When we fight, we win!

Private Sector


Grocery warehouse are Teamsters are keeping our shelves stocked at a time of crisis

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Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy met with members yesterday morning to talk about the rollout of a new safety screening process at Safeway.


With the COVID-19 crisis, Teamsters in the grocery industry are putting in long hours with few days off to keep our store shelves stocked with food and supplies. 

Like so many others at Local 117, members at the Fred Meyer distribution center in Puyallup and the Safeway warehouse in Auburn understand the magnitude of the crisis and are doing everything they can to help. 

"We have to feed America," said Chris Williams, a Shop Steward and 21-year member at Safeway. "Without food coming and going out of here, a lot of people would be at lost ends. People are trying to stock up, whether it's at a food bank or a local grocery store. If we didn't have our guys to supply them, people wouldn't have the disinfectants, toiletries, and food they need."

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Shop Steward Chris Williams is part of the essential workforce that is keeping our grocery shelves stocked.


After some prodding, both Safeway and Kroger have stepped up and are paying members like Chris an additional $2/hr in appreciation pay. We've also recommended that the companies implement a new screening process as a way to keep workers safe.

“Union Representatives Lance Asher and Anthony McKinney, working with our outstanding Shop Stewards in this industry, have risen to the occasion,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “By working together, we have made meaningful recommendations and proposals with a collective focus on the safety and security of our members.”

Both Scearcy and Asher were on hand early yesterday morning to monitor the rollout of screening for our members at Safeway on their way in to work. 

Lining up at a popup tent, members were asked a series of questions about their health before entering the facility. Anyone suspected of possible COVID-19 exposure or infection is sent home and put on paid administrative leave.

"I'm glad to see the company putting in place safety measures for our members," Scearcy said. "This is an important way to help prevent infection in a workforce that is essential to keeping food on our grocery store shelves. We're hopeful employers in other essential industries will follow suit."

"We're hopeful employers in other essential industries will follow suit."

Yesterday the screening line at Safeway moved quickly, and members responded favorably to the new program.

"I wish they had started this a little earlier," Williams said. "But now that they're doing it, I feel relieved and appreciative."  

Jarrell Lewis, a 20-year Teamster at Safeway, agreed. "I woke up early and was looking forward to it," he said. "People have families at home, and we've got to make sure they are taken care of. Nowadays, everybody's got to have something in the kitchen. I take pride in what we do."

 


Teamster paratransit volunteers step up to transport COVID-sick patients

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Teamster paratransit drivers at MV provide critical transportation services to our community.


So many Teamsters have risen to the occasion to serve our community during the COVID-19 crisis.

Our members in grocery, corrections, cold storage, law enforcement, solid waste, bakery, dairy, and many other industries are keeping the supply chain moving and making sure vital emergency services stay online.

From early on, Local 117 paratransit drivers who work for MV Transportation have been on the front lines in the fight against the virus through their work shuttling elderly and disabled passengers around our region.

Starting Thursday, 26 drivers began taking on an additional risk. They have volunteered to transport COVID-19-positive patients and those suspected of carrying the disease to and from area medical facilities.

Drivers are not required to interact with the COVID patients. That work is performed by caregivers and medical providers. Still, the danger of infection is real.

“We’re just trying to help people out,” said Helen Vivao, one of the drivers who volunteered for the work. "It's scary at first but after seeing these clients, it's a tear jerker. You don't know if it will be the last time you see them. But we're feeling like it's important that we're doing our part."

Helen and her co-workers are supplementing the first responder network and EMTs who are overrun with emergency transport during this national crisis.

"We’re just trying to help people out."

Up to thirty vehicles will be used for the program. The buses will be retrofitted with safety installations and must pass inspection by public health officials at King County. They will operate exclusively and separately out of MV’s old base in Kent, be sanitized after every run, and they will not be used to transport other MV passengers.

“The work of all of our members at MV is vital to serving our community and protecting the public health. The drivers volunteering for this role are going above and beyond,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We will be closely monitoring safety conditions on these vehicles. It is incumbent on the County and the company to prioritize driver safety and to take every precaution to limit the spread of the disease.”


City of Auburn - MOU Vote on Article 25

If you are a Teamster working at the City of Auburn, you will have the opportunity to vote on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) involving Article 25 (Clothing Allowance) of your collective bargaining agreement. You can review the MOU here:

Voting will take place between March 31 and April 3 using Election Buddy, an electronic voting system. On Tuesday, March 31, we will send you an email to your work email address that will link you to Election Buddy and allow you to vote online. 

Please see the video below for more information about the MOU and voting instructions. If you have questions, contact Union Representative Julie Yust at 206-920-5708. Thanks so much!

 

 


Take action! Drivers need emergency relief NOW

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Because of drivers taking action and aggressive advocacy from your Union, we are one step closer to securing urgently needed emergency relief for Uber, Lyft, and Taxi drivers. 

Yesterday afternoon, Governor Inslee announced:

  1. A statewide 30-day moratorium on residential evictions; and
  2. An effort to call on the White House and Congress to declare a disaster in Washington, authorizing Disaster Unemployment Assistance for Uber, Lyft, and Taxi drivers and others who may not normally be eligible for unemployment benefits.

We are one step closer to securing emergency relief. But, it’s not guaranteed. We have to fight so drivers don’t fall through the cracks.

Right now, I’m asking you to do three things:

  1. Call Congress at (202) 224-3121. Tell them “Provide Disaster Unemployment Assistance for Uber, Lyft, and Taxi drivers NOW!”
  2. Uber & Lyft Drifers: Apply for unemployment. Apply here (computer or laptop). Don’t give up if you receive an initial automated-rejection. Start filing weekly claims (even if you’ve been initially rejected), and be prepared to provide documentation of your hours of work and pay. You want your account to already be set up so there aren’t delays if funds become available. Click here to receive application instructions and information on free legal support. 
  3. Get additional resources. Your Union has compiled this COVID-19 Emergency Resource Guide, including information on where to go for food assistance, what to do if you can’t pay your rent or mortgage, Teamsters job openings, and other resources.

We know this is a very stressful time for drivers. We will continue to fight for the support drivers need, and update you with the latest resources available.


Teamsters call on government, Uber & Lyft CEOs to provide emergency economic relief for drivers

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Ubah Dahraan, an Uber driver and single mom of four, says the loss of income she is suffering has been devastating.


The Drivers Union, comprised of Uber and Lyft drivers, and the Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association, both affiliates of Teamsters Local 117, are urging elected executives and rideshare companies to take immediate action to provide drivers with emergency relief to mitigate the devastating economic and public health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

In an Open Letter sent today to corporate executives and elected leaders in city, county, and state government, the union is calling for up to $1,000 per week in emergency income stabilization for all drivers who have been impacted by the crisis, rent and mortgage assistance, a moratorium on evictions, and the elimination of commissions on all trips.

“I worked 12 hours yesterday and made only $50,” said Aamar Khan, a wheelchair-accessible taxi driver. “If everything gets shut down, I can’t imagine making any more. I don’t know how I’m going to pay my bills next month. We need assistance and certainty so that we can survive. Otherwise, we’re going to end up on the street.”

"We need assistance and certainty so that we can survive. Otherwise, we’re going to end up on the street."

Drivers rely on passenger trips at Seatac Airport, from the technology sector, and at major public events to support themselves. Over the last few days, they say that work has completely dried up. Many Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers are already reporting a more than 80% decrease in their income.

“I’m a single mom with four kids,” said Uber driver Ubah Dahraan. “I can’t stay home because I need the money to support my kids. On the other side, it’s not safe to work at this time. My kids ask me every day, ‘Mommy, if you go outside, you think you can come back safe?’ Also, they ask me, ‘How are we going to survive?’ I don’t know what to tell them.”

Uber, Lyft, and taxi drivers are on the front lines of both the public health and economic impacts of this crisis. Yet unlike most workers, drivers do not have access to paid sick days or employer-provided health insurance.

“Workers across many industries are hurting right now as a result of the COVID-19 crisis that has affected our region,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “But unlike other workers, Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers don’t have access to basic workplace protections to ensure their health, safety, and economic well-being. Drivers are facing a profound economic crisis. They need government and business to step in an provide emergency economic assistance now.”


Maverick Employees Vote Overwhelmingly to Ratify First-Time Contract with Teamsters 117

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A group of Maverick employees gather outside the Union Hall in Tukwila after voting on a first-time union contract.


FIRST-TIME CONTRACT FOR MAVERICK TEAMSTERS RATIFIES ON A 98% YES VOTE!

A group of over 1,700 employees of Maverick Gaming LLC has voted overwhelmingly to ratify a first-time union contract with Teamsters Local 117.

The new three-year agreement is the first of its kind for workers in the gaming industry in Washington State. The contract provides workers with a defined-benefit pension through the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust, improved compensation, and greater access to health care, along with a number of other workplace improvements. Voting took place throughout the week at meetings in Pasco, Yakima, Tukwila, Everett, and Tacoma, WA.

“I want to congratulate and welcome Maverick employees to our Union,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “These workers took a courageous step to stand together as Teamsters to secure their rights and benefits in the workplace. Together we have achieved a historic agreement that will improve the lives of over 1,700 working people and their families.”

"Together we have achieved a historic agreement..."

Ballots were tallied in Everett on Thursday evening, where workers reacted to the news of the contract ratification with excitement. “I love this contract. It gives my entire family – and when I say family, I mean every employee I work with at Maverick – it gives us all a stable future. It gives us job security, longevity, and a voice. It’s 100% the best thing for all of us,” said Wes Tompkins, a dealer at Coyote Bob’s Casino in Kennewick with over 20 years’ experience in the industry.

“I’m really excited about the contract,” added Jewalea Schnabel, a server and bartender at the Caribbean Casino in Kirkland. “The fact that we are part of the Union is a big step in itself. I’m also excited that we’re getting a pay raise for our cooks and excited about the pension. It will bring lifelong stability for all of us. That’s a really good thing.”


Are Teamsters at Fleischmann’s Vinegar headed for a strike?

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Shop Steward Adam Connolly and his co-workers at the Sumner facility have helped make Fleischmann's the world's largest producer of commercial vinegar.


Teamsters at Fleischmann’s Vinegar are fed up. The company has been dragging its feet in negotiations and has shown little respect for its employees. 

“We’re in our ninth negotiations session and they haven’t even given us complete proposals on health and welfare or wages,” reports Adam Connolly, a maintenance mechanic and shop steward on our Union Negotiations Committee.

Unlike the company, Connolly and the team have been straight up about their demands: Back in October, they presented Fleischmann’s with a comprehensive proposal, which included economics. Nine sessions later, the company still hasn't put all of their proposals on the table.

Connolly believes a recent corporate buyout may be to blame. In 2018, the Kerry Group, a massive food service conglomerate, gobbled up Fleischmann’s, a company that’s been in the vinegar business for nearly a century.  

“Kerry came in promising good things, but so far it seems like they want to take everything from us. We’re especially concerned about our pension and health care,” Connolly said.

With the company’s stall tactics souring negotiations, our members at Fleischmann’s are gearing up to take action. On Tuesday, the group voted unanimously to authorize a strike after an update meeting at Fleischmann’s production facility in Sumner.

"Our Union provides us with safer jobs, decent pay, and a pension."

“Nobody wants a strike,” Connolly insists. “But our Union provides us with safer jobs, decent pay, and a pension. And we’re prepared to defend it.”

“This group is ready,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “They’re sick and tired of this company trying to push them around. They’re standing up for fair wages, decent health care, and retirement security – all of the elements of a strong Teamsters contract.”

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Contract vote meetings for Teamsters at Maverick - schedule here!

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All 19 members of our Union Negotiations Committee recommend that you vote YES to approve the proposal


Starting next week Union members at Maverick will have a historic opportunity to vote on a first-ever contract proposal that will improve their workplace rights and provide lasting benefits for themselves and their families. 

The proposal is fully-recommended by our Union Negotiations Committee. The Committee consisted of 19 Maverick union members who actively participated in negotiations. All 19 members of the Committee unanimously recommend that you vote YES to approve the agreement.

We have scheduled Contract Ratification Meetings at multiple times and locations. At the meetings, you will have an opportunity to review the proposal and ask questions before the vote.

Teamsters at Maverick should attend the meeting that is most convenient to them:

CONTRACT RATIFICATION MEETINGS - MAVERICK

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

Coyote Bob
Crazy Moose

Monday, February 24

9:00am-11:00am
3:00pm-5:00pm
7:00pm-9:00pm

Red Lion Pasco
1515 N 20th Ave.
Pasco, WA 99301

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

Silver Dollar Seatac
Great American Tukwila
Caribbean Card Room
Silver Dollar Renton
Wizard
Caribbean Casino
Macau
Roman

Tuesday, February 25

9:00am-11:00am
3:00pm-5:00pm
7:00pm-9:00pm

 

Teamsters Local 117
14675 Interurban Ave. S
Tukwila, WA 98168

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

Caribbean Casino Yakima  

Tuesday, February 25

9:00am-11:00am
3:00pm-5:00pm
7:00pm-9:00pm

Caribbean Casino Yakima

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

Great American Lakewood
Macau Lakewood

Wednesday, February 26

9:00am-11:00am
3:00pm-5:00pm
7:00pm-9:00pm

Comfort Inn Tacoma
Seattle Room
8620 S. Hosmer St
Tacoma, WA 98444

Club Hollywood Casino
Silver Dollar Mill Creek
Caribbean Card Room
Royal Casino Everett
Great American Everett
Caribbean Casino
Crazy Moose MLT
Red Dragon Poker

Thursday, February 27

9:00am-11:00am
3:00pm-5:00pm
7:00pm-9:00pm

Best Western Cascadia Inn
2800 Pacific Ave.
Everett, WA 98201

 


Teamsters achieve fully-recommended contract offer for over 1700 employees at Maverick Gaming

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Our Union Negotiations Committee achieves a first-time contract for workers in the gaming industry in Washington State.


Teamsters Local 117 has achieved a fully-recommended settlement agreement over a first-time contract for over 1,700 gaming industry workers employed by Maverick Gaming. Negotiations between the Union’s 19-member Negotiations Committee and the Company took place on February 6 and 7 at the Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila.

If approved by the membership, the new three-year agreement would provide workers with retirement security benefits through the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust, improve compensation, and provide greater access to health care for Teamsters at Maverick.

“This is a powerful first-time agreement that will provide lasting benefits to union members and their families,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “Our Union Negotiations Committee worked incredibly hard to achieve a fully-recommended proposal that reflects the priorities of the membership. We are excited to present the proposal to our members for their consideration.”

"This is a powerful first-time agreement that will provide lasting benefits to union members and their families."

Maverick employees will be the first unionized gaming-industry workers in Washington State. They sought representation with the Teamsters because they wanted a voice over issues like their compensation, health care, retirement security, scheduling, and other working conditions.

“I am very proud of the job our Union Negotiations Committee did. We worked hard to make sure that dealer tips are protected. We also made sure that our cooks, wait staff, and security are well-represented,” said Jackie Franco, a dealer at the Caribbean Casino in Kirkland.

Teamsters Local 117 was authorized as the workers’ exclusive bargaining representative through a card check process conducted by an independent arbitrator last December. Throughout the organizing process, Maverick remained neutral and allowed workers to determine for themselves whether they wanted union representation. “Maverick came to the negotiating table with an open mind and was willing to negotiate contract provisions that will improve the lives of our members,” Scearcy said.

The Union is in the process of scheduling contract ratification meetings so that members have an opportunity to review and vote on the proposal. “This is a historic agreement that, if ratified by the membership, will bring thousands of good, Teamster jobs with family wages and secure benefits to workers in the gaming industry in the Pacific Northwest,” Scearcy said. “It was possible because Maverick employees had the courage to stand together in a strong union to secure their rights and benefits in the workplace.”

 


Teamsters support Swedish Medical Center workers on strike

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Teamsters Local 117 stands in solidarity with nearly 8,000 Swedish Medical Center workers who began a three-day unfair labor practices strike Tuesday morning. The workers are members of SEIU Local 1199NW.

Healthcare workers at seven Swedish Medical Center campuses in King and Snohomish Counties are fighting for quality patient care and good, family-sustaining jobs. These nurses and caregivers report that they face understaffing which impacts patient safety, along with disrespect and discrimination from management.

According to their union, instead of bargaining in good faith for a contract with reasonable wages, management has spent $11 million on an agency to temporarily replace workers during the strike.

“The Teamsters Union represents over 50 thousand healthcare workers, including hundreds who are members of Teamsters 117. Our members work long hours, often with limited resources, in stressful environments to provide critical, ethical care. We stand with our labor partners at SEIU 1199NW to ensure that workers in the profession are treated with dignity and respect,” said Michelle Woodrow, President of Local 117 and Western Region Representative for the Teamsters Health Care Division.

"We are committed to standing with the striking workers until their demands are met."

“In Washington State and nationally, we want Swedish  Medical Center workers to know that we have their backs. We stand by them as they fight for what’s right—fair treatment and quality care for patients,” said Nina Bugbee, Director of the Teamsters Health Care Division.

“Nurses and caregivers touch every life and every community,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. “As a community, we need to come together and support them in their fight for fair working conditions, racial equity, and patient safety. We are committed to standing with the striking workers until their demands are met.”