Teamster Talk #10: Local 117 legal team fights back
Quote of the month: "These guys fought for me like no one has ever fought before." - Jerome Foster, Seattle Housing Authority



A message from your Secretary-Treasurer, Tracey A. Thompson

Brothers and Sisters:

We’ve all heard someone ask the question, “Why do I need a Union?” You only have to read the current issue of Teamster Talk to find the answer. With a Union, workers have a seat at the table and the right to negotiate their wages, benefits and working conditions. With a Union, workers have a contract that binds the employer and guarantees workplace rights. That Union contract provides a procedure for fighting the employer when it violates the contract.

Without a Union contract, Jerome Foster would have been an “at will” employee, which means his employer could fire him for any reason. Jerome would have had to pay out of his pocket if he wanted an attorney to fight for his job. The Union contract gave Jerome “just cause” protection. Jerome received zealous representation from a dedicated business representative and a Local 117 Staff Attorney, paid for by Union dues. As provided in his Union contract, a neutral arbitrator heard the dispute and issued a decision giving Jerome his job back with back pay, which was final and binding on the employer.

Similarly, without a Union contract that establishes seniority rights, the State would have the right to assign overtime to whomever it chose. Senior employees who were denied overtime would have no recourse. Because of the seniority rights set forth in his Union contract, senior Correctional Sergeant at Clallam Bay Corrections Center, Danny Ahrens, was awarded overtime compensation for the employer’s failure to follow the provisions of the contract.

The next time you hear someone say, “Why do I need a Union?”, tell them that without a Union their employer gets to make all the rules about wages, hours and working conditions. And, the employer would be able to change those rules whenever it wanted and without regard to the desires or interests of the employees. Why would you want that?

In Solidarity,

Tracey A. Thompson

CBCC members score victory in overtime arbitration case
With a slew of arbitration wins in the last few months, your Local Union’s legal team is on a roll. Since May, attorneys at Local 117 have put a halt to skimming at the Tacoma Dome and restored two employees back to work in wrongful termination cases.

At the Department of Corrections, members at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center (CBCC) celebrated a legal victory when an arbitrator ruled that the employer had violated the overtime provision of their collective bargaining agreement. Read more.

Teamsters at Coke vote to authorize a strike
If Coke doesn’t get real about health care, the Teamsters are ready to put up a fight. That was the message that came out of the bargaining update meeting for Union members at Coke on Sunday, June 13.

Teamsters from six Locals across our region, some driving several hours to attend the meeting, packed the Teamsters building in Tukwila as their bargaining committee reported on the Company’s stubborn unwillingness to maintain decent health care coverage for Coke employees, their families, and Coke retirees. Read more.

Arbitration win puts SHA employee back on his feet
Life has been a roller-coaster ride for Jerome Foster. One day he’s celebrated as a hero for rescuing an elderly lady from her burning apartment building; the next day he gets unjustly terminated from his job at the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), evicted from his apartment, and forced to live on the streets.

Good thing Foster has a union contract backing him up, and competent Union representatives who care, or maybe Foster, a single dad, would still be living out of his car. Read more.

DOC News: Local 117 files grievance and ULP over furloughs, seeks injunctive relief
Your Local Union has been taking all available legal action to challenge DOC on furloughs. 

Teamsters Local 117 filed a grievance, alleging that DOC violated numerous sections of your collective bargaining agreement by implementing furloughs. DOC has agreed to process the grievance on an expedited basis. Your Union also filed an Unfair Labor Practice Charge (ULP) with the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) on the issue. Read more.

July/August 2010

Mark your calendars!
July 24 - Ethnic Fest
Aug. 1 - Solidarity Day
Aug. 6/7 - Paint Tacoma Beautiful

Ethnic Fest
Come celebrate Tacoma's diverse cultural heritage with Teamsters Local 117 on Aug. 24. We will be enjoying the festivities and handing out information at the Teamsters table.

Solidarity Day
At the annual Tacoma Rainiers baseball game on Aug. 1, we'll be handing out literature to a labor-friendly crowd. For free tickets to the game, talk to your Business Representative.

Paint Tacoma Beautiful
Join a crew of Teamsters Local 117 volunteers as we paint the home of a low-income senior in Pierce County. The crew gets started on Aug. 6-7. For more information, contact Brenda Wiest at 206-441-4860 ext. 1256.




* Teamster Talk: News from Teamsters Local 117 *

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14675 Interurban Ave. S., Suite 307, Tukwila, WA 98168

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