When we fight, we win!

Private Sector


Teamsters applaud committee vote to approve pension reform bill

Good news came in yesterday from our International Union on the issue of pension reform:

Critical Legislation Now Moves to House for Vote

The Teamsters Union applauds the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means for today’s vote to approve H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, more commonly referred to as The Butch Lewis Act.

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, offered by Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), was first introduced in Congress in November 2017 by Rep. Neal. The measure has 193 co-sponsors, including nine Republicans. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has again joined Rep. Neal in introducing the bill in the 116th Congress.

“I’d like to thank Chairman Neal, Rep. Peter King and every member of the House Ways & Means Committee that voted to advance H.R. 397 to the House for a vote,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa.  “We cannot delay any longer – this legislation must be passed in Congress so that millions of American workers retain their hard-earned retirement security.”

There are more than 300 multiemployer pension plans across the country — including the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund — that are in danger of failing. The Teamsters have been fighting for years for a legislative solution and have worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to do so.

The measure would boost financially troubled multiemployer pensions plans so they don’t fail. It would create a new agency under the U.S. Treasury Department that would sell bonds in the open market to large investors such as financial firms. Those proceeds would then be used to bolster faltering pension plans as part of a 30-year loan program.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

 


Members seize on lost-time opportunity to develop leadership skills

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Teamsters Mari Jane Friel (l) and Anthony McKinney (r) take their talents out to the broader membership. 


Mari Jane Friel and Anthony McKinney are a couple of stand-out union activists. Both have excelled at building a strong union in their respective workplaces.

Mari Jane is a roads utility worker at King County. She ramped up her union involvement when the Janus court case loomed with its threat of open shop. Anthony comes out of the grocery industry, where he and a fellow shop steward orchestrated a powerful workplace action to stop their employer from skimming their work.

Both Anthony and Mari Jane recently had a chance to come on board at Local 117 as lost-timers. Our union negotiated a leave of absence with their employers and picked up their wages and benefits while they were away from their jobs.


Teamsters Women of Color Stand for their Rights and Reverse Unjust Termination at Fleetlogix

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Nurto Abdi directing traffic at the rental car parking building of Sea-Tac Airport.


At Sea-Tac Airport, Fleetlogix unjustly terminated Nurto Abdi, and it was subsequently overturned during the grievance process. The day the disputed incident took place, Abdi was driving the rental car a customer had just dropped off. She stopped at the gate and the light flashed green, swinging the gate arm open. Abdi drove forward but immediately felt a jolt. When she got out, she saw that the lower part of the gate had malfunctioned and hit the car.

 

Abdi’s employer, Fleetlogix, didn’t hear her out and quickly fired her. English not being her first language, she wrote a statement in her native language and with the help of her co-worker Burhan Farah, a union leader at her workplace and her union representative Takele Gobena filed a grievance. Soon after she had to leave the country responding to a family emergency.

 

Meanwhile, the company pushed to process the grievance in her absence without giving her the chance to be heard. Fleetlogix has already been sanctioned by the NLRB in the past for intimidating workers who were wearing buttons supporting their union. Working together, union leader Farah and union representative Gobena did not let the employer proceed without Abdi’s presence.

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Abdi worked at Sea-Tac Airport for nearly 15 years.


When she was back in the United States, the Board of Adjustment meeting lasted four long hours. Abdi and Farah had to face Fleetlogix VP, CEO and CFO who specifically flew in to challenge Abdi’s rights. Still, this list of company executives did not help their case -- Abdi got her job back and her seniority was restored.

 

“I felt appreciated in so many ways,” reflected Farah. “As immigrants and women of color, we are vulnerable in this and most jobs we might take. It is being part of the union that protects us. It was empowering for our entire team to see someone like us standing up to men in power. The company needs us, and we need a union. It was a battle, but in the end the victory was sweet.”

 

“This is not just my victory, but also one for all the people who work at Fleetlogix,” Abdi concluded. “I am grateful for the energy and time my union representative and my coworker put in to work on my case.”


Teamsters at ICS win strong contract after long struggle

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ICS Teamsters showed unwavering unity and resolve in their fight for a fair contract.


After months of struggle, Teamsters who work at Industrial Container Services (ICS) have achieved a monumental win. Yesterday the group voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year contract.

The contract contains a 5.2% wage increase in the first year for the majority of the group, paid union orientation for new hires, and healthcare protections for the workers' families, among other improvements.

"We're happy with our new contract," said Abel Garibay Flores. "All of us struggled together for better pay and benefits and it made a difference." 

Getting to this point took tremendous courage. With ICS intent on exacting bitter takeaways in bargaining, the group of mostly immigrant workers voted unanimously to authorize a strike and engaged in multiple solidarity actions, including a “just practicing” picket in front of the facility on February 20.

The workers also benefited from an outpouring of community support. Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez marched with a member delegation to deliver a letter to company management demanding fair treatment.

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Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez standing together with Teamsters at ICS at a solidarity action on March 7.



Seattle drivers caravan for higher pay, better conditions at Uber and Lyft

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Uber and Lyft drivers speak out for fair pay and a voice before their caravan embarks for City Hall.


Ride hail drivers took their vehicles on a slow procession through Seattle neighborhoods today to call for better working conditions at Uber and Lyft. Drivers ended their caravan at Seattle City Hall where they delivered their demands to City officials for fair pay, a due process to appeal deactivations, and a voice.

SEE PHOTOS FROM DRIVER CARAVAN

“We are tired of seeing Uber and Lyft siphon off bigger and bigger percentages of what riders pay,” said Fasil Teka, an Uber driver of 7 years. “It’s time for the City to ensure that drivers have the same rights as all workers in Seattle.”  

"It’s time for the City to ensure that drivers have the same rights as all workers in Seattle."

Embarking from the Masjid al-Taqwa mosque in Seattle’s Central District, drivers honked their horns and displayed signs on their vehicles that read, “Share the fare!” and “Uber and Lyft: Listen to your drivers!” The caravan wove through the heart of the city, from the Central District to Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle, neighborhoods with some of the greatest concentrations of ride hail customers. 

“We are asking our customers to stand with us in our effort to win fair pay and a voice,” said Lyft driver, Mohamed Sharif. “When drivers are paid a living wage and can stand together to improve driver and passenger safety, our local economy and the entire community benefits.”


ABDA report exposes high take rates at Uber & Lyft

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On the brink of Uber's Wall Street debut, drivers in Seattle joined protests across the country demanding that Uber & Lyft pay drivers a living wage.


Ride-hail companies Uber and Lyft are pocketing an increasing share from what passengers pay while drivers are earning less, according to a new report released today by the App-Based Drivers Association

The study – based on analysis of company financial reports, combined with never before released trip-level data collected by local drivers in Seattle – was released at a Driver Speak Out event attended by drivers at the Sea-Tac Airport waiting lot. 

SEE PHOTOS FROM THE DRIVER SPEAK OUT EVENT HERE

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“As drivers, we make sure our customers get to their destination safely, and we bear all the costs of car, gas, maintenance, repairs – everything,” said Don Creery, who has been driving for Uber for 5 years. “But over the years Uber has been taking more and more from what passengers pay, and now they’re telling investors they plan to reduce driver pay even further to satisfy shareholders.  It’s just not right.”

The Speak Out event was one of more than a dozen driver-led actions in major metropolitan areas happening just ahead of Uber’s highly anticipated debut on Wall Street, which is expected to draw a valuation that could top $100 billion. But, while Uber’s IPO may be poised to mint a new generation of overnight tech millionaires, the data shows that drivers are being paid a declining share of what customers are charged. 

When Uber and Lyft first came to Seattle, drivers were paid 80 percent of what riders were charged. Today, on the median trip in Seattle, drivers received just 69 percent, according to the ABDA report. And the more riders pay, the less drivers receive. 

On a majority of trips analyzed, riders paid higher prices than advertised non-surge UberX rates. On these high-priced trips, drivers received just 62 percent of rider price – the company take was 38 percent. On some trips, driver pay fell to as little as 32 percent of what customers were charged. 

Uber and Lyft’s take rates are high relative to other online marketplace platforms. 

Paypal charges users 2.9% plus $0.30. Etsy charges merchants 5% plus a listing fee. Mercari charges sellers 10%. Ebay fees are between 2%-12% of sale price. AirBnB fees for hosts and guests combined range between 3%-23% of listing price.

“Consumers deserve price transparency to know that at least 80 percent of what they pay is shared with their driver, not kept by the company for overhead or profits,” said Peter Kuel of the App-Based Drivers Association, who has been an Uber and Lyft driver for 5 years. “Uber and Lyft should meet the same standards of every other business in town, ensuring that drivers can earn paid sick days and never receive less than a $15 minimum wage after expenses.”

See media coverage of the event:


ABDA Report: Uber/Lyft take more, pay drivers less

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Seattle Uber and Lyft drivers will hold a Driver Speak Out! event and press conference on Wednesday to highlight increasingly high company take rates, low driver pay, issues around deactivation and other driver concerns as Uber prepares to go public later this week.

At the event, members of the App-Based Drivers Association will discuss a new report that exposes how Uber and Lyft are pocketing an increasingly greater share of rider payment in the Seattle market while drivers are earning less.

The study, Uber/Lyft take more, pay drivers less, is based on analysis of company financial reports, combined with never before released trip-level data collected by local drivers in Seattle. 

The Driver Speak Out! will take place at the Sea-Tac Airport Ride Hail Lot (3037 160th St) on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 starting at 11 a.m.

The Seattle event will be held in conjunction with driver protests in other major metropolitan areas around the country in anticipation of Uber’s much-anticipated debut on Wall Street, which is expected to draw a valuation that could top $100 billion. Strikes and other actions are planned in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C.


Community pressure builds on ICS with OneAmerica delegation

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Teamsters at ICS have participated in multiple solidarity actions over the last few months to force the company to treat them fairly.


Community support has been overwhelming for Teamsters at Industrial Container Services (ICS) who are fighting for a fair contract.

Today Javier Cruz, a representative of OneAmerica, delivered a letter supporting the workers to company management. OneAmerica is the largest immigrant advocacy organization in Washington State.

The photo below shows Cruz flanked by ICS workers as he prepares to deliver the letter:

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The OneAmerica letter calls on ICS to restore the previous level of health benefits for ICS workers, cease any labor violations, and immediately resolve its differences with members of Teamsters 117.

"We're supporting workers here because they are immigrants and deserve good wages and the right to negotiate with the company," Cruz said.

Since February, Teamsters at ICS have raised informational pickets, and they have marched on company management on two other occasions with strong community support.   

"We want better benefits, affordable health insurance for our families, and decent wages so we can survive and pay the rent," said Pedro Ruelas, a four-year employee at the company.

"These workers have shown time and time again that they will fight to protect their livelihoods, but their patience is wearing thin," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "Now it's up to ICS to show them the respect they deserve or suffer the consequences of a drawn-out labor dispute."

Our union's bargaining committee will be back in mediation with ICS on May 23 and 24. 

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As strike looms at Veritiv, members gear up for a fight

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Teamsters Rod Boettger (r) and Todd Reis (l) meet with Union Representative Cara Mattson to discuss a looming labor dispute at Veritiv.


With a labor dispute looming at Veritiv, 38-year Teamster Roderick Boettger recalls a two-day strike at the company decades ago. 

It was a debacle not unlike the current one, with the company dragging its feet in negotiations and clinging to substandard proposals. “They weren’t giving us what we wanted, so we went on strike,” Boettger said. 

The strike was short-lived, but the impact on the company was profound. Boetteger remembers the chaos in the shop when his crew returned to work.

“The warehouse was really messed up,” he said. “Forklifts were stuck in the air and stuff was scattered all over the place. It was complete disorder.”

Evidently, the company has not learned its lesson. This time around, they've slow-walked negotiations for eight months and appear to be trying to provoke a strike yet again.

Todd Reis, a Shop Steward on our union’s negotiations committee, called out Veritiv for its hypocrisy. “They tell us how much they care, but then turn around and try to take everything away that we’ve worked hard to keep,” he said.

Reis, Boettger and their co-workers are fed up. The group of warehouse workers and drivers represented by Teamsters 117 and 174 respectively voted unanimously to authorize a strike back in December. 

Earlier this month, our two Locals issued a 10-day notice that we would be terminating our contracts with the company. 

"We’ll get an idea of how seriously they’re going to take us soon."

Shop Steward Robert Morrison, also on our union’s negotiations team, says the group is disgusted. “We’re ready to go right now. We’ll get an idea of how seriously they’re going to take us soon.”

John Scearcy, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, reiterated this point. “Our members are amped up and ready to strike,” he said. “Veritiv needs to return to negotiations and bargain a fair contract in good faith that respects our members and their families.”

The next negotiations session on April 30 will be telling: Will Veritiv come with reasonable proposals or will they continue to balk at decent treatment of their employees? If it's the latter, they'd better be ready for a fight.


Shasta's shutdown negligence exposed by Jesse Jones on KIRO 7

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Teamster Gerald Maines sits down with Jesse Jones of KIRO 7 to discuss the plant closure at Shasta.


Thanks to some shrewd investigatory reporting by KIRO 7's Jesse Jones, Shasta's dirty tricks are finally being exposed. 

Shasta's Tukwila plant was shut down by the City's fire marshal nine weeks ago after the company failed to obtain permits for a major construction project at the facility.

Shasta has refused to provide any compensation for its Teamster employees during the shutdown, and many have lost their health and welfare benefits. This includes a member with a new-born baby and one battling stage 4 cancer.

After getting stonewalled by Shasta, Shop Steward Gerald Maines along with Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy reached out to Jones to talk about our contractual rights and how the company's negligence has affected workers.

"We have a labor agreement, we have rights in that labor agreement that guarantee pay. And unless it's outside the company's control, they are expected and contractually obligated to provide wages and benefits," Scearcy told Jones in the interview.

See the full story below: