Teamster Talk #11: Coke Teamsters take a stand!
Quote of the month: "Taking away my medical will have a devastating impact on me and my family." - Gerald Anderson, retired 30-year Coke employee



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

Brothers and Sisters:

Over the past nine months, we have battled the corporate greed of Waste Management and Coca-Cola Enterprises, highly profitable, multi-billion dollar companies that have tried to capitalize on a weak economy in order to squeeze unnecessary concessions from workers. Our battles against corporate greed have been well-received by our communities. Our friends and neighbors understand that it is wrong for Coca-Cola to increase its already large profits at the expense of the health and welfare of its workers and retirees.

It has been surprisingly more difficult to cultivate an understanding among our members and in our communities of the value of public employees and how wrong it is for the government and citizens to blame public employees for budget deficits.

More than half of Teamsters 117 members work for public employers: the Washington State Department of Corrections, the Port of Seattle, King County, Pierce County, the cities of Seattle, Tacoma, Pacific, Auburn, Steilacoom, Fife, Kent, Lake Forest Park, Lakewood, and so many more. Our members in public employment are truly public servants. Public employees care about protecting their communities, providing services to their communities, and enhancing their communities. Most public employees have the education, qualifications and ability to make significantly more money in private sector employment. They have chosen to work for the public.

I am sickened by every newspaper editorial – and there have been so many - that characterizes public employees as lazy or overpaid or selfish. I know how wrong they are. Public employees have suffered significant loss of pay through unpaid furloughs, reduction in workweeks, and increases in healthcare costs.

I fear that we have become that old Pogo cartoon: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” We don’t want to pay more in taxes or fees to continue the public services we have always had. We want someone else to pay for it, and when government has no money, the only other ones to bear the burden are government workers.

It is not fair or just for us to ask public employees to give more than anyone else. If we are going to expect and enjoy public services, we must be willing to pay for them.
It is time for all of us to stand up in support of our public employee members. They have sacrificed so much in order to serve us, our families and our communities.

There will be many calls to action in support of our public employee members over the next several months. Please respond to these calls for action and come out in solidarity and support for your Teamsters 117 brothers and sisters.

In Solidarity,

Tracey A. Thompson

Teamsters at Coke unite with community in powerful strike!
In an amazing display of courage, solidarity, and strength, 500 Coke employees from 6 Teamsters Locals across Western Washington held a week-long strike starting on August 23 in response to the Company’s surveillance and intimidation of its employees and its refusal to bargain a contract in good faith.

The strike was a rallying cry for Union members and a wake-up call for Coke.  With their actions, striking workers sent a powerful message to their employer that they will not tolerate the Company’s refusal to bargain in good faith over critical issues, such as maintaining reasonable health care coverage for Coke employees and retirees.

“Our actions have demonstrated to Coke the value of our professionalism and our labor and that we expect the company to take the collective bargaining process seriously,” said Blaine Parks, a 32-year driver for Coke’s production and distribution facility in Bellevue. Read more.

Thompson editorial defends Correctional Employees
On September 15, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer Tracey A. Thompson published the following editorial in the Tri-City Herald that defends correctional employees and strongly criticizes the Governor's proposal to increase the cost of health insurance for State employees by 117%: 

Correctional employees deserve affordable insurance
By Tracey A. Thompson

In its Sept. 8 editorial, the Tri-City Herald editorial board insists that state employees, including employees at the Department of Corrections, have not paid their fair share and should agree to the governor's recent proposal for massive increases on the workers' share of health care premiums.

This position is an injustice to correctional employees and their families, who have made significant economic sacrifices during this recession. It is an injustice to the brave correctional employees who perform an essential and extraordinarily difficult, yet often overlooked, job to ensure the safety of our communities. Read more.

Diamond Parking nets trophy in Local 117 soccer tourney
Six soccer teams from across your Union faced off on Saturday in the first-ever Teamsters Local 117 Soccer Tournament. The event was held from 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm at Valley Ridge Park in Seatac.

The tournament, organized by Local 117’s Latino Caucus, featured teams from the rental car, parking, and steel industries. Local 117 staff also fielded a team.

“This was a great way to build Union camaraderie and solidarity,” said Chrisptoffer Berrocal, a Local 117 member at Seattle Iron and Metals, who helped organize the tournament.   “We hope that this can become an annual event.” Read more.

Meet your new Local 117 Executive Board!
Teamsters Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, Tracey A. Thompson, and the other 6 members of the Local 117 Executive Board will continue to lead your Union for the next three years.

At the Union's general membership meeting on Thursday, September 16, Thompson and the other members of the new Executive Board, were nominated by the membership to serve your Union.  Read more.

October 2010

Mark your calendars!
Nov. 2 - Election Day
Nov. 20 - Blood Drive
Dec. 9 - Correctional Employees Day of Action

Election Day - Nov. 2
Please exercise your right to vote on election day. To see a list of endorsements, click here.

Blood Drive - Nov. 20
For over 20 years, members of Local 117 have been donating blood to area blood banks. Don't miss this opportunity to help save lives!

For more information, call 206-441-4860.

Day of Action! - Dec. 9
Join hundreds of Correctional Employees and their families for a Day of Action in Olympia.

It's time to flex our political muscle and send a powerful message to the leadership in Olympia that we demand: Fairness on health care, a safe working environment, no facility closures, and a fair contract for ALL Correctional Employees.

For more information, contact Pedro Olguin at 206-441-4860 ext. 1257.




* Teamster Talk: News from Teamsters Local 117 *

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