Workers at the Seattle Humane Society are demanding better conditions for themselves and the animals they love.
Workers who care for the animals at the Seattle Humane Society are fighting to win a voice with Teamsters 117.
The group of Animal Care Associates and Assistants has been organizing over the last several weeks to improve conditions in the workplace, both for themselves and for the animals they love. On February 8, they took a courageous step toward becoming Teamsters when they filed for their Union election with the National Labor Relations Board.
Unfortunately, instead of recognizing the workers' Union and acknowledging the concerns of the group, the employer has responded with an aggressive anti-union campaign. Seattle Humane Society has been conducting monthly captive audience meetings, has contested the bargaining unit, and is creating barriers for workers to provide subpoenas for a pre-election hearing held this week.
Undeterred, the workers showed up in force to the hearing, ready to raise their voices for a workplace that is just and humane, not just in name but in practice.
"This is about giving the animals a voice and being able to stand up for them," said Drew McKeen, a Seattle Humane employee of 3.5 years. "As caretakers, we see a lot of deterioration of the animals. We're trained to alleviate that stress, but when the working conditions don't allow us to do that, it's a reflection, not of us, but of who we're working for."
Marina Cruz, a five-year employee, changed careers because she is so passionate about the work. "I fell in love with what we do as Animal Care Associates. It took me from the job I was at for 20 years because it brought me so much joy. But when we are short-staffed, that gets pushed aside and causes a high amount of stress for the animals."
Both workers say a voice with the Teamsters will help them improve conditions for themselves and the animals.
Marina Cruz (l) and Drew McKeen (r) want a strong voice for themselves and for the animals they love.
John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117, said Local 117 is proud to stand alongside these warriors for justice during their journey toward becoming Union.
"We are thrilled to support workers at the Seattle Humane Society who are fighting to win their Union. These workers are deeply invested in their jobs and the animals they care for. We are determined to help make their work more sustainable so it can become, not just another job, but a career that they love."
As the workers say, "Humane is a Union!"
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