this Saturday to construct two tiny houses in an effort to help combat homelessness.

Three Teamster Locals as well as members of the Seattle King County Building Trades, the Machinists Union, and the Martin Luther King County Labor Council will be lending a hand on the project. 

The event will take place this Saturday, April 22 starting at 8 a.m. at our Union hall in Tukwila. Volunteers are needed any time between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. A barbecue lunch will be served.

Contact Mary Keefe at 206-441-0763 or Mary.Keefe@teamsters763.org for more information.


Congrats to Beckendorf Scholarship Recipient, Michelle To


Congratulations to Michelle To, the daughter of Phuong To, a Teamster Local 117 member who works at Sysco. 

Michelle is one of the recipients of this year's Jerry Beckendorf Scholarship. Since 2003, the Jerry Beckendorf Community Services Scholarship program has awarded approximately $50,000 to dozens of graduating seniors from Union families living in Pierce County.

Michelle was presented with the award at the Pierce County Central Labor Council meeting on April 12. When she was called up to receive her certificate, all the Teamsters in the house came up to stand with her in support.

Here are a few words about Michelle and her future plans courtesy of the the PCCLC:

Michelle is graduating from Rogers High School and plans on attending the University of Washington for a degree in Pre-Medicine as well as Bioengineering.

Michelle will be the first of her family to attend college, and has set the bar high for herself while remaining humble. She has spent over 1,000 hours giving back to her community through tutoring kids, packaging food, and cleaning and refurbishing toys for low-income children.

Michelle aspires to make a bigger difference in the world by administering medical help and making discoveries in medicine by becoming a Bio-medical engineer.

For her leadership and volunteer work we award her $750.

Seattle for-hire drivers vow to continue organizing efforts


Uber drivers at the company office in Tukwila on April 4. The group was there to protest unfair deactivation.

Judge Lasnik Emphasizes Order Should Not be Read as Harbinger of Final Decision  

Seattle for-hire drivers who are seeking to unionize under the city’s new collective bargaining law are determined to continue their organizing efforts after a federal district court judge issued an order temporarily blocking the new law.

"This is just going to make us come together and fight more."

“It’s disappointing, but it’s not going to stop us,” said Musse Bahta, who has driven for Uber for four years. “There are so many drivers who are ready to stand up for their rights. We are standing together with our union. This is just going to make us come together and fight more.”

Another Uber driver, Peter Kuel, also vowed to continue the organizing efforts. “The judge needs to understand what we’re going through. It’s too much. We feel the pain doing this job. We are not going to give up. We will continue fighting for those who cannot speak themselves,” he said.

Don Creery, a union supporter who has been driving with Uber since 2014, said drivers are facing so many issues that the ruling would not prevent them from continuing to seek representation.

“There are so many problems. We’re not being paid adequately. That means you work longer hours, which means you’re not safe. We have no benefits – that’s an issue. I work full-time for a 70 billion company. The American taxpayers should not have to subsidize my health care. That’s not right.”

In his ruling, Judge Lasnik made it clear that the temporary injunction should not be interpreted as indicative of a final decision in the case:

“The Court emphasizes that this Order should not be read as a harbinger of what the ultimate decision in this case will be when all dispositive motions are fully briefed and considered. The plaintiffs have raised serious questions that deserve careful, rigorous judicial attention, not a fast-tracked rush to judgment based on a date that has no extrinsic importance.”

For more information, please contact Dawn Gearhart at 206-794-6678 or dawn.gearhart@teamsters117.org

New contract for QCD Teamsters who deliver to Starbucks


Members at Quality Custom Distribution (QCD) voted to ratify a new contract on Sunday. The 70-member group overwhelmingly approved the proposal, which provides wage increases, and retirement and job security for members and their families for the next four years.

"What we've achieved in two contracts would have taken weaker groups four or five contracts to accomplish."

The ratification vote comes just two weeks after the group had voted to authorize a strike.

"Things changed after we got the strike authorization vote," said George Carpenter, a Shop Steward who was on the bargaining committee. "We stood together and showed the company that we were willing to walk out."

Carpenter was pleased with the final result, especially with the maintenance of the group's health benefits. "Over the next four years, it helps us achieve a lot. Our health care doesn't change over the course of the contract. So I feel really good about that."

Carpenter also had praise for the Union's negotiating team. "What we've achieved in two contracts would have taken weaker groups four or five contracts to accomplish. I think everybody was pretty happy."

"This bargaining committee had the full support of our Union," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "They bargained extremely well and stayed committed to and focused on the priorities of the group." 

QCD members deliver food service products to over 300 Starbucks stores across the Pacific Northwest.

Secretary-Treasurer's Message: Quarterly Update


Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy at the Shop Steward Seminar on March 11.

Brothers and Sisters -

In January, I had the incredible honor of being sworn in as Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117 to continue to serve the membership of our great Union for the next three years.

Running a Union of 17,000 members is a tremendous responsibility. As the leader of this Local Union, I know your livelihood and the welfare of your family is tied inextricably to your Union contract and to our ability to build unity and power in the workplace.

When I became Secretary-Treasurer in 2015, I made a commitment to build a strong foundation for the future and to always put members first.  That commitment has not changed, and I intend to continue to work tirelessly on your behalf.

Now that the first quarter of my elected term is behind us, I want to share with you some of the highlights and accomplishments of our collective work.

Union coalition passes full proposal in King County MLA bargaining


Our King County Coalition of Unions bargaining team at the Teamsters Union hall in Tukwila.


Our King County Coalition of Unions negotiated a Total Compensation agreement with the County last year covering basic compensation elements of your contract. The Total Comp agreement was overwhelmingly ratified by individual bargaining units within the King County Coalition of Unions.

As part of the agreement, we committed to bargain a Master Labor Agreement (MLA) basing it on the structure of the National Master Agreement between United Parcel Service (UPS) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

If we are successful in ratifying a Master Labor Agreement by the end of 2017, members of the Coalition will receive an additional 1 percent general wage increase effective January 2018.


On March 30, our Coalition of Unions met with the County to continue negotiations over a Master Labor Agreement (MLA). The MLA would consolidate language in our contracts into one general agreement that will apply to all Unions in the Coalition that vote to accept the MLA as well as setting contractual minimums for all participating bargaining units to promote internal equity throughout the Coalition agreements.

During this negotiation session, the Coalition of Unions presented an initial comprehensive proposal for the MLA that identified the priorities and interests of the various memberships. The County responded with many clarification questions geared towards fully understanding the interests behind our proposals.

After a short caucus the County expressed their appreciation for the work of the Coalition bargaining committee and shared that it is their goal to present a complete counterproposal at the next scheduled session on April 20.

We will be ready to continue negotiations and are committed to communicating our progress as we move forward.  

If you have questions, please contact your Bargaining Committee member or your Union Representative. We will have another update for you after the meeting on April 20.

Thank you for your service to the residents of King County.


Members at Viking vote unanimously to ratify new contract


From R to L: Lance Asher, Tim Smith, Steven Martin, and Douglas Trotter, and John Scearcy

Our members at Viking Sprinkler voted unanimously today to ratify a new three-year contract.

The agreement, which was negotiated by our Union's Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy, provides wage and pension increases, and significant improvements to the employees' dental coverage.

"We're really happy with this contract, it's probably the best we've had," said Tim Smith, a member of over 20 years. "John worked his tail off getting us a good contract."

"We're really happy with this contract, it's probably the best we've had."

Our Shop Steward, Douglas Trotter, who participated in negotiations, agreed:

"I'm feeling really good about this contract. It's always a pleasure to have John Scearcy come in and facilitate the negotiations. I feel honored to have had him on board with this one."

Trotter has been with the company for 14 years, and has been a Shop Steward for nine.

Another member, Steven Martin, who came to Viking from a non-Union shop just eight months ago, was also pleased. "This whole Teamster Union thing is new to me. You get way better benefits, better medical. Overall everything is much better."


House funds our DOC legislative agenda


Today, the House Democrats released their 2017-2019 Operating Budget proposal, and there's some great news: It fully funds our collective bargaining agreement for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections. Last week, the Senate Republicans passed their budget which also funds our DOC contract. 

Unlike the Senate, though, the House budget also funds $500,000 for our requested budget proviso to conduct an independent, comprehensive staffing level audit to review staffing levels in each DOC institution by classification. We lobbied on this issue this year, and made it a key part of our legislative agenda. 

The House and Senate budgets diverge in other ways as well. The Senate failed to fund most other state employee contracts; thankfully, the House remedied that by investing in all state employees including our members at the University of Washington Police Department. 

With budget negotiations about to get underway, we need to send a message to our legislators about our priorities for the budget.

YOUR ACTION NEEDED: Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 with this message:

  1. Thank your legislators for recognizing the important work of our state's corrections professionals. 
  2. Encourage your Senator to support funding for the DOC staffing level audit.
  3. Ask your Senator to invest in our UW Police Officers by funding their contract. 

Thank you for taking action on these issues. 

Tentative agreements reached at two more Teamster shops


Teamsters Local 117 represents approximately 65 Zookeepers and Warehousers at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. 

Last week, Local 117 bargainers, together with their respective rank-and-file bargaining committees, reached tentative agreement on contract proposals at two locations.

Our Union team at the Woodland Park Zoo reached tentative agreement with zoo management last Thursday. Our Shop Steward at the Zoo, Peter Miller, is in the process of proofing the proposal. The group will be voting on the agreement in mid-April.

We also reached tentative agreement for a contract proposal on behalf of members at Quality Custom Distribution (QCD). The agreement comes after the group had voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike on March 19.

Members at QCD deliver food service products to Starbucks stores across the Pacific Northwest. Our QCD bargaining committee has scheduled a contract vote here at the Union hall this coming Sunday, April 2 at 2:30 P.M.

As soon as both groups have an opportunity to review and vote on their contract proposals, we will let you know.   

Another scholarship opportunity for Teamster kids


Your kid need money for college? The General Teamsters Retirees Club is offering scholarships for the 2017 academic year. Application materials are available here.

The General Teamsters Retiree Club scholarship is open to sons, daughters, step-children and grandchildren of members of Teamster Locals #38, #66, #117, #174, #227, or #763.

The member may be either the parent who is in good standing and a dues paying member for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the date of application, or a grandparent who was a member in good standing for at least one (1) year immediately preceding the date of withdrawal or retirement. Teamsters Retiree Club scholarships are awarded to the selected winners for study at any accredited College, University or Vocational/Technical Schools. 

The deadline for applications is July 7, 2017.


Teamster Talk: Solidarity actions lead to strong contracts


The new issue of our Teamster Talk newsletter is now available. Teamster Talk highlights the work of members in our private sector shops.

In this issue, you'll find news on our recent Shop Steward Seminar as well as contract fights and organizing campaigns at several locations, including GP Gypsum, US Foods, and UNFI.

You can view a PDF of Teamster Talk here. Print copies will be available in a few days from your Union Representatives.