Puget Sound taxicab operators are making strides to provide the best customer service in Seattle’s personal transportation industry. 170 drivers from Yellow Cab, Farwest Taxi, and Orange Cab attended a Taxicab Driver Hospitality Training on Tuesday, July 15 at the Teamsters Union hall in Tukwila.
The training was offered by the Western Washington Taxicab Operators Association (WWTCOA) in partnership with Teamsters Local 117 and the Hospitality Management program at South Seattle College (SSC).
"We are professional drivers who understand the importance of providing excellent service to our customers," said Parminder Cheema, a driver from Yellow Cab.
The course was taught by instructors in South Seattle College’s Hospitality Management program. The goal of the training is to increase customer satisfaction, prioritize customer safety, develop relationships with institutional clients, and enhance professionalism of taxi service. Drivers who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate that they can display in their cabs.
A second training will be held on Thursday, July 17 at 10 A.M. Additional trainings will be scheduled according to demand. The cost of the training to drivers is $60.
The WWTCOA is a membership association that “promotes fairness, justice, and transparency in Seattle's heavily-regulated taxi industry.” The WWTCOA works closely with Teamsters Local 117 to ensure that taxis have the resources they need so that they can speak with a unified voice and build a better life for themselves and their families.
For more information, visit www.teamstertaxi.org.
Quite possibly THE biggest threat to our way of life is competition from Walmart. Walmart will do anything and everything in its power to not allow their employees the right to form a union. Workers have been fired, and entire stores have even been shut down. The ability of workers to stand up for themselves is severely eroded in these situations. Walmart then takes advantage of those workers, paying them horrible wages, and the ones who are lucky enough to get benefits end up with an awful benefit package. The first part of that sentence is worth repeating: Walmart takes advantage of their workers.
So, what does this mean to us? Why should we care? By treating their workers so poorly, Walmart is able to offer lower prices to consumers, taking customers away from union employers. This means that those union employers aren’t as successful as they could be, and as a result, they hire fewer people. In addition, those same union employers feel the same pressure to erode OUR wages and benefits as well! EVERY TIME WE SHOP AT WALMART IS ONE STEP CLOSER TO BEING TREATED LIKE A WALMART EMPLOYEE.
Teamsters 117 is proud to represent members who work at the Seattle Parks Department, many of whom have seen their hours and number of staff cut back over the last several years because of a lack of funding for our parks system.
That's why we are supporting a YES vote for Seattle Prop. 1 on the ballot in August, to address a wide variety of parks system needs including: restoring staffing, hours, and programs for kids and seniors at community centers; major maintenance like replacing leaky roofs, boiler replacements, and critical electrical upgrades; ongoing maintenance like cleaning restrooms, trash pickup, and mowing; acquiring new parks and open space to meet increased demand; funding for major maintenance at Woodland Park Zoo and the Seattle Aquarium; and funding to protect habitat and open spaces in the city
On Saturday, over a dozen Teamsters spent their day off volunteering in an Emergency Food Network (EFN) warehouse in Tacoma repacking frozen vegetables for hungry families in Pierce County.
"They had us packing up carrots today," said Mark Johnson, a retired Teamster from Pepsi who worked with the volunteer crew. "They're good for the eyesight and good for the brain."
EFN is the primary food distributor to more than 60 emergency food sites in Pierce County. To get this food distributed to individuals and families in need, EFN enlists volunteers to help repackaging fresh, frozen, and dry bulk foods into smaller, family-sized portions.
"We came to serve the community and give back a little bit of time for families who are hurting," said Dante Cobb, a Teamster at United Natural Foods, Inc.
"I feel it is important to feed the homeless - that's why we're here,"added Michelle Morrison, a Local 117 member at King County.
Over a three-hour period, Local 117 members repackaged over 14,000 lbs of frozen carrots that will be distributed through area food banks.
If you would like to volunteer for future Teamster efforts to help feed families in need, give us a call at 206-441-4860.
Uber drivers in Seattle, who founded the App-Based Drivers’ Association (ABDA) last month, have sparked new organizing efforts by Uber drivers in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles drivers have reached out to Seattle organizers and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters looking for guidance and support.
“Uber drivers in cities across the country are facing the same issues that we are, and many have reached out to us. Like us, they are concerned about unjust working conditions, and they are looking for fair treatment, dignity, and a voice at work,” said Daniel Ajema, one of the founders of ABDA.
The Los Angeles drivers, frustrated by what they perceive as a general lack of communication, arbitrary treatment, and unfair business practices, have planned to hold a demonstration at the Uber Technology, Inc. offices in Santa Monica, California, on June 24.
Drivers called for a demonstration when the company informed its Uber Black and Uber SUV drivers that vehicle models older than 2010 would be pulled from the platform. Drivers were only given two weeks to purchase newer vehicles. Although Uber offered to let the older cars and SUVs function under the less expensive UberX platform, Uber drivers are concerned that the fuel-to-fare ratio makes the option economically unfeasible.
Uber drivers in California are also supporting proposed legislation (AB 2293) that would require TNCs to purchase insurance for vehicles utilizing their technologies from the moment the driver application is activated until it is turned off. UberX vehicles are operating without such coverage, as Uber has exploited an ambiguity in the rules which fails to define when an Uber driver is in service.
Teamster representatives in Seattle recently negotiated an agreement that, if approved by the City Council, would require TNCs to provide “app-on to app-off” insurance for its drivers, but the company appears to be blocking the proposed California bill.
With a recent infusion of 1.5 billion dollars in venture capital, Uber is now valued at 18.2 billion dollars.
Check out photos from the 2014 Teamsters Car & Bike Show, held on Saturday at the Teamsters Hall in Tukwila.
The event raised over $5,400 for the Union's Solidarity Scholarship for continuing education.
2014 Teamsters Car & Bike Show Winners
- People’s Choice Best Car – Richard Knowles (Local 174 Retiree)
- People’s Choice Best Bike – James Scearcy (FSA - Local 117)
- People’s Choice Most Unique – Randall Marquis (City of Auburn - Local 117)
- Judge’s Choice Best Bike – Glenn Magat (FSA - Local 117)
- Judge’s Choice Most Unique – James Morgan (Praxair - Local 117)
Thank you to all of the members and their families who came out to make it such a great event!
Last night's general membership meeting kicked off with Secretary-Treasurer Thompson awarding the 2014 Jeff Alfieri Scholarship to four ambitious and talented young women.
Samantha Haley, Gabrielle Hickok, Madison Budinich, and Monica Szelachowski received this year's honors after demonstrating academic excellence, determination, and drive in the scholarship application process.
- Samantha, a senior at Rainier High School, plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in biology and ultimately a doctorate in veterinarian medicine at Washington State University. Her father, William Haley, is a member at Golden State Foods.
- Madison, whose father, Thomas Budinich, works at Franz Bakery, intends to pursue a pre-medicine and linguistics degree at the University of Washington.
- Monica will use her scholarship award to continue her studies of acupuncture and oriental medicine as a student at Bastyr University. Her father, Michael Gwerder, is a member at Lineage.
- Gabrielle plans to study civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington. In her application, Gabrielle writes: "I value the Union and their mission within the community. My father, Kevin Hickok, has been with Local 117 for over 34 years, and I always hear from him how grateful and indebted he is to the Union."
Congratulations to the award recipients and special thanks to the Alfieri family for generously founding the scholarship award in honor of their son Jeff, a former Local 117 Business Representative.
The Local 117 Jeff Alfieri scholarship of up to $2000 is awarded to outstanding students whose parents are members of Teamsters Local 117.
Please join us for one of our signature Teamster charity events – our annual Teamsters Car & Bike Show – on June 21 at the Teamsters Union hall in Tukwila (14675 Interurban Ave. S).
Rods, customs, classics, and choppers will be on display starting at 9:30 a.m. There will be raffle prizes, goodie bags, cheap grub, and a bouncy house, balloon artist, and coloring station for your kids.
If you’d like to enter a vehicle in the show, you can access a pre-registration form here. The first 30 members who pre-register will receive a complimentary Teamsters T-shirt. If you and your family are just coming to browse and enjoy the day, the event is free!
This event is sponsored by Teamsters Local 117, Local 174, JC 28, and the Teamsters caucuses to benefit the caucuses and the Local 117 Solidarity Scholarship for continuing education.
The Seattle City Council took an historic step yesterday toward beating back income inequality and improving the lives of workers. On a vote of 9-0, the Council approved an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour after an adjustment period.
The vote came after an intense two-hour debate, during which workers and labor activists urged the Council to strengthen the ordinance. Councilmember Kshama Sawant introduced amendments that would have sped up implementation, removed tip credit language, and eliminated a sub-minimum wage for youth and the disabled, but her bids were summarily rejected by a majority of the Council.
But even without these fortifying measures, the ordinance remains a tremendous victory for workers. Seattle can now claim the highest minimum wage in the country. Effective April 1 of 2015, thousands of low-wage workers will see increases in their take home pay. The new law means that fewer workers will have to rely on public assistance, and more working families will have the resources to pay the rent, send their kids to the doctor, and put food on the table.
Throughout the process, members of Teamsters 117 have been vocal supporters for increasing the minimum wage. We have participated in the planning of events, met with councilmembers and the mayor, emailed and called our representatives, and helped forge the $15 For Seattle coalition, an alliance of labor and community groups aimed at building a stronger, more just society for workers.
We have been involved in the fight for $15 for good reason. A $15/hr minimum wage will directly impact Local 117 members in the parking and steel industries in Seattle. Hundreds of Teamster members will benefit from the new law. A higher minimum wage will boost the local economy by putting more money in people’s pockets. Workers will have more disposable income to spend at local grocery stores, restaurants, and small businesses. Local 117 members in other industries will benefit as well. With a higher floor, we can now make a much stronger case for negotiating higher wages for all of our members.
This victory couldn't have been possible without workers banding together and taking action to demand change. Brave fast food workers at McDonalds and other chains around the country went on strike to protest low wages. Baggage handlers, fuelers, wheelchair pushers, parking attendants and others in and around Sea-Tac Airport spoke out against their poverty wages and in favor a fair day’s pay.
With CEO earnings skyrocketing to 257 times the average worker, this vote marks an important shift in an economic landscape that has benefited the 1% at the expense of workers. Now, more workers can gain a foothold into the middle class and realize our society’s promise – that we can build better, more secure lives for ourselves and our children.
Seattle is leading the country in the effort to make a livable wage a reality for all workers.
On Thursday, a City Council committee unanimously passed an ordinance that will increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour after a phase-in period.
The committee voted to adopt some minor changes to the Mayor’s initial proposal, but the overall spirit remains in tact. The full Council is expected to finalize the resolution on Monday and send it to the Mayor to be signed into law.
This victory marks a critical step toward rebuilding a strong middle class. No one deserves to live in poverty. And when we lift the floor for low-wage workers, we can make a strong case for increasing wages for Union members as well.
To celebrate this victory, please join us for a rally outside City Hall (600 4th Ave.) on Monday, June 2 at 1 P.M. At 2 P.M., we will pack the Council chambers to show our support for the law. After the vote, most likely around 3 P.M., we will be gathering again at the City Hall plaza at 4th and Cherry to continue the celebration.
Thank you to all of you who emailed and called your representatives. Your voice made all the difference!