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Teamsters 117 Wire

Guardian newsletter - Our fall issue for DOC members is now available!

10.2.17_Guardian_Page_1.jpgThe new issue of the Guardian, our union's newsletter for Teamsters who work at the Department of Corrections is now available!

In this issue you'll find:

A CRCC member who writes about joining the union
Michelle's column on our Political Advisory Committee
Highlights from our 2017-2019 contract
Bios of two new Union Reps for DOC members

You can read the Guardian online here. Member leaders and union reps will be distributing print copies out in the facilities over the next two weeks.

King County MLA bargaining hits logjam

King County Teamsters -

Master Labor Agreement (MLA) bargaining between our Coalition of Unions and King County has been an extremely challenging process that has lasted for six months. 

Our union bargaining team has worked hard to incorporate the strongest possible language from the myriad of County contracts into the MLA. 

Yesterday was our last scheduled bargaining session, and although we have TA'ed many articles, we still have not reached a final tentative agreement with the County. 

The Coalition chairs, Denise Cobden (PTE 17) and Michael Gonzales (Teamsters 174), put out a brief statement today to update members on the status of bargaining. We should have a more complete update some time next week. 

KC Coalition Members --

Sept. 28 was the last scheduled bargaining session for the Master Labor Agreement (MLA) with King County. It lasted from 9 am to 7:30 pm and considerable progress was made, however, we are still far apart on several language items.

With no more meetings scheduled – at least, at this time -- the Coalition of Unions leadership will be working hard over the next few days to determine if there is a way to get through this logjam. We are hopeful and confident that we can find a path forward.

We will provide a much more detailed report later next week. If you have questions about MLA bargaining, please contact your bargaining committee member or your Union Representative.

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


John Scearcy

Secretary Treasurer's Message: Case threatens workers' freedom


Sisters and Brothers -

This September, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will consider a case, Janus v AFSCME that will likely have a profound impact on union members, especially those working in the public sector. 

Janus is a case, supported by the so-called “Freedom” Foundation", which will almost certainly eliminate your freedom to negotiate union security clauses in the public sector. 

If this occurs, members would be able to abandon their membership, but continue to receive all of the benefits of representation without having to pay for it. Unions would lose resources, contracts would become weaker, and the membership would become divided.

We don’t know exactly how the Court will rule on Janus, but there is a strong likelihood that your voice as a public sector union member could be significantly weakened as early as June of next year.

The Janus case is the culmination of decades of attacks on working families by wealthy CEOs and the politicians who do their bidding to rig the economy in their favor. They want to weaken unions because unions have played a central role in defending the freedoms we cherish to build and protect the middle class.

The best way for us as union members to prepare for this attack is to stand together with our co-workers and reaffirm our commitment to each other. We have a plan to win and be even stronger, with members leading the way.

Our union is incredibly resilient. We have faced many challenges in the past, and we’ve proven that when we stand together, we can improve our lives and our communities. We are confident we will prevail this time as well.

Thank you for your service to our community, and for your membership in Teamsters 117.


John Scearcy

Michelle Woodrow
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement

Airport taxi drivers demand justice at Port Commission meeting


Taxi drivers pack the Port of Seattle Commission meeting room at Sea-Tac Airport to demand change.

It was not nearly enough. That was the consensus of dozens of Teamster taxi drivers who testified at yesterday’s Port of Seattle Commission meeting about the Port’s plan to lower the per-trip rate drivers are paying.

Drivers have been forking over $7.00 to Eastside For Hire, the company that holds the Airport taxi contract, every time they pick up a passenger at the Airport. That amount was set to increase by $.50 at the beginning of October.

But after months of pressure from drivers and the community to improve conditions at the Airport, the Port stepped in to stop the increase and acted instead to decrease that amount to $6 per trip.

Drivers say it’s too little to make a difference. “Thank you for the reduction, but this does not solve the problem,” said Ali Sugule, who has been driving at the Airport for two years. “We need a voice at the negotiations table. We don’t want this contract going forward because it is hurting us.”

Airport taxi drivers have been calling out Eastside for months for multiple violations of its contract with the Port and point to a rigged system that enriches both Eastside and the Port at their expense.

New Rep Jonathan Makue ready to make a difference

Jonathan_Makue_post.png.jpgNew Local 117 union rep, Jonathan Makue, has deep roots in Hawaiian culture. His family’s ancestors date back to King Kamehameha, the islands’ founder, and his grandparents grew up speaking the Hawaiian language.

Makue spent his early years traveling back and forth between his grandparent’s place on Oahu and the mainland where his father had built a business in the fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest. 

As a young man, he spent five years working in the canneries in Alaska. He started out on the slime line, cutting up salmon and yanking out the guts, promoted to forklift operator, and finally floor manager. “We were in the middle of nowhere,” Makue says. “You could see Russia on a clear day.” 

After Alaska, he worked for a short time down on the Ballard docks, before landing his first Teamsters job at the Safeway Beverage plant in Bellevue in 2012. 

“It was the best decision I ever made,” he said. “I finally felt like a human being who had rights.” He appreciated the just cause protections at his new job, the negotiated wage increases, and the Teamster benefits.

"I’ve always known that I wanted to be part of something greater than myself."

He quickly got involved with the union. He helped organize a meeting with Kris Fish, the group’s Rep, to talk about getting a shop steward for workers on swing shift. Kris agreed and Makue was voted into that role. In September, Makue joined the staff of Local 117 and will represent Teamsters in the beverage, cold storage, and light construction industries.

He already feels right at home in his new job. “I’ve always known that I wanted to be part of something greater than myself. Once I became a union rep, I knew what that was. The Teamsters have taught me to lead by example, with respect, discipline, and integrity.”

Local 117 Teamsters contribute $1000 for hurricane relief


Members from TransDev at our General Membership Meeting on September 21.

Our Local Union will be contributing $1000 to aid in the ongoing disaster relief effort caused by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

We passed the hat at our General Membership Meeting on September 21 and collected over $400. Thank you to all of the members who were able to chip in.

Our Union's Executive Board will be matching that donation and rounding up to make an even $1000. 

Our hearts go out to the many families stricken by the storms that have ravaged southeastern Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean over the last month.

Secretary-Treasurer's Message: Quarterly update


Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy with a Local 117 fan after the Republic Services ratification vote.

Sisters and Brothers -

It’s been a busy, exciting year for our union. As we move into the last quarter of 2017, I want to give you a recap of what we’ve accomplished so far and a sense of where we are headed in our work to build unity and power for all members of Teamsters 117.

Contract Negotiations:

With over 80 contracts expiring in 2017, we have successfully ratified over 50 with another 30 remaining while building solidarity by focusing on member engagement with strategic contract campaigns. Our contracts have increased industry standards. Our DOC contract is the strongest in history for that group. Our contract for our recycle and yard waste drivers achieved groundbreaking wage increases and long fought-for wage equity with the garbage drivers.

New Organizing:

We have organized or are in the process of organizing the following new groups:

  • We Drive You (Facebook and Google transportation)
  • Additional DOC groups
  • Emerald Services
  • Woodland Park Zoo-Educators
  • Renton Printery
  • TransDev Dispatchers
  • Caretransit Drivers

Our recent action at SeaTac Airport exposed the exploitation of Seattle-area taxi drivers, which put in motion major improvements to their working conditions.

Political Action:

Working together with Local 117 members, our political team, helped pass Paid Family Leave and other worker benefits in Olympia this year. We also built member participation on our 9-member Political Advisory Committee that meets regularly to interview candidates and make endorsement recommendations to our union’s E-Board.

Internal Organizing:

Our Local has committed to member engagement and development through programs like “What A Teamster Looks Like”, “Family Strength Community” and a recent essay contest asking members to express the freedoms they enjoy as union members.

Member and Staff Training

We are developing a general Membership Training Program and a Member Leadership Academy focused on diversity, inclusion and development for the future.

Our Local 117 staff has had over a thousand one-on-one conversations with members to identify their co-workers with leadership qualities. Through this program, members have identified over five hundred fellow Sisters and Brothers that they trust as member leaders!

We are on track to begin our Local 117 Member Leadership Academy and general Membership Education Program in early 2018.  We are also putting together a development program for staff to ensure that members receive the best possible representation from their union. 

Thank you for the incredible sacrifices and efforts you all put forth each and every day, and thank you for your membership in Teamsters 117.

In Solidarity,


John Scearcy

It’s 100%! Republic Parking Teamsters unanimously ratify new contract


A small group of Teamsters who work for Republic Parking in downtown Seattle voted to ratify a new three-year contract last week.

It was unanimous – all members voted in favor of the agreement. Members will receive wage increases in every year of the contract and increased contributions to their retirement plan.  

"The group felt that greater retirement security was an important goal for this contract and they accomplished that," said union rep Takele Gobena. 

Another huge improvement for members was the addition of vision coverage to their health and welfare plan.

The Teamsters covered under the new contract work at the Puget Sound Plaza building and in the garage of the IBM building. They greet customers, help them process their tickets, and assist with building maintenance. 

Teamster drivers lend a hand to the hurricane relief effort


When disaster strikes, Teamsters roll in to help out. That’s what three members at Republic Services did when their boss asked for volunteers to help clean up in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey that devastated south Texas earlier this month.

One of them was Ben Goodrich, a Local 117 residential yard waste driver, who has serviced neighborhoods in Snohomish County for the last ten years. 

Ben jumped at the idea of pitching in to assist in the hurricane relief effort. “I felt I could come down here and work my ass off and help clean this place up, but I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he said.

Ben says he's witnessed destruction on a colossal scale. He’s been especially struck by the number of displaced people – families moving into hotels and living on the streets. “It’s pretty humbling."

Since arriving in Houston just after Labor Day, he has been at it 10-12 hours a day, hauling away mounds of rubbish from houses, some of which were fully submerged in the floodwaters. He plans to continue aiding in the effort until at least September 23.

Back to School BBQ Raises Boxes of Supplies for Kids in Need


On Saturday, August 26, Teamsters gathered outside the Tukwila Hall for a Back-to-School barbecue fundraiser. The event was sponsored by the Teamsters Pacific Northwest Black Caucus.

"All donations went to a school that operates at 80% below the poverty line."

It took four members to haul more than three large boxes of the gathered supplies. All donations went to White Center Heights, an elementary school that operates at 80% below the poverty line where 75% of students are children of color.

The burden of school supplies on families in poverty is enough to push some families over the edge and make students not want to come to school. Thank you for all who donated and participated. Your contributions will ensure increased school participation in our most vulnerable communities and help reduce bullying. 

Support for Dreamers - Resources for DACA recipients

DACA_Infographic_EN_FINAL.jpgIn the wake of the Trump Administration’s announcement that the DACA program is being terminated, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the Washington Dream Coalition are hosting community forums to help answer your questions.

Get the latest information, talk to an immigration attorney, and learn about other resources for DACA recipients and their families.

The City of Seattle has put together a resource guide that includes the NWIRP forums and other events where you can get more information.

Resource guide - English
Resource guide - Español

If you have questions, contact Adriana at 206-441-4860 ext. 1221. 


King County MLA bargaining down to the wire


Members of our Local 117 union coalition team representing Teamsters at King County in MLA bargaining. 

King County Master Labor Agreement (MLA) bargaining is getting down to the wire. The county is interested in ushering any tentative agreement reached with the coalition through the county’s contract transmittal process by December 28. To meet that timeline, they have proposed wrapping up MLA negotiations by next week and small table bargaining by October 2.

Our union coalition is committed to achieving the best possible agreement on behalf of the membership based on your feedback. We are amenable to the county’s timeline, but not if it means sacrificing our priorities at the bargaining table.

Any agreement reached by our coalition and the county is subject to ratification by the individual bargaining units in the coalition. If we are able to reach an agreement with the county, we anticipate giving you the opportunity to vote on the MLA this fall.

Solidarity day at Wild Waves - reduced entry for Local 117 families!


Looking for fun way to escape the late summer heat?

Our sisters & brothers at the IAM 751 have graciously offered Teamsters Local 117 members and their families the opportunity to partake in a union solidarity event at the Wild Waves theme park in Federal Way. 

The event will take place on Sunday, September 10 from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M at Wild Waves (36201 Enchanted Parkway S., Federal Way, WA). This is a private, discounted day for union members and their families.

Tickets are $15/person plus processing fees ($18.10/person) - includes parking, all rides, and water park. (Normally $40/person plus $12 parking). Tickets must be purchased online

To purchase tickets, visit the Union Solidarity Day - IAM Machinists 751 page on the Wild Waves website. You must enter a Username: IAM751 and Password: Sept10

Tickets are limited!


Local 117 E-Board commits to Hurricane Harvey relief


Teamster families across the country, including many at our Local Union, have been afflicted by the devastating storm that has swept across the southern United States over the last several days. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the storm's victims.

Our Local 117 Executive Board has committed to support the ongoing emergency relief effort. 

We will be passing the hat to support disaster relief at our upcoming membership meeting on September 21. Our Local Union has pledged to match the donations collected at the meeting.

Teamsters on the ground at Joint Council 58 are assessing how our disaster relief donations can best support the millions of people stricken by this terrible storm.

If you are unable to attend our membership meeting on September 21, but would like to contribute, please send a check payable to Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund c/o Teamsters Local 117, 14675 Interurban Ave. S. Tukwila, WA 98168.

Your tax-deductible donations WILL make a difference in the lives of a Teamster family.

Thank you for your support!

Welcome new DOC Union Rep, Fred Rodgers!


Welcome our new Union Representative for members at the Department of Corrections, Frederick Rodgers.

Fred grew up in Miami Florida and graduated from Southeast Oklahoma State University in 1990 with majors in Sociology and Physical Education. After college he joined the Dallas Police Department where he reached the rank of Senior Corporal and taught defensive tactics. At that time he was part of the Texas Police Officers Association. After 10 years with the Dallas Police Department he pursued a different career and moved to Washington State to become a security director of Go2Net. After leaving Go2Net he managed his own security consulting company Rodgers Ventures LLC.

Fred started working with DOC in 2003 at the Monroe Correctional Complex. He started as a custody officer and worked his way up to a Sergeant with experience working at all the facilities at MCC. In December 2011, he became a classification counselor and upgraded to a supervisory role including a year and a half as Correctional Unit Supervisor at the Washington State Reformatory Unit A/B units.

Fred is assigned to Monroe Correctional Complex. He is looking forward to working with his old colleagues in a new role.

In his spare time, Fred lift weights and plays racquetball. He also follows the success of his 15-year-old son who plays football at Kentwood High School.

Welcome to the family, Fred, we wish you success!