When we fight, we win!

Private Sector


Teamsters & allies bring the UNFI fight up the supply chain to Amazon/Whole Foods

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Local 117 members unlawfully laid off by UNFI bring their fight for justice to Amazon/Whole Foods


On Thursday, in Austin, Texas, a delegation of Oxfam, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) and Teamsters Union representatives joined forces, demanding Whole Foods take real steps to clean up abusive labor practices in its food supply chain.

Whole Foods is one of the lowest-scoring supermarket chains on Oxfam’s human rights scorecard, even worse than Walmart.  

On the same day, in Seattle, laid-off grocery workers, Teamsters Local 117 representatives and consumer allies visited Amazon headquarters to demand that Amazon-owned Whole Foods weigh in on its largest supplier, UNFI to stop labor abuses there.

Teamster officials in Austin, participating in the event with Oxfam and FLOC, tried to deliver a letter to John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods.

Seattle protestors sought to meet with Stephenie Landry, VP of Grocery Delivery for Amazon and deliver the same letter, demanding justice. Click to read the letter, and see photos and video from Seattle.

“Hundreds of families are hurting today, because Whole Foods' partner UNFI is not honoring contract terms that we negotiated and they agreed to, that's unacceptable and we won't stand for it," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local Union No. 117. “Amazon has the ability and the responsibility to demand Whole Foods and UNFI stop abusing workers and communities across its entire supply chain, and honor their commitments to us all.”

"We demand Whole Foods and UNFI stop abusing workers and communities across its supply chain."

Right before the holidays, UNFI illegally laid off over 200 workers from its Tacoma, Wash., distribution center. UNFI is refusing to honor an arbitrator’s award that upholds the workers’ contract and protects their wages and benefits.

“The loss of money, medical benefits and retirement that we have become accustomed to has really made life difficult. I have had my garbage service canceled due to inability to pay. My phone has been shut off for a couple of weeks. How am I supposed to find employment without a phone? What if there was a problem with my daughter at school? I have also fallen a month behind in rent,” said Jason Black, one of the laid off Tacoma, food distribution workers. “Other workers have been hit with evictions, had utilities shut off and scrounged for change to make sure their families are fed. Food, shelter, clothing and good health for our families are the main priorities now and covering these expenses is hard and is only going to get harder because of UNFI’s greed.”

Teamsters urged Amazon’s Whole Foods grocery executives Mackey and Landry to call on UNFI CEO Steven Spinner to comply with the arbitrator’s decision and stop breaking the law – as a first step toward demonstrating their combined company’s commitment to a truly sustainable food supply.

Whole Foods Market has a strategic supply chain agreement with UNFI, which runs more than 50 grocery warehouses, and is an essential partner to Amazon’s premier grocery channels: Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh.

The protestors also called on Amazon’s Whole Foods to ensure that all its suppliers respect workers’ rights and safety.

Teamsters represent over 4,000 members at UNFI across much of the U.S. UNFI has recently escalated its attacks on its local labor unions, leading to extensive unrest across its grocery distribution network, including a two-week strike in the Midwest in late December 2019.


Maverick Employees - Contract Survey and Schedule for Demands Meetings

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This is an exciting time for workers in the gaming industry in Washington State. Teamsters 117, one of the most powerful and respected unions in the Pacific Northwest, has been certified to represent you in contract negotiations with your employer.

This means that a Union Negotiation Committee will meet with Maverick to negotiate a first-time contract that will secure your rights and benefits in the workplace.  The Committee will consist of professional Teamsters 117 negotiators along with a team of your co-workers to ensure that everyone who works at Maverick is represented at the negotiation table.

To prepare for negotiations, your voice is critical!  Your feedback will help your Union Negotiation Committee develop meaningful proposals for negotiations.  You can provide feedback in two ways: 1) Complete the online Contract Survey and 2) attend a Contract Demands Meeting.

1. CONTRACT SURVEY – COMPLETE THE SURVEY!
Our Union’s legal team has developed a short survey that will help you and your co-workers establish priorities for negotiations. The survey will take you 5-10 minutes to complete. By taking the survey, you are making sure your voice is heard in the contract negotiations process. 

CONTRACT SURVEY - CLICK HERE!

2. CONTRACT DEMANDS MEETINGS – ATTEND A MEETING!
Contract Demands Meetings are another opportunity for you to provide feedback so that the Union can establish priorities for negotiations. At the meetings, you will also be selecting Shop Stewards. These are your co-workers who will help represent you in your workplace. Please attend one of the Contract Demands Meetings listed below.

CONTRACT DEMANDS MEETINGS - MAVERICK

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

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

Monday, January 27

9:00am-11:00am

3:00pm-5:00pm

7:00pm-9:00pm

 

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

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

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

Tuesday, January 28

&

Thursday, January 30

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

Great American Lakewood
Macau Lakewood

Wednesday, January 29

10:00am-12:00pm

3:00pm-5:00pm

7:00pm-9:00pm 

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

Card Room

Date(s)

Times

Location

Caribbean Casino Yakima  

Wednesday, January 29

9:00am-11:00am

3:00pm-5:00pm

7:00pm-9:00pm

Caribbean Casino Yakima
Fish Room

Coyote Bob
Crazy Moose

Tuesday, January 28

9:00am-11:00am

3:00pm-5:00pm

7:00pm-9:00pm

Crazy Moose

Conference Room

Thank you for your participation in this process! As soon as we have established negotiation dates with Maverick, we will let you know.  Our goal is to make sure you have the strongest possible representation and to negotiate a contract based on your priorities that will provide a better, more secure future for you and your family.

 


UNFI Litigation - News and Updates

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This page is set up to provide updates to Teamsters 117 members who worked at UNFI's warehouse in Tacoma and were unlawfully laid off by the company. Our Union is defending an Arbitration Award that UNFI is challenging in federal court.

Our goal is to fight the Company in court and uphold the Arbitrator's Award that allowed members to transfer to Centralia with the same wages and benefits that they had in Tacoma. When there are developments in the case or other news that impacts Teamster families, we will post it here.

To receive updates via text message, text "Teamsters FUNFI" to 313131. Please understand that the litigation process is a lengthy one and there may be several weeks between updates. If you have questions, please post them in the comments below understanding that our legal team is busy and will answer them when their schedule allows. 

UNFI NEWS TICKER

April 2, 2020
In an effort to keep you all updated on the processing of the litigation, we contacted the court for a status update today. The only new information is that the motion for stay that was filed on 1/24/2020 is in Judge Jones' queue. The court was not able to provide a time frame for a decision. As we have shared before, this is a slow legal process that is presumably further delayed by the staffing and priority case load in relation to the COVID-19 crisis. Although this update does not include any major development, we have been asked by the membership and we have committed to provide regular updates no matter how big or small.

March 13, 2020
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the meeting at our Union Hall in Tukwila on March 21 has been cancelled until further notice. Please stay healthy and safe!

March 5, 2020
As you know, UNFI filed actions in both Federal Court and at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Union to challenge Arbitrator’s Duffy’s award.  In the Federal Court action, UNFI filed a motion to stay (put on hold) those proceedings until the NLRB ruled on their charges. We suspect that the Company's motives for filing the motion to stay are to continue to block your rights under the Award and to slow down the process as much as possible. The judge has not yet ruled on that motion. As soon as we hear from the judge, we will let you know.

At the regional NLRB office (region 19), our Union’s outside legal team filed a supplemental position statement a few weeks ago. Our statement provides a good overview of our main arguments in the case and request that the Board dismiss UNFI's charges. To inform yourself, please take some time to review this document. Since then, the regional office has been unable to make a determination about UNFI’s charges (likely for political reasons) and has submitted the charges to the NLRB General Counsel (a Trump appointee) for “advice”. We suspect the General Counsel's "advice" will be to push these charges to hearing. We are preparing for this outcome. Stay tuned for more information.

February 10, 2020
UNFI has filed a motion to stay proceedings in federal court.  They are asking the Judge to stay (which means stop processing) the proceedings in federal court until the NLRB proceedings are concluded.  We are filing our objection to that motion today, and the hearing on the motion is Friday. 

January 13, 2020
As many of you know, our Union filed and won and Arbitration Award related to the transfer of work to Centralia. Unfortunately, UNFI has refused honor the Arbitration decision and has instead filed appeals with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and in Federal Court. The following updates are related to the litigation over UNFI’s appeal:

UNFI’s Unfair Labor Practice Charges against the Union with the NLRB:
The Union has filed its position statement and exhibits with the NLRB. The NLRB will now consider our position statement before deciding whether to investigate UNFI’s claim.

UNFI’s Appeal of Arbitrator Duffy’s Arbitration Decision to Federal Court:
Our Union has filed its answer to UNFI’s complaint and asserted counterclaims against UNFI for enforcement of the award. Our counterclaims against UNFI are (1) to confirm the award; (2) injunctive relief to enforce the award; and (3) breach of contract. The Court extended UNFI’s time to answer our counterclaims to January 17, 2020.

Although litigation is slow-moving, we are committed to keeping you updated with posts and text alerts as we progress through this process. To receive a text that an update has been posted, please text “Teamsters FUNFI” to 313131. If you have questions, please post them in the comments below understanding that our legal team is busy and will answer them when their schedule allows.

January 3, 2020
As many of you know, our Union filed numerous Unfair Labor Practice charges (ULP’s) with the National Labor Relations Board over the last year alleging that UNFI engaged in interference, disparaging communications, surveillance, unilateral changes and more. Although these charges are unrelated to the Arbitration and the ongoing litigation over the award (appeal), we feel it is important to keep you updated on the progress:

Union’s Unfair Labor Practice charges against UNFI:
The hearing on these charges was scheduled for Tuesday, January 7, 2020. On January 2, 2020, the Labor Board reached a settlement with UNFI, requiring the Company to send a notice posting to current and former Local 117 and 313 members setting forth UNFI’s legal obligations to its employees under the National Labor relations Act.

As mentioned above, UNFI is mandated to mail you a letter setting forth UNFI’s legal obligations to its employees under the National Labor Relations Act. We expect that letter to be mailed out within the next week or two. This letter will not require any further action from you. Although this may seem insignificant, it marks another Teamster win against this employer that couldn’t be possible without the involvement and testimony of many of you.

We have asked our legal team to draft an update related to the litigation over the Arbitration award and the appeal process. We intend on providing that update soon.

December 2019
Teamsters 117 establishes the UNFI Hardship Fund designed to assist members from UNFI's Tacoma facility who are experiencing extreme financial hardship as a result of being unlawfully laid off by UNFI. If you are a UNFI member who worked at the Tacoma facility and you are facing financial hardship, please apply for assistance here.

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October 7, 2019
Arbitrator Joseph Duffy rules unequivocally for the Union stating that members of Teamsters 117 shall be allowed to transfer to Centralia under the same terms and conditions that they have in Tacoma. View the Arbitration Award here.


Maverick Gaming Industry Workers Choose Teamsters 117

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Maverick employees at the Great American Casino in Tukwila celebrate certification of their union!  


More than 1,700 card room workers employed by Maverick Gaming have chosen Teamsters Local 117. The Seattle-based Local Union was authorized as the workers’ exclusive bargaining representative through a card check process conducted by an independent arbitrator today.

“We are thrilled to welcome Maverick employees to our Union,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “Workers in the many card rooms across Washington State deserve a strong voice in the workplace and a contract that protects their rights and reflects their priorities. We are committed to working with them to achieve that goal.”

"We are thrilled to welcome Maverick employees to our Union."

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 wages, health care, retirement security, scheduling, and other working conditions.

“I feel it’s time for gaming employees to have a collective voice and input in the decision-making,” said Babet Vanvolkenburg, a dealer at the Macau Casino in Renton with over 20-years’ experience in the industry. “With the union we can have more job security.”

“I want the union because we’ll have an opportunity to improve our working conditions. My priorities are things like paid holidays, more vacation, and better wages,” said Mariano Quizapa, a cook at the Silver Dollar Casino in SeaTac.

Throughout the organizing process, Maverick remained neutral and allowed workers to determine for themselves whether they wanted union representation. “Maverick provides an excellent example of how a company should conduct itself during a union organizing drive,” Scearcy said. “While some employers fire workers or aggressively spread anti-union propaganda, Maverick trusted its workers to decide for themselves whether they wanted to join the union.”

The certification of Teamsters Local 117 as the workers’ exclusive representative triggers the process for contract negotiations. In January, workers will meet to establish their priorities for negotiations and identify rank-and-file leaders to participate on the union bargaining committee.

“This is a historic moment for workers in a previously unorganized industry in Washington State,” Scearcy said. “We look forward to sitting down with Maverick and negotiating a contract that reflects the priorities of these workers – things like good family medical benefits, a secure retirement, and secure scheduling – all of the protections and benefits of a strong Teamsters contract.” 


Local 117 establishes hardship fund to support members unlawfully laid off by UNFI

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Teamsters in Tacoma learning that UNFI has failed to make timely payments on their health and welfare and pension. 


Over the last several months, our Union has been in an intense labor battle with United Natural Foods, Inc (UNFI), a ruthless employer that has shown little regard for our members' livelihoods or their contractual rights.

Right before the holidays, the company unlawfully laid off over 200 Local 117 members from its Tacoma distribution center and is refusing to honor an arbitrator's award that upholds their contract and protects their wages and benefits.

Many of our members are now facing eviction or are struggling to pay the bills or put food on the table for their families.

To assist members from UNFI's Tacoma facility who are facing extreme financial hardship, our Union has established the UNFI Hardship Fund.

Over the last month, we have received generous donations from Local Unions and Joint Councils across the Teamsters Union as well as donations from other labor organizations and individuals. We are extremely grateful to you for your support.

UNFI HARDSHIP FUND - DONATIONS

If you would like to donate to support Local 117 members in need, you can contribute by sending your donation to:

Teamsters Local 117
c/o UNFI Hardship Fund
14675 Interuruban Ave. S. Ste 307
Tukwila, WA 98168

Thank you for your support!


Teamsters 117 wins groundbreaking labor protections for Uber and Lyft drivers

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Teamsters Local 117 has achieved a significant victory in the fight to bring workers in the gig economy a voice on the job. The Seattle-based Local led the way in helping to pass a new law this November that will institute a first-ever grievance procedure for the City’s more than 30,000 Uber and Lyft drivers.

This groundbreaking legislation establishes first-in-the-nation legal protections and representation for drivers who seek to contest unwarranted deactivations in termination proceedings. The law also establishes a Driver Resolution Center to provide a wide range of support services to drivers.

“No longer will Uber and Lyft be the judge, jury, and prosecutor,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “Now drivers will have the right to protect their jobs with representation through a fair and impartial process.”

Under the new law, the City will commission an independent study with driver input to determine minimum pay standards for drivers that aligns with Seattle’s minimum wage and accounts for expenses and benefits. A similar process in New York has led to significant increases in pay for drivers. The study will be used to set a compensation floor that will hold Uber and Lyft to the same minimum pay standards as other large employers in Seattle - $16.39 per hour starting in 2020, after expenses. Since it is a pay floor, drivers will have the ability to earn above the City’s established minimum wage.

“I support my family with this job,” says Sukchain Banwait, a long-time Uber and Lyft driver. “We pay for the car, we pay for the gas, we pay for the maintenance, and we pay for the depreciation. We work long hours, and we deserve to get paid fairly.”

"This is a historic step forward in our fight for fair pay and labor protections for Uber and Lyft drivers."

Over the last five years, Teamsters Local 117 has worked to improve conditions in Seattle’s ride-hail industry. In 2015, Local 117 spearheaded efforts to pass a law granting collective bargaining rights for Uber and Lyft drivers. Since then, the ride-hail giants have tied up that legislation in the courts with litigation intended to strip away those rights from drivers. In helping to pass the new law, Local 117 worked to build a coalition of over 60 housing, transit, labor, environmental, health, and social justice organizations.

“This is a historic step forward in our fight for fair pay and labor protections for Uber and Lyft drivers,” Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy said. “Drivers provide critical transportation services to our community. They must be granted a measure of job security and they must be paid a living wage. This legislation strengthens our community, gives drivers a voice, and helps transform our labor movement by establishing groundbreaking rights for workers in the gig economy.”  


Seattle Uber & Lyft Drivers Call Passage of 'Fare Share' Legislation a Historic Victory

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Mayor Jenny Durkan after a meeting with Uber and Lyft Drivers.


Seattle Uber and Lyft drivers celebrated the passage of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s ‘Fare Share’ plan by the City Council today, calling it a historic victory that will provide long-sought labor protections and lead to higher pay for the City’s 30,000 ride-hail drivers.

This groundbreaking legislation establishes first-in-the-nation legal protections against unwarranted deactivations. The legislation will also establish a Driver Resolution Center to provide a wide range of support services to drivers.

“After I was hit by an uninsured motorist, Uber shut off my app. Uber calls it deactivation, I call it getting fired for no reason,” says Bob Gulbranson, who has driven for Uber for several years. “This legislation gives drivers a voice and a chance to be treated fairly.”

In addition to creating a grievance process and funding a worker organization for drivers, the legislation mandates that all drivers be paid no less than Seattle’s minimum wage after expenses by July 1, 2020. The City will commission an independent wage study with driver input to determine appropriate pay for drivers based on hours worked, expenses incurred, and benefits.

At today’s City Council budget hearing, drivers said they were eager to participate in the study to help develop a fair pay standard so that they can finally earn a living wage after expenses and stop the race-to-the-bottom in Seattle’s ride-hail industry.

“I support my family with this job,” says Sukchain Banwait, a long-time Uber and Lyft driver. “We pay for the car, we pay for the gas, we pay for the maintenance, and we pay for the depreciation. We work long hours, and we deserve to get paid fairly.”

The legislation is funded through a 51-cent tax on trips by ride-hail giants Uber and Lyft. Proceeds from the fee will also support community investments in affordable housing and transit improvements so that drivers and other working families in Seattle have a greater opportunity to live closer to where they work.

Teamsters Local 117 has worked with the App-Based Drivers Association to improve conditions for drivers in Seattle’s ride-hail industry. Both organizations are members of a Fare Share coalition of over 60 housing, transit, labor, environmental, health, and social justice groups that have come together to support the legislation and to make sure Seattle’s growth works for everyone.


ABG Teamsters vote overwhelmingly to approve new contract

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Teamsters at ABG, who score among the highest in the nation for their customer service, voting yes on a strong contract.


Teamsters at Avis Budget Group, Inc who work at SeaTac Airport have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new 5-year contract. The group of approximately 150 customer service agents and sales representatives met last week to approve the proposal. They have been in bargaining since May of this year and even as the company was sluggish in their response, the group was successful in achieving wage and pension increases, sick leave improvements and bargaining unit work protections.

"As the economy is set to be shaky in the next few years, we value the security of a good contract."

“We are very happy to lock the wage increases in for five years,” said Sean Reis, a Teamster shop steward and a service agent at Avis. “As the economy is set to be shaky in the next few years, we value the security of a good contract.”

This group of Teamsters services millions of customers passing through SeaTac Airport. The pressure on them is high to keep lines of clients satisfied, yet their performance is top-notch and customer reviews rank them in the highest tier across the country. Teamsters at Avis feel this contract is a reflection of their hard work.

“I’ve worked here for 30 years,” concludes Reis. “This contract is among the best we’ve had.”

 

 


UNFI unprepared to negotiate over severance for laid off Teamsters

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UNFI/SuperValu negotiations committee is committed to protecting our members rights under their contract and under the Arbitrator's award.


UNFI arrived without their lead negotiator and unprepared to bargain with Teamsters Local 117 and Local 313 when they met with the Union on Thursday and Friday in Tukwila to discuss severance packages for Teamsters who are facing layoffs by the Company. As a result, the two-day negotiations session resulted in little progress.

In the last few weeks, more than 70 UNFI employees working at the Tacoma warehouse have been laid off with the remaining employees to be laid off over the next 30 days.

“UNFI is not interested in negotiating a quality severance package for the majority of our members and their families whose lives have been severely disrupted by the Company’s decision to relocate operations from Tacoma to Centralia,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We came ready to negotiate and we formally proposed to accept an offer the Company had made on October 1 without a single change – not even a comma – but the Company rejected their own proposal.”

The Union is consider filing additional charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over unlawful regressive bargaining tactics.

"UNFI is not interested in negotiating a reasonable severance package for the majority of our members."

UNFI is continuing to refuse to honor a neutral arbitrator’s decision to allow employees at the Company’s Tacoma warehouse to transfer to its Centralia facility with the same wages and terms and conditions that the Tacoma employees have been working under.

“Arbitrator Joseph Duffy ruled unequivocally for the Union in awarding full transfer rights to our members with the wages, benefits, and other protections,” Scearcy said. “His decision is legally sound and upholds contract language that the Company agreed to in negotiations. Not only did UNFI agree to the contract language enforced by Arbitrator Duffy, but it also agreed that arbitration decisions would be final and binding. We are confident that the courts will side with the Arbitrator and rule to make whole our members for any losses they may have incurred while they were unlawfully laid off.”

UNFI has a history of labor unrest with the Teamsters. In December 2012, members of Teamsters Local 117 employed at UNFI’s distribution center in Auburn entered into a 9-week strike over a number of alleged violations of federal labor law.

 


Tentative contract agreement reached with Safeway Dairy

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Shop Steward Andy Peterson served on the Union negotiations committee that achieved a settlement offer with Safeway Dairy.


Our Union negotiations committee has achieved a fully-recommended tentative agreement over a 3-year contract with Safeway Dairy/Ice Cream. Our Union team reached the agreement with Safeway in a negotiations session at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila on October 30 and 31.

A contract ratification vote will be held for Safeway Dairy Teamsters on Saturday, November 23 in Tukwila. The Union bargaining committee will unanimously recommend that the membership approve the settlement.

One of the central issues for the Union in negotiations was to ensure that the Company provided affordable health care benefits for retirees. Members voted unanimously to authorize a strike last month after the Company had refused to make an acceptable proposal on the issue.

"We appreciate the hard work of our Union negotiations team at having reached this tentative agreement," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "We are preparing the final contract documents and look forward to giving our members an opportunity to review and vote on the proposal."