Cheryl Miller, her husband Mark, and AHCC member Rob Rinard setting up for the BBQ event on July 31.
Hot dogs sizzled on the grill as DOC members grabbed a bite to eat and discussed an upcoming contract vote and the need to stay strong given a recent Supreme Court ruling that threatens our union.
The BBQ was organized by Cheryl Miller, a shop steward at the Airway Heights Corrections Center in Spokane. Cheryl is a participant in our Teamsters Leadership Academy and drew inspiration to hold the event from the 9-month course.
“Putting on an event like this was strictly by a member for a member,” she said. “The only way that we can stay strong is to stick together and stand our ground otherwise we’re going to end up working for a lot less wages than we’re getting now.”
"The only way that we can stay strong is to stick together..."
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in Janus v AFSCME to create an “open shop” environment in the public sector, allowing members to abandon their unions. The danger of open shop is that wages, benefits, and working conditions can erode over time. Cheryl wanted to spread the word that the antidote to open shop is member unity and engagement.
Over the course of the day, hundreds of members stopped by to chat and grab a hot dog. Many expressed their appreciation and said they would make sure to vote on their contract.
An event of this scale cannot be put on without help. Cheryl recruited her husband, Mark, a retired Teamster food service manager and fellow member Rob Rinard to pass out materials and work the grill. Teamster staff were on hand, including Michelle Woodrow, our union’s President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement, to talk about negotiations and answer questions.
“What an excellent way to build union solidarity,” Woodrow said. “Thank you to Cheryl Miller for organizing this event and to all of our DOC members who work so hard to keep our communities safe. They deserve a contract that recognizes their sacrifice and honors their commitment to public safety.”
Our DOC negotiations team worked late into the night on Friday and early into Saturday morning after a long week in mediation with the State in an effort to resolve the elements of our 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement that we were unable to reach agreement on.
The team worked hard to craft an equitable economic proposal that values the critical public safety work you perform. Our proposal was based on well-researched comparables of corrections employees performing similar work in like jurisdictions.
In the end, the State was unwilling to come even remotely close to adequately recognizing your work. The State’s proposal as of Saturday morning is 2% in year one and 2% in year two of the contract. Their final offer ignores the dangers you face on the job and the essential role you play in keeping our communities safe.
As a result, our union’s negotiations committee is unanimously recommending that you vote to reject the State’s proposal.
Contract voting will be conducted in two ways: 1) by telephone or 2) through the internet. The telephonic and online internet polls open at 12:01 AM on Monday, August 6, 2018, and close at 11:59 PM on Sunday, August 19, 2018.
We will make available a summary document and a redline contract proposal document as well as complete voting instructions by the end of this week. You will be notified by email when the documents are available for your review on our union’s website.
We will be holding in-person meetings to review the State’s proposal and to answer your questions starting on Monday, August 6. You can view the complete schedule of contract update meetings at all locations here.
Assuming a majority of the voting DOC membership casts a no vote, we will exercise the interest arbitration rights in our contract and go to hearing with the State. At the hearing, we will present the following mandatory subjects of bargaining before a neutral arbitrator who will make an impartial ruling:
- A general wage increase for all DOC Teamsters based on comparable data
- Elements of Article 16 of our contract (Hours of Work)
The interest arbitration hearing will be held at the end of August with Arbitrator Joseph Duffy presiding. Our union’s legal counsel is busy preparing our case and will likely call on a number of DOC members to testify.
Again, our negotiations committee is unanimously recommending that you vote NO on the State’s proposal. Our unity in rejecting the State’s substandard proposal will give us the strongest possible position as we head into interest arbitration. Please be sure to vote and make your voice heard!
In closing, our deep gratitude goes out to our incredible negotiations team for their dedication, commitment, perseverance, and strength. Our team worked tirelessly to achieve the best possible contract for all Teamsters at the DOC. Be sure to thank them for their service.
You can view a short video update from negotiations here.
Our DOC negotiations team worked late into the night on Friday and early into Saturday morning after a long week in mediation in an effort to reach an agreement with the State over our 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement.
Unfortunately, the State was unwilling to put forth an economic proposal that adequately recognizes the critical public safety work you perform. Our negotiations team is unanimously recommending that you vote to reject the State's proposal. We will be providing a more complete update from negotiations and information about the upcoming contract vote process early next week.
Watch the video update below from Michelle Woodrow, your union's President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement:
Members on our Statewide Political Advisory Committee interview Dave Upthegrove last year.
If you have not voted yet in the primary election – which is Tuesday, August 7 – please do so! There are some really important races on the ballot in 2018 and we’re all Teamsters – which means we vote!
Our union's endorsements are made through recommendations by members on our Political Advisory Committee. So far in 2018, the committee has met with nearly 50 candidates and made endorsements for legislative office for positions which will appear on your primary election ballot this year.
All of our endorsements for 2018 are now live on our website. Please feel free to refer to the website as a source of information as you vote.
A couple of really important notes about new changes to our state laws regarding voting and registration:
- All ballots are now POSTAGE PAID meaning you no longer need a stamp to mail back your ballot, thanks to changes made by our legislature in 2018.
- In-person voter registration is still available at your county auditor up until July 30. Because of a new law the legislature passed this year, all voters will be able to register the SAME DAY as an election, beginning in 2019.
- Also new in 2019 – 16- and 17-year olds will be able to register in advance so they automatically become a voter when they turn 18.
If you have any questions about our process for endorsing candidates or the primary election in general, you can give me (your union's Political Director Dustin Lambro) a call at 206-441-4860 x1262.
Thanks and happy voting!
In August, we will be holding contract vote meetings for all DOC Teamsters to vote on your 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement.
It's important that your voice is heard! Please attend one of the listed meetings at your facility and cast your vote. Thank you!
You can view days, times, and facilities below. Click on the link to your facility to RSVP.
|Monday||8/6/2018||0630, 0900, 1130, 1430, 1630||MCC|
|Tuesday||8/7/2018||0500, 0630, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1630||CCCC|
|Tuesday||8/7/2018||1100, 1230, 1420, 1630, 2100, 2200||WCC|
|Wednesday||8/8/2018||0530, 0625, 0800, 1130, 1415, 1530||AHCC|
|Thursday||8/9/2018||0500, 0630, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1630||SCCC|
|Friday||8/10/2018||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100||
|Monday||8/13/2018||0700, 0800, 1400||CIHQ|
|Monday||8/13/2018||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100||OCC|
|Monday||8/13/2018||0500, 0800, 1130, 1300,1415, 1530, 1630||WSP|
|Tuesday||8/14/2018||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100||CBCC|
|Tuesday||8/14/2018||1100, 1200||Central Pharmacy|
|Wednesday||8/15/2018||0600, 0800, 1130, 1300, 1415, 1530, 1630, 1800||CRCC|
|Thursday||8/16/2018||1100, 1200||DOC HQ|
|Thursday||8/16/2018||0500, 0630, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1630||LCC|
|Friday||8/17/2018||0620, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1530||WCCW|
Earlier this month, our union negotiations committee passed a thoughtful economic proposal to the State as we continue the process of bargaining over your 2019-2021 contract.
Our proposal was backed by comparable data from other jurisdictions and took into account the unique and critical nature of your work and the important public service you provide in keeping our communities safe. It took into consideration the recruitment and retention problems at the Department and contemplated the amount of overtime that is frequently required and is extreme by any measure.
"I am not willing to back down. Our people need to survive, and I’ll fight for them."
In last week’s negotiations, the State came back with a response that was extremely disrespectful. Kathe Jackson, a nurse at the Washington State Penitentiary and a member of our union committee expressed her frustration. “We work every day. We place ourselves at risk of injury and death just to feed our families. For the State not to acknowledge that is offensive.”
When asked questions about how they put their proposal together, the State’s response was: “This is what we can afford.” They did not give any consideration into the dangerous work you perform or the critical services you provide. The State did not acknowledge how employees at Washington’s correctional facilities are underpaid as compared to other people doing the same type of work in similar jurisdictions.
To say that the bargaining committee was frustrated is a huge understatement. “I am not willing to back down,” said Jackson. “Our people need to survive, and I’ll fight for them.”
This week we are in mediation, and I hope to have a better report for you at the end of it. Please stay tuned and watch for the email updates. We promise to keep you apprised of what’s going on with your contract.
Thank you and as always, stay safe.
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement
Lead negotiator for DOC Collective Bargaining Agreement
Members of the bargaining committee in front of Teamsters Tukwila Hall.
Teamster members of Local 117 will not be disrespected. It was just the second day of bargaining with Sysco when the company proposed eliminating restrictions on the amount of overtime they can force our members to work and restricting access to vacation time during the summer months.
"We are not prepared to make any concessions. Better wages, healthcare and pension are on the agenda."
“Drivers are already driving 12 to 14 hours a day and barely see their families,” said Roland Griffin, Sysco Warehouse worker of 25 years. His co-worker and fellow shop steward Erick Engel added: “These proposals strip even more time away from our families and negatively affect our overall quality of life”
Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy is leading these negotiations. “Our members have provided us clear direction. They deserve a fair contract, and I am committed to them getting one,” he said.
Sysco is the world's largest broadline food distributor. The hard labor of its workers has grown its profits beyond expectation for three quarters in a row. Despite that, the company is looking to make the working conditions even more difficult for workers.
“Sysco it trying to play hardball with the bargaining team, but we are not prepared to make any concessions. Better wages, healthcare and pension are on the agenda,” concluded Engel.
Last week in total comp negotiations, our King County Coalition team reviewed the counterproposal by the County as we continue to negotiate over wage increases for 2019 and 2020, enhancements to your health and welfare while maintaining zero costs to the members, and other improvements in your contract.
With the passage of the new WA State Sick Leave and Paid Family Leave laws in the legislature, there was a discussion on definitions and provisions related to paid leave. There was also progress made on the short and long-term disability provisions of your contract.
In regards to early retirement, the Coalition is pushing to bring back the retiree medical program which was previously phased out with the advent of the Affordable Care Act. Another aspect of the talks included encouraging green travel for King County employees and potential help with childcare.
“We’re getting closer and it’s a cause for hope,” said Vicky Moore, a shop steward and a member of the bargaining committee. Listen to her give an update of this bargaining session.
The Coalition team will be meeting on July 26 to work on a counterproposal to the County.
For any questions, please talk to a bargaining committee member or your union representative.
The General Teamsters Retirees Club is holding its 2018 Annual Golf Tournament and GTRC Scholarship Fund Raiser on Saturday, August 11, 2018 at Foster Golf Links. It will include raffle prizes and "Poison Ball" challenge. Please register by August 6 for a day of fun and golf. Click here for more information and an application.
Last week the Port of Seattle Commission voted to approve an agreement to officially end taxi contractor Eastside for Hire’s “Pay-to-Work” fleet reduction plan, and provide stability for the remainder of Eastside’s contract with the Port.
Union taxi and flat-rate drivers celebrated the victory and vowed to continue to take action through their union to have a voice at work.
Back in April, taxi contractor Eastside for Hire announced the “Pay-to-Work” scheme by giving drivers just 5 days to make a choice – either agree to pay $9,000, or lose your job at the airport.
"What kept me going is the belief in fighting for our rights in this country."
Facing this impossible choice, over 200 drivers joined in a job action protesting the “Pay-to-Work” scheme. Taking action was a risk since some drivers had already been suspended by the company following a protest of exorbitant fees and unsanitary working conditions the previous year.
One of them was Worku Belayneh. “What kept me going is the belief in fighting for our rights in this country,” he said.
Before taking action, drivers made a commitment to each other that they refused to be divided. Instead this religiously and culturally diverse community stood united in their union, and packed Port Commission meetings time and time again to share their stories.
Throughout the campaign, drivers’ solidarity and commitment to each other was put to the test. Following one Port Commission meeting at which drivers testified, Eastside for Hire announced 30 day termination notices for 29 vehicles and their drivers.
"We could never have achieved this without the union."
But, drivers did not back down. They rallied behind “The Sea-Tac 29” and raised their voices louder.
In the end, drivers’ strength and unity raised their plight to the top of the list on a busy Commission agenda even in a time of rapid airport expansion. The Port Commissioners understood that they had to act on this pressing issue.
Under the agreement approved last week,
- Eastside for Hire is prohibited from increasing driver fees for the remainder of their contract with the Port. In fact, driver fees will decrease by $95 per week in June of 2019.
- Eastside for Hire cannot terminate any driver for prior actions they took protesting the “Pay-to-Work” fleet reduction plan.
- The Port retains the sole discretion to determine the number of vehicles in the fleet, and will not reduce the fleet size for the remainder of the Eastside contract except in cases of either 1) voluntary departures, or 2) future terminations “for cause.”
- Eastside for Hire’s contract will end on September 30, 2019.
“We could never have achieved this victory without the union,” concludes Worku Belayneh. “Now I can focus on doing my job and raising my three children.”
Today drivers are looking forward to a better future and plan to maintain their unity to make sure they continue to have a voice at the airport.
Last week DOC negotiations shifted to economics as your Union presented its initial economic proposal. In making this proposal, your bargaining committee demanded that the State recognize the incredible service that correctional employees provide to protect the public.
The proposal included salary increases for all classifications, improvement to shift differential, expansion of the Specialty Team Premium to include Honor Guard, Assignment Pay for Shift Commanders at stand-alone minimums and members working in Specialized Units, as well as cost-of-living increases for both years of the contract. We expect the State to respond when we meet this week.
In terms of our other proposals, Sally Thiessen, a Shop Steward at SCCC and a member of the bargaining team, summed it up best. “We’re waiting on just about everything we have submitted to them,” she said.
"Our leaders are constantly fighting for us."
“We are aggressively moving forward with the State, not allowing them to make the changes that can hinder our operation and negatively affect our livelihood and work-life balance. Our leaders are constantly fighting for us,” stated Doug Lambe, a Maintenance Mechanic and Shop Steward at WCCW who also sits at the negotiations table.
The bargaining committee’s frustration is mounting, as the State appears to be ill prepared every time we meet. Because of this, we expect to be in mediation the week of July 23 in hopes of reaching an agreement.
Our next negotiations session will be held on July 17 and July 18 at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila. If you have questions about bargaining, talk to your negotiations committee members or your Union Representative.
Thank you for your service, please stay safe.
Read how our DOC bargaining team is fighting to protect workers and moving forward with strength, unity and resolve in negotiations with the State.
We will not let the Janus decision divide us because only we decide how strong our union will be. Read the summer Guardian here.
The Supreme Court ruling in Janus case may attempt to divide the working people, but the last word is with us. Read amazing stories of unity and power in face of this unjust attack in our summer edition of Teamster Talk. Read the summer edition here.
Michael Rodriguez, a utility worker at the City of Pacific, says being part of a union makes his work a lot less difficult. Despite it being a demanding, frequently hazardous occupation, his membership in Teamsters 117 alleviates the work stress that a majority of Americans deal with on daily basis.
When speaking of stress at work, managerial and executive occupations come to mind, yet one of the highest predictors of workplace stress is lack of control over working conditions coupled with high demand. Inability to have a say in work hours and conditions of employment have profound health consequences resulting in heart attack rates three times higher than a random sample. Furthermore, job insecurity increases poor health by an incredible 50%, while long work hours contribute to increased mortality by almost 20%.
Americans today work longer hours, take less vacation and receive less pay for higher productivity which is coupled with towering rates of stress-related illnesses. In return for an opportunity to earn a living, we often relinquish our ability to have a say in conditions of employment and wages earned. It is the union that brings democracy back to the workplace and gives some of the control back to the workers. This power does not accrue overnight but is built upon years of collective bargaining and building of trust and solidarity among the workers.
For Rodriguez, building unity was worth it. “People frequently regard smaller cities as a stepping stone for other jobs with more pay and better opportunities,” he says. “But over the years we have negotiated strong contracts and workers stay.”
"We will not let anyone break what we have achieved here through years of solidarity."
His co-worker, Bill Brookhart, agrees. “As an individual alone you cannot stand up to the corporation. I have worked in non-unionized places, and there is no guarantee of or ability to negotiate job security, benefits, vacation or sick leave. I’m a diabetic and am insulin dependent. Having a good, union-negotiated health insurance makes a tremendous difference for me.”
Faced with the Supreme Court ruling on Janus, there was no hesitation among City of Pacific employees – every one of them chose to stand together as Teamsters. They have considered the effect that division could have on their contract negotiations and their power at work. The conclusion they came to was unanimous.
“You are either with us or you’re out,” said Rodriguez. “We will not let anyone break what we have achieved here through years of solidarity.”
Taylor comes from a Teamster tradition. Her grandfather was a Teamster, and her father got his first Teamsters job when she was three years old. Growing up, Taylor saw first hand the effect a union job had on the family which allowed her mother to spend more time with her and her four siblings.
Taylor is a familiar face at the Teamsters hall. She has been on administrative staff for almost two years and now is making the transition to represent a mix of private and public shops. Knowing the internal workings of the membership is a valuable resource to her, and she is excited to take on this new challenge.
As a Teamster, Taylor has given back to the community by volunteering at Tacoma Ethnic Fest, the Emergency Food Network and Paint Tacoma Beautiful. Later on, she helped organize the Teamsters Toy Drive and Family Volunteer Day. She co-chairs our strategic planning committee's political priority. To take a break from her dedicated union work, she takes long walks with her English Bulldog.
We are thrilled for Taylor growing her talents on our team and wish her the best of luck in her new role!