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Pierce County - Union News and Updates
Updated On: Mar 12, 2013

South Sound Newsletter (posted March 11, 2013)
The new issue of Teamsters South Sound, the newsletter for Local 117 members living in greater Pierce County is now available!  This issue contains articles about the Teamster pension, grievance wins at the City of Tacoma and the PAF, as well as a column from Secretary-Treasurer Thompson.

View a PDF of Teamsters South Sound here.  To request a print copy, talk to your Business Representative.

Joint Labor Reaches Tentative Agreement with the City of Tacoma (posted Nov. 14, 2012)
After four months of negotiations, we are pleased to announce that the Joint Labor Committee has reached a tentative agreement with the City of Tacoma on health insurance for 2013. This agreement ensures that the City of Tacoma will pay 100% of the premium increases for 2013. This one-year contract largely preserves the format and quality of the existing plans with a few modifications:

  • Group Health co-pays will increase for prescription medications to be similar to Regence co-pays.
  • There are a few enhancements, such as Costco being added to the VSP network and no deductible for Washington Dental.
  • The biggest change is the elimination of the City’s $30 monthly contribution into each employee’s Flexible Spending Account (FSA), effective January 1, 2013.Instead, there will be a one-time lump sum payment of $360 that will be taxable and paid in January 2013.
  • The City will do an RFP (Request For Proposals) to look for other companies to administer the self-insured plan starting in 2014.
  • The agreement promises to create a Joint Labor and Management health care committee.

We feel that this agreement offers stability and security to Union members in the City of Tacoma. You should expect a separate communication from your specific Union during the week of November 19th regarding information meetings and opportunities to vote on this agreement. Because of the timing of this tentative agreement, if this agreement is ratified by the unions, the City’s open enrollment is anticipated to be December 3, 2012 through December 14, 2012. This is a short window so please be prepared.

Tacoma Joint Labor Committee:

  • Alice Phillips, Chair, IBEW 483
  • Matt Frank, Vice-Chair, Tacoma Firefighters IAFF, Local 31
  • Terra Ament, Teamsters 313
  • Roberta Burnett, PTE Local 17
  • Dylan Carlson, AFSCME Local 120
  • Jeff Clark, Teamsters, Local 117
  • Bob Westbrook, Machinist 160

Teamsters Editorial in the Tacoma News Tribune (posted October 16, 2012)
Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer Tracey A. Thompson has published an editorial the Tacoma News Tribune denouncing  radical budget cut proposals by the City Manager that would eliminate over 200 jobs, including 65 Teamster jobs.  You can read the piece in its entirety below or on the TNT website.

Broadnax taking a short-sighted approach to solving Tacoma's fiscal crisis

By Tracey A. Thompson

In proposing massive cuts to critical public services and the elimination of 217 jobs over the next two years, Tacoma’s new City Manager T.C. Broadnax is taking the wrong approach to solving the City’s longstanding budget crisis.

Instead of seeking to develop more measured, long-term solutions that will help balance the budget, save jobs and maintain vital services, Broadnax wants to solve the City’s colossal structural problem overnight.

It is understandable that Broadnax might want to gain control of the situation. After all, City officials have known about the fiscal train wreck for years, yet they have been unwilling to make the hard choices that will put the City back on track.

The problem is that most of the City Manager’s proposals are far too radical and would have a devastating impact on the local economy and the City’s infrastructure.

The loss of over 200 local jobs would weaken a fragile economy struggling to recover. It would push more Pierce County families toward the brink of bankruptcy and foreclosure, and it would further drain city coffers by adversely impacting municipal revenue streams.

Perhaps the greatest impact on city residents would be felt in the loss of vital services.

The workers whose jobs are at risk make indispensible contributions to our communities. They help keep us safe and they improve our quality life by plowing our roads, maintaining our streets, and providing library programs for our children.

In a recent survey, Tacoma voters identified basic street maintenance as their top priority, yet proposed cuts would cripple the City’s ability to maintain Tacoma’s roads and keep roads safe during snow emergencies.

Cities without safe streets, decent libraries, and functioning public works departments are the ones that wind up on those notorious top ten lists of most unlivable in the country. That may well be where Tacoma is headed unless corrective action is taken now.

To find a viable solution to the problem, it is useful to understand the root cause of the crisis. The City’s budget mess has little to do with worker salaries and benefits, which are on par with those of other comparable municipal and private-sector employees across the country.

Instead, the City has a structural problem: Revenues have steadily decreased over time due to misguided ballot initiatives and inaction on the part of the Washington State Legislature. That trend needs to be reversed. Meanwhile, the demand for services has continued to increase.

In the last decade, Tacoma has taken great strides to improve the quality of life for its residents. It has developed a healthy Port, restored its historic waterfront district, and revitalized many city neighborhoods.

The question before the mayor, the council and indeed the voters is simple: Do we want to invest in our city, build a strong economy with good, middle-class jobs, safe neighborhoods, and vibrant civic and cultural institutions, or do we want to see more potholes and more crime as we let our city crumble and fall apart?

What kind of city do we want to become?

Teamsters South Sound Newsletter (posted October 16, 2012)
The new issue of Teamsters South Sound, the newsletter for Local 117 members working in the public sector in greater Pierce County is now available.

In this issue, we urge all Teamsters to contact mayor of Tacoma Marilyn Strickland and the city council immediately at 253-591-5100 and tell them not to balance the budget on the backs of working families!

View a PDF of Teamsters South Sound here.  For a print copy of the newsletter, talk to your Business Representative.

Community Input - Budget Meetings (posted June 25, 2012)
Please be advised that the Tacoma City Council has been invited to attend the following community input budget meetings.  View meeting times and dates here.

Teamsters South Sound Newsletter (posted February 14, 2012)
Check out the new issue of Teamsters South Sound - the newsletter for Local 117 members in greater Pierce County. This issue contains news and info. on:

  • Local 117's Lobby Day on February 1
  • Teamsters Pension for members at City of Kent
  • Your Union rights under “just cause”
  • Local 117’s new Solidarity Scholarship

View a PDF of the newsletter here.  For print copies, talk to your Business Representative.

Teamsters South Sound Newsletter (posted December 6, 2011)
The new issue of Teamsters South Sound, the newsletter for Local 117 members living in Pierce County, is now available!  This issue contains news about the recent Occupy Olympia rally, the impact of South Sound 911 on Local 117 members at LESA, and a profile of 30-year Teamster Layne Griffin, who works at the City of Tacoma.

Check out a PDF of Teamsters South Sound here.

Pierce County General Unit ratifies one-year contract extension (posted June 15, 2011)
Pierce County approached Teamsters Local 117 Business Representative, Jeff Clark, about the possibility of a one-year contract extension to the current agreement with the County.

A coalition consisting of Teamsters Local 117, PTE Local 17, Teamsters Local 313, IBEW 483, Council 2 – Local 120 and IAM 160 agreed to negotiate over an extension if the County was willing to increase its share of members’ medical premiums.

As a result, for the first time in three years, Pierce County has agreed to increase premium contributions. In 2012, the County will pay the first 10% of any medical premium increase and 100% of the dental and life insurance premium increases.

On June 14, the membership of Teamsters Local 117 (General Unit) in Pierce County ratified the extension agreement by a 6 to 1 ratio.

This agreement demonstrates how Unions can work together in tough economic times to protect the wages, benefits, job security and working conditions of its members.

Thanks to all of the members of Local 117 at Pierce County for your hard work and dedication to public service and your Union solidarity during these negotiations!

Pierce County General Unit - County offers one-year extension (posted May 2, 2011)
For the first time in three years, Pierce County has agreed to increase premium contributions. If the Extension Agreement is voted and ratified by the membership, the County for 2012 will pay the first 10% of any 2012 medical premium cost over last year and 100% of the dental and life insurance premium cost increase.

As many of you may know, the County approached the Union about a possibility of a one-year contract extension to the current Agreement. A Coalition made up of Teamsters Local 117, PTE Local 17, Teamsters Local 313, IBEW 483, Council 2 – Local 120 and IAM 160, agreed to negotiate if the County agreed to increase their premium share amount.

The Coalition met in advance and gave the County some parameters regarding the extension specifically ensuring that the health care premiums for 2012 were addressed. The Coalition worked together with the County on the details. The Memorandum of Understanding has now been finalized and is ready for members to review and vote.

Business Representative Jeff Clark will be holding meetings to field questions. Once those meetings are held, Clark will be sending ballots to each member's home address (If you have had a change of address, please contact the Union office immediately). Details on the vote will be coming soon.

Teamsters South Sound - New Issue (posted March 18, 2010)
Check out the new issue of Teamsters South Sound, a newsletter for Local 117 members who live in greater Pierce County. 

This issue contains articles about pro-labor Wisconsin solidarity rallies, a settlement agreement at the Assessor Treasurer's Office, and a new contract for members at the Tacoma Public Library. 

To view a PDF of this newsletter, click here. 

Seattle Times continues its anti-labor assault (posted March 18, 2011)
The Seattle Times is at it again with an editorial bashing public employees and demanding even futher concessions at the bargaining table for Union members who have already bargained and ratified contracts with 3% wage decreases!

Speak out now in defense of beleaguered public employees. Send the Seattle Times an email or weigh in on the message boards now! Your voice makes a difference!

Fight against public employees and the American middle class heats up (posted March 11, 2011)
All sides are weighing in on the ominous developments in Wisconsin and elsewhere as political renegades like Governor Scott Walker attempt to strip collective bargaining rights from working people.

To read about how you can show your solidarity with workers under assault, click here.

Union solidarity leads to no freeze on City of Tacoma step increases (February 16, 2011)
Thanks to the solidarity of the members of Teamsters Local 117 and the rest of Tacoma Joint Labor, the Tacoma City Council has recognized that a freeze in step increases for represented city workers is not going to work.

Therefore, the Tacoma City Council has restored the ability of all city workers to receive their step increases for 2011 & 2012, due to pressure from the Unions. Thanks for your support and solidarity in these negotiations. This shows the POWER OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING!

Pierce County ULP settlement in Washam case a win for South Sounders (Feb. 16, 2011)
For the latest update in the Washam ULP case, click here.

Teamsters South Sound Newsletter - New Issue (Nov. 22, 2010)
Check out the new issue of Teamsters South Sound, the newsletter for Local 117 members in Pierce County.

This issue features articles on a skimming arbitration win at the City of Tacoma, Teamsters installing Fantasy Lights displays in Spanaway, a bio of new South Sound Business Representative Evie Shannon, and a story about a member doing good works at the City of Pacific.

To read a PDF of Teamsters South Sound, click here.

Tacoma Class and Comp. Vote (October 25, 2010)
To view the information on the upcoming Tacoma Class and Comp. Letter of Agreement vote, click here.

Tacoma Class and Comp. Update (September 27, 2010)
To access a bargaining update for Tacoma Class and Comp, click here.

New Teamsters Local 117 Newsletter for South Sound (August 23, 2010)
We are pleased to announced the first issue of Teamsters South Sound, the new Teamsters Local 117 newsletter for Local 117 members in the South Sound region.  The first issue contains news and information on a Pierce County Workers' Memorial, organizing efforts, and contract news.

Moving forward if you have information that you would like to see included in this newsletter, or if you have ideas for articles, please contact Local 117 Communications Coordinator, Paul C. Zilly at 206-441-4860 ext. 1269.

To read the first issue of your new newsletter, click here.

Teamsters Health and Welfare/Northwest Administrator's website (January 2010) 
Use the Northwest Administrator’s site to check the status of your Teamsters Health and Welfare medical claims, check eligibility status for covered participants, order ID cards, update your participant information, view forms and documents, check messages and news regarding your health plan, and find links to other helpful sites.

To register for the Northwest Administrator’s website, click here.


  1. Once you arrive at the Northwest Administrator’s homepage, click on "New to NWA, Register Now!”
  2. Under "Select a Role,” click "Participant" and enter your personal information including an email address.  (The email address you enter will be your Login ID.)
  3. Click the "Next" button, enter your Member ID (which is your SSN without the dashes), your DOB, confirm your email address, and enter a password. (IMPORTANT: You must select a password containing at least one upper-case letter and at least on special character - those above the number keys.)
    Fill out the rest of the form and click the "Register" button.
  4. You should be directed to Northwest Administrator’s "Participant Home" page.

Remember to take good care of your password. Write it down along with the email address you chose to use.  If you have questions about the process, talk to your Business Representative.

Upgrade to Teamsters medical is a win for members, Pierce County (January 9, 2010)
To read more about the change at Pierce County to the Teamsters Health and Welfare plan, check out the article in the "What's New" section of your Local Union's homepage.

Pierce County changes to Teamsters Health and Welfare (December 18, 2009)
Teamster Local 117 members at Pierce County have elected by a vote of 131-yes to 28-no to change to the Teamsters Health and Welfare plan, which includes both medical and vision coverage. 
By a tally of 110-no to 46-yes, County members have voted to retain their current dental plan. 

The Union's goal is to start members' coverage under the new Teamster plan as of January 1, 2010 and we will be working with the County to keep that time frame.  Please confirm this start date by checking in at your Local Union's website at    

Pierce County Health Care Update (December 11, 2009)
As you may know, your Local Union is involved in extremely difficult negotiations with Pierce County regarding your health care benefits for 2010. Your employer has taken a position that could jeopardize your health benefits.

On December 10, a letter was sent from your Local Union to all Pierce County employee members.  Please read the letter carefully and complete the action items outlined in the letter.  To access the letter online, click here.

It is especially important that Union members at Pierce County complete the online payroll deduction authorization process by December 16th so that you do not risk losing medical coverage next year. 

In the next two weeks, your Local Union will be holding worksite membership meetings to discuss issues related to your health benefits and to vote on whether or not Pierce County members want to change from the Regence Medical Plan to the Teamsters Medical Plan. 

To access plan comparisons between the Regence Medical Plan and the Teamsters Plan, click here.  To access plan comparisons between the WDS and Willamette Dental plans, click here

Your participation in these meetings is important!  So far, the following meetings have been scheduled:

  • Medical Examiner's Office
    Wednesday, December 16 at 7am and 2 pm
  • Assessor-Treasurer's Office, Clerk's Office, Facilities Maintenance, Veteran's Bureau
    Annex Cafeteria
    Wednesday, December 16 at 4:30 pm
  • Parks and Recreation
    Spanaway Golf Course
    Thursday, December 17, 2009 at 3:30pm

If you have questions, please contact your Local Union Business Representative, and continue to monitor your Local Union's website for ongoing updates.  

New complaints against Washam (posted October 16, 2009)
An article in today's Tacoma News Tribune outlines new complaints against Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer, Dale Washam.

Editorial in today's Tacoma News Tribune about the Washam case (posted October 7, 2009)
The Tacoma News Tribune has published an editorial in today's paper on the Washam case.  To read the article in full, click here.

Union refiles unfair labor practice charges against Washam (posted October 2, 2009)
Your Local Union has refiled unfair labor practice charges against Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer, Dale Washam. 

The charges describes in detail Washam's violations of your collective bargaining agreement with the County, which include discrimination, failure to bargain changes to working conditions, etc. 

The Tacoma News Tribune has covered the story in two recent articles. Continue to montitor your Local Union's website for ongoing updates. 

Pierce County VEBA Update (posted August 24, 2009)
The ballots regarding the members desire to participate in the Pierce County VEBA Program have been tallied.

The results are as follows: 

The members of Teamsters Local No. 117 have elected to participate in the County’s VEBA Program which will become effective August 24, 2009.  The percentage of eligible sick leave cash out will be at 100%.

HRA VEBA Informational Meetings (posted July 15, 2009)
You are invited to attend an informational meeting to learn about the HRA VEBA Plan. The HRA VEBA Plan is a tax-free health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) available to public employees in the Northwest. The plan provides a tax-free source of funds that can help pay for post-employment healthcare.

While the HRA VEBA Plan can help meet these needs as well as provide tax-savings benefits, IRS rules require compliance with certain conditions:

1. Tax-free contributions to your HRA VEBA account can be withdrawn only for the payment of reimbursement of qualified healthcare expenses and insurance premiums for yourself, your spouse and your IRS qualified dependents: and

2. If adopted, all employee group members defined as eligible MUST participate. It is important that you attend one of the informational group meetings and make an informed decision whether or not to adopt the plan. The dates and times are as follows: (The County is allowing employees to attend on County time for a period of one (1) hour.)

July 28, 2009                                               
10 am – 11 am                                              
Hess Building                                               
901 Tacoma Ave S (Tacoma)                        
Classroom D                                                
Conference Room 1

July 28, 2009
2 pm – 3 pm
Soundview Medical Plaza
(Puget Sound Behavioral Health
3611 South D Street (Tacoma)
August 4, 2009                                             
11 am – Noon                                               
2401 S. 35th Street (Tacoma)                        
Conference Room A                                   

August 4, 2009
3 pm – 4 pm
Sprinker Recreation Center
14824 S. C Street (Tacoma)
Alder Room

Upon completion of the informational meetings, a vote will be held to determine if this
program will be set into place for individuals who will be retiring through December 31,
2010.  If passed, the program for Local 117 members will provide that, upon retirement
separation, a certain percentage of eligible sick leave cash out will be placed into the
HRA VEBA program.  The group members will be the ones to determine the percentage
amount.  The amount will be the same for ALL members.

The participation vote will occur every two years and, if adopted, all employees of the
bargaining unit that are defined as eligible must participate.

The local VEBA Service Group, LLC representative, Brian Riehs will give a short
presentation and provide answers to all of your questions.

You can visit their website at or contact Brian Riehs at (253) 826-
1925 – for more information.

Legislation Protects County Employees' Retirement (updated 7/2/09)
With all of the bad news coming out of Olympia these days, it’s nice to be able to report on legislation that actually protects, rather than strips away, the benefits of working families.

In one of the most difficult legislative environments for labor groups in decades, your Local Union succeeded in helping to pass a bill that protects public sector pension calculations for employees covered under the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) in the event of reduced workloads for the 2009-2011 biennium.

The legislation directs the Department of Retirement Systems to include in a member’s salary for the purpose of calculating final average compensation any compensation that is forgone by the member during the 2009-2011 fiscal biennium as a result of reduced work hours, voluntary leave without pay, or temporary furloughs, provided that the reduced compensation is part of the employer’s efforts to reduce expenditures.

Given this legislation, County employees under PERS who plan to retire after the effective date of the Bill (July 26, 2009) will not need to utilize vacation or other paid leave on furlough days that are scheduled to occur between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2011 to avoid a reduction in their retirement benefit. This applies beginning with the furlough day scheduled for July 1, 2009. Given this new legislation, employees who have elected to used paid leave time on this date may wish to reverse this election. This can be done by requesting that the County treat it as unpaid furlough leave.

To view a summary of the legislation, click here. To view the final bill as passed by the Washington State legislature, click here.

Pierce County General Unit (posted 4/16/09) - Teamster Local No. 117’s contract is scheduled to go before the Pierce County Rules Committee on Monday, April 20th with the expected final action to be taken by the Council on May 5th, 2009.

May 28, 2013

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