Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case, Janus v AFSCME, which threatens our ability as union members to stand together for strong contracts and strong communities.
As expected, the Court overturned a 40-year precedent that protected our freedom to have a united voice at work and ensured that all of us contribute our fair share for the improvements we win together.
Despite the Court’s ruling, our union is resilient and remains strong. We have been preparing for this outcome for over a year with our Family – Strength – Community program. By sticking together, we can continue to improve our wages and protect our rights at work.
The Court may have ruled against us in the Janus case, but as Teamsters we decide how strong our union will be. We will not let the Court or anyone else break our commitment to each other.
WHO’S ATTACKING OUR UNION?
It’s important to remember who is behind this attack on our freedom. For years, wealthy special interests like the so-called “Freedom” Foundation have been trying to destroy our union.
The "Freedom" Foundation lobbied against wage increases for state employees. They oppose our right to paid sick leave and our right to a secure retirement through defined benefit pension plans. We fought their attempts to obtain your personal information through public disclosure.
In the coming weeks, the "Freedom" Foundation may try to convince you to abandon your union membership by saying you can "opt out". They may send mail to your home, contact you on the phone, or even knock on your door.
They'll say you have nothing to lose. The truth is you have everything to lose – your contract, your health benefits, and your rights at work.
But if we stay united, we can continue to win improvements in our workplaces and for our families.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STAY STRONG!
- Wear your "We Decide" solidarity stickers this week at work - you can get them from your shop steward;
- Sign a card committing to your co-workers;
- Attend a Janus Decision Day Solidarity Rally in Tacoma or Seattle;
- Share a post on Facebook or Twitter about why you support our union using the hashtag #UnionStrong;
- Talk to your co-workers about the “Freedom” Foundation's anti-union agenda;
- Visit our union’s website at FamilyStrengthCommunity.org for more information.
Thank you for your service to our communities and for your membership in Teamsters 117.
Check out this video of Shannon Rich talking about the need for union members to stay united. Shanoon is a Local 117 member at the Tacoma Public Library:
Teamsters who work at Impark celebrate their new four-year contract.
We all came together as Teamsters. For Awgaw Fanta, a Local 117 parking attendant, who operates two garages in downtown Seattle, that was the highlight of this weekend's contract win.
Fanta is a shop steward who serves on our union's negotiations committee that has been meeting with the employer since April.
This Saturday, Fanta and his co-workers had the opportunity to vote on a fully-recommended settlement offer. The four-year agreement was overwhelmingly ratified by the group.
Members will see wage and pension increases in each year of the contract, maintenance of their health and welfare benefits, and a new shoe allowance for some classifications.
"Everybody is happy to get a raise," Fanta said. "It's an important thing for us. It helps our families."
"Everybody is happy to get a raise... It helps our families."
For Fanta, the group's unity was key to their success. Members stuck together, attended union meetings, and supported their negotiations committee that worked long hours to achieve improvements to the contract.
"Takele and Paul fought really hard for us," Fanta said, referring to the union negotiators assigned to the group.
"Our members at Impark provide essential services to commuters and tourists coming to park in the downtown Seattle core," said John Scearcy, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer. "They deserve fair pay to support their families, just working conditions and a secure retirement. By sticking together, they have achieved a contract they can be proud of."
We are expecting a ruling any day in the Janus v AFSCME court case. The case is an attempt to undermine the freedom of working people to have a meaningful voice at work.
It is the culmination of hundreds of millions of dollars spent by anti-worker corporate billionaires to weaken unions. But their efforts will fail.
Over the last few months, Teamsters across our union have learned about this attack by talking to each other. Thousands have signed cards committing to stay strong and stick together. You can join them by signing the online commitment card here.
As Teamsters, we know the value of strong unions to stand up to wealthy special interest groups who are using Janus to rig the economy against workers.
No court can take away our ability to stand together for fair pay, better benefits, and safe working conditions. The court may decide against us in the Janus case, but as Teamsters, we decide how strong our union will be.
Our union negotiations team for DOC wore read to protest the State's proposal to restrict our access to vacation leave.
It was a sea of red at our DOC negotiations this week. Members of our union’s bargaining committee were decked out in red T-shirts, red caps, red sweatshirts and blouses. Our team had deliberately coordinated our dress to protest the State’s proposal to restrict our access to vacation leave.
In the previous negotiations session, the State sought changes to the vacation leave article (Article 21) in our contract to allow DOC management to discipline members who make certain kinds of vacation requests by defining it as unscheduled leave.
Our team was united in rejecting the proposal. To show our unity and send a message to the State, the group decided to wear red for this session. All members participated in the action.
On Thursday, the State made a stab at another idea that was unanimously opposed by our negotiations team. The State proposed designating Visiting as a Specialized Unit.
There are a couple of problems with that. Not only would it erode our bid system and strip members of their right to work in those areas, it wouldn’t address the problems they claim they’re trying to solve.
Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy’s stature as a labor leader in our region continues to grow.
This week, Scearcy was elected as a trustee on the association of the Seattle Labor Temple. The nine-member group is charged with overseeing one of the Emerald City’s most historic landmarks.
“I’m very excited to be working with John Scearcy on the new Seattle Labor Temple,” said Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Martin Luther King Central Labor Council (MLKCLC). “John is an amazing addition to this team because he comes from the rank-and-file and truly understands what workers are looking for in a community center.”
The iconic building in the heart of downtown Seattle has been the central gathering space for the labor movement since 1942. It is home to the MLKCLC, which represents 150 unions of more than 100,000 workers, along with an active food bank and 30 additional tenants.
Scearcy joins at a critical juncture as the association grapples with how to manage the transition to a new home for the Labor Temple. His election brings growing influence for Local 117 members and comes on the heels of being recognized as Best Principal Officer of an affiliate labor union by the MLKCCLC at its 130 anniversary celebration in February.
“It is an honor to serve on this association,” Scearcy said. “I am committed to working in solidarity to ensure that the labor movement in our region has a dynamic home for the future where workers can come to build power.”
Our union negotiations team for DOC reacted with anger and disbelief at the State's proposal on vacation leave.
DOC contract negotiations erupted this week when the State presented a proposal seeking to punish members for taking time off from work to spend with their families.
The proposal involves the vacation leave article (Article 21) of our DOC contract. Currently, members have the ability to request accrued vacation in excess of ten consecutive days in three segments per year with the exception of the summer months. This gives members the flexibility to schedule longer stretches of vacation to help mitigate the stress of working inside the prisons.
The State’s proposal would restrict the number of vacation days per segment for the entire year as opposed to the limited restriction between June and August, which exists currently. The employer also wants the ability to discipline members by defining certain vacation requests as unscheduled leave.
“How can they punish us for using vacation time that we’ve accrued? It’s outrageous,” said Teresa Bennett, a pharmacy tech on our union’s negotiations team.
"How can they punish us for using vacation time that we’ve accrued? It’s outrageous."
The State also presented a blatantly anti-union proposal, trying to modify Article 2 to restrict new members access to their union.
The time with new members is critical because it allows shop stewards and union reps to convey the hard-fought victories we have achieved through our union membership, like interest arbitration in our contract, extending assault benefits, and the across-the-board wage increases of 20.3% over the last four years.
At the negotiations table, our union team spoke forcefully about the need to preserve our existing rights under both Article 21 and Article 2. We also pushed the employer to take greater responsibility for reducing scheduling errors that can lead to excessive mandatory overtime.
It’s important to remember that without a union the State could unilaterally implement policy changes that would undermine your rights at work, such as their outrageous proposal to discipline you for using vacation leave.
If you haven’t done so already, please sign a commitment card so that we can preserve our rights as union members to stand together for a strong contract. By signing you are sending a clear message to the State that we are committed to each other and we are united. You can sign online at: www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org/sign.
Our next negotiations session will be held on June 20 and June 21 at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila. If you have questions, talk to your negotiations committee member or union rep.
You can view a short video update from members on the negotiations committee below:
If you ask a credential specialist at SeaTac Airport whether the Janus v. AFSCME case will threaten their union’s strength, they would chuckle and shake their head. Not on their watch.
This U.S. Supreme Court decision is expected to drop anytime between now and the end of June and set restrictions on the freedom and unity of working people. Yet this intrepid group that works on the mezzanine level of SeaTac Airport and handles the task of ensuring trustworthiness of airport employees has already made their decision.
"We will remain union members. We refuse to be divided."
“We will remain union members. We refuse to be divided,” said Maryanne Davis who has worked at the airport for over 18 years.
The credential specialists have fought hard for their current wages and benefits. Many of them remember when their entire group was fired several years ago and stayed out of work for months. They persevered until everyone was reinstated. This diverse group knows how important every person is to the security of the team, so every member has committed to remain a Teamster regardless of the Supreme Court ruling.
Now they are the middle of contract negotiations and Marilee Fisher, who is a shop steward and part of the negotiations committee, shared her opinion. “I believe in my union. I will always be a union supporter. As unions fight for better wages and better conditions, workers’ lives and pay improve even in non-union workplaces. If it weren’t for the unions, we would have no middle class.”
TEAMSTERS AT WORK AND IN THE COMMUNITY
We are excited to launch our new Teamsters contest!
Let's celebrate the work that Teamsters do every day. We are builders, caregivers, protectors, and public servants. Teamsters have a hand in almost every aspect of our lives from forging steel for the Space Needle to delivering food to grocery store shelves to running animal shelters. When our work day is done, we engage our communities by volunteering, organizing events and donating. Let's share what we do by creating a calendar of images of Teamsters in the community and at work.
How to Participate*
1. Take a picture of your coworkers while working at their job or participating in community events.
2. Give your picture a title.
3. Write a brief description of what is going on in the picture, names of people in it, and the date it was taken.
4. Include your name, employer and phone number in the email.
5. Send the photo and the information to us!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or share it with your union representative.
* You must be a member of Teamsters 117 in good standing to enter.
The photos will be posted on Facebook and the winning photos will be voted on by fellow Teamsters and their families. Bonus points if a Teamsters logo appears in the picture.
We will select 12 photos to be put into a 2019 Teamsters calendar. All winners will get copies of the calendar.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS OCTOBER 15.
What are you waiting for? Start taking pictures!
Tips for a winning photo
Lighting makes a great picture. Let plenty of light fall on your subject, (but not to the point they are squinting at the sun!)
Think of what you want to show. Close in to show emotions on the face or small details. Step back for a bigger picture. Think of a different angle by crouching or taking a shot from above.
Take several shots, and then pick the best.
Since we are creating a horizontal calendar, take pictures in "landscape" orientation.
Send it to us in the largest size available!
Remember, the winning images must size to 8.5x11" while maintaining good quality. If your image looks too blurry, dark or pixellated, take another snap!
Teamster taxi drivers showing their collective power at the Union hall on Friday, May 25.
Teamster taxi and flat-rate drivers celebrated an announcement by airport contractor Eastside For Hire that the company would suspend its Pay-To-Work scheme and rescind the planned terminations of 29 vehicles and their drivers from the airport taxi fleet.
Drivers were prepared to take a strike authorization vote on Friday to protest the threat of terminations and a scheme requiring drivers to pay thousands of dollars or lose access to the airport. After Eastside’s announcement that it was suspending Pay-To-Work, the strike approval meeting turned into a celebration.
“This is a great victory. We stood together in our union to protect our jobs,” said Suldan Mohamed, a driver who has worked in the taxi industry for 13 years. “We are not divided by color, religion, or background. We are all one community trying to support our families.”
“We were able to achieve this through our unity,” added Harinder Singh. “But the threat is not over. We need to stay united and be ready to take action again if necessary.”
"We were able to achieve this through our unity."
On April 17, hundreds of drivers participated in a peaceful protest at Sea-Tac Airport to protest Eastside’s plan to reduce the taxi fleet and impose additional fees on drivers. Drivers spoke out at Port Commission meetings against the unjust terminations and met individually with commissioners.
The Port ultimately directed Eastside to rescind its plan and said it would exercise its right to inspect Eastside’s records related to the terminations. At today’s meeting, drivers wrote cards thanking the Commission for their support. “We want to thank the Port of Seattle for listening to drivers and taking this issue seriously,” Mohamed said. “This is a great day for us and our families.”
“I want to congratulate Teamster taxi drivers on this important victory,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “Drivers showed that by standing together in their union they can protect their livelihoods and prevail in the face of unjust working conditions. Our union is stronger through their membership, unity, and resolve.”
Negotiations between our union team and the State continued this week over our 2019-2021 DOC contract. The meetings took place at our Teamsters Union hall in Tukwila on Wednesday, May 23 and Thursday, May 24.
In our last sessions earlier this month, we established ground rules for negotiations and presented our union’s initial proposals.
In this week’s sessions, the State presented a few initial proposals on Wednesday morning, then requested a break to continue developing additional proposals. Much of Thursday’s discussion revolved around overtime and shared leave.
In our union caucus, we continued to refine our language proposals. We also focused on alerting members to attempts by the “Freedom” Foundation to divide our union at this critical time.
You can read the committee's joint statement here. DOC members will be receiving the statement in the mail in the coming days.
“The Freedom Foundation is trying to split our union,” said Teresa Bennett, a pharmacy tech and shop steward on the negotiations committee. “Don’t fall for their mailings – they are confusing and false. We need to stand together and not be divided."
"We need to stand together and not be divided."
Our next negotiations session will take place on June 5 and 6 at the Union Hall in Tukwila. If you have questions, please contact your bargaining committee member or union representative.
Thank you for your service to our communities. Please stay safe.
Airport Taxi drivers filled the room at yesterday’s Port of Seattle Commission Meeting to thank Port Commissioners for their support.
"Our diverse communities are united - Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs alike."
Twenty-nine of the drivers are two days away from termination by Airport contractor Eastside for Hire. “The SeaTac 29” were targeted for termination last month hours after testifying before the Port Commission about a controversial “Pay-to-Work” scheme requiring drivers agree to pay thousands of dollars in fees just to keep their jobs.
The Port of Seattle has formally notified their contractor that the terminations are not permitted, but Eastside has yet to rescind the termination notices.
Bachitter Singh, a driver of more than six years, said: "Thank you for standing with us. We are united as one, and we are looking for your further support in preventing unjust terminations of the SeaTac 29."
Despite pressure from the company, drivers are sticking together and continue to make their voices heard. "In this holy month of Ramadan, our diverse communities are united - Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs alike. We celebrate together, and we stand together for justice for all," Zenabu Bayaso told Commissioners.
Get caught up on what's happening in total comp negotiations with King County! Two Shop Stewards on the bargaining committee - Brian Pinney and Lisa Huntley - provide a short video update from the last bargaining session below.
For a more comprehensive look at negotiations, you can link to all of our total comp updates so far.
During contract negotiations, we are most effective when we are united. Our unity allows us to achieve higher wages, better working conditions, and a safer workplace for all Teamsters.
The last thing we need when we’re bargaining with the State or any other employer is for an outside group to try to divide us. But that’s exactly what the so-called “Freedom” Foundation is trying to do.
The “Freedom” Foundation is an anti-worker think tank that has used lax public disclosure laws to get ahold of the personal information of our members at the Department of Corrections. Now they’re using that information to send DOC members mailers trying to trick them into abandoning their union.
In a mailer sent this week, they claim members lose nothing by abandoning their membership. The truth is you have everything to lose – your wages, your benefits, and your power to negotiate a strong contract.
The Freedom Foundation fought AGAINST wage increases for DOC Teamsters. They want to privatize public services and outsource public sector jobs.
The best way we can protect ourselves is by standing together. Talk to your co-workers and make sure they don’t fall for the misleading information.
Show the Freedom Foundation that we are united and won’t be manipulated. If you haven't done so already, sign a commitment card to protect your freedom to have a strong contract and a strong union.
If you have questions, please talk to your Shop Steward or Union Representative or visit www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.
Under the roof of Museum of Flight at the Boeing Field, police officers who work at Sea-Tac airport gathered to celebrate the Annual Awards Ceremony in recognition of outstanding service that law enforcement officers do everyday to keep our communities safe and promote nonviolence.
"It absolutely is a rewarding job."
Representatives from Seattle Children's Hospital thanked the officers for their invaluable assistance escorting young patients and their parents flying in from areas as far away as remote Alaskan villages. Officers at the airport provide security and support for families in their most stressful moments.
The highest award of the day, Officer of the Year, was presented to officer Matt Huston. He attended the event with his wife, three-year-old daughter and a baby they had welcomed just last year.
Despite taking the time off to care for his family and the newborn, Huston had responded to the highest number of incidents on patrol in 2017. His coworkers applauded his hard work and qualities of a proactive team player, yet what set him apart was his humanity. Huston's compassion in policing was evident when he spent over two hours by the side of a disabled motorist until his family arrived and when assuring highest level of care and protection when encountering a mentally distressed driver and her daughter fleeing domestic violence. It was also evident when he handled situations involving physically large and aggressive individuals nonviolently and without incidents.
It absolutely is a rewarding job," Huston said. "You see people sometimes at their worst, but you get to help them get a little better." This Teamster also received a "Soldier of the Mission" award for embodying Port of Seattle Police Department's mission statement. Sarena Davis, Teamsters DOC Coordinator, presented Huston with a cash gift on behalf of Teamsters in recognition of his outstanding achievement.
Teamsters Car Show is back!
Join us on Saturday, August 25th, for Teamsters Car Show. There will be prizes, 50/50 raffle, a beer garden, and a DJ. For food we'll have hamburgers, hot dogs and street tacos. Little ones will have fun with bouncy house, face painting and balloon twisting. Bring your family and don't miss out on the fun!
If you plan to enter a vehicle in the show, entry fee is $20 (day of the event) and $15 (pre-registration). If you are not entering a vehicle, there is no cost for this event. General public is welcome!
Cars roll in at 10:00am, and the show begins at 10:30am. The event will take place at the Teamsters Union in Tukwila (14675 Interurban Ave. S.). Reach out to your union representative for a form to enter your car or print it out here.