Essential Teamster road crew out of King County's Fall City depot is ready to hit the streets!

As the coronavirus crisis has touched all of our lives, our Union at King County has been working to adapt.

In April, Teamsters 117, as part of the King County Coalition of Unions, negotiated a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the County securing additional leave protections for union members, including emergency paid leave and paid administrative leave. The MOA also emphasizes increased access to telecommuting and PPE for those who are required to work on-site.

These protections were achieved outside of the framework of this year's contract negotiations, which were originally scheduled to begin in March but have been put on hold due to the pandemic.

To plan for what negotiations might look like this year, a group of Teamsters 117 Shop Stewards at King County, together with Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and Union Representatives Maria Williams and Cara Mattson, met via Zoom last week.

In that meeting, we had an excellent presentation from our International Teamsters Union on the financial state of King County. We also reviewed member contract surveys and established our priorities for negotiations. Our Shop Stewards are united around job preservation for Teamsters 117 members as the Union's number one priority. 

Shop Stewards have identified job preservation as the Union's number one priority.

In the coming weeks, the County will provide us with its own analysis of how the crisis has impacted its financial condition. At that point, we will work within the Union Coalition to decide the best path forward for negotiations. Given that so much has changed over the last few months, we are also working on a way to solicit additional member feedback to ensure that your voice is heard.

There are still many unanswered questions about what bargaining will look like this year. To prepare for all possible outcomes, we plan to continue meeting regularly with Shop Stewards. As soon as we have more information, we will let you know.

Finally, we want to pass along some good news about your union health care. The joint labor-management group (JLMIC) that oversees your benefits has continued to meet on a monthly basis. Maria Williams, our Teamsters 117 representative on the JLMIC, reports that all COVID-19 related expenses will be covered at 100% for Union members at King County, and there will continue to be no out-of-pocket expenses on your health care. 

Just a reminder that the pandemic does not impact previously negotiated agreements, so you will still be receiving your negotiated 1.5% general wage increase this July.

Thank you for your service during these unprecedented times. Your work is essential to the fabric of our community as we all struggle and strive to build a more healthy and just society that respects all people.