When we fight, we win!

Private Sector

Fred Meyer Bargaining Breaks Down; Food Distribution at Risk


Contract negotiations involving more than 400 warehouse workers, represented by Teamsters Local 117, and Fred Meyer broke off last night.  Key issues in bargaining are health care and Fred Meyer’s insistence on language that would allow the company to outsource the workers’ jobs to a third-party subcontractor. 

“Grocery warehouse workers at Fred Meyer form a critical link in the food supply chain that helps feed Washington families.  They perform physically demanding work under a tight production standard.  Together with workers on the farms and in the stores, they help keep our food healthy and safe.  When Fred Meyer intimidates workers, threatens to outsource their jobs, or insists on degrading their medical coverage, it harms the entire community,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.

Teamsters Casino Night - Sept. 27 - Tickets Here!



Get ready to cut loose and have some fun!  Black Teamsters United is hosting our first-ever Teamsters Casino Night on Saturday, September 27 starting at 8 PM at the Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila.  

All Teamsters, family members and the general public are welcome to attend!  Proceeds from this event will go to the Black Teamsters United and a local sickle cell anemia foundation to help fight cancer.

The price of tickets is: $50 per person.  The ticket includes:

  • Beef brisket, pulled pork sliders, wings, beans & slaw
  • Gaming chips, “re-buys” possible
  • Two beverage tickets
  • Dancing with live DJ
  • Eligible for raffle items (two 32" Vizio TVs, 2 Seahawks tickets, more!)
  • Grand Prize (for most chip earner)

Buy tickets online or talk to your Business Representative for more information.

Fred Meyer Teamsters Vote to Authorize Strike


Teamster warehouse workers employed at the Fred Meyer grocery distribution center in Puyallup voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike over the weekend.  The final vote was 241-2.  Voting took place at the Teamsters Union hall in Tukwila. 

Fred Meyer’s insistence on subcontracting language that threatens Union members’ job security and its unwillingness to take a firm position on health care led to the vote.

“Fred Meyer wants the ability to outsource our members’ jobs to a third party, which could harm our local economy.  The company is also unwilling to set parameters with respect to health care.  Our members deserve to know how much they will be paying toward their health care over the term of the contract.  So far, Fred Meyer has been unwilling to negotiate over those parameters,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. 

BTU Teamsters Help Save Lives, Raise School Supplies for Kids


The Black Teamsters United were at the Fred Meyer in Renton on Saturday for their annual blood drive and back-to-school charity event.

Individuals who stopped by the Teamsters tent were able to donate blood courtesy of the the Cascade Regional Blood Services.  Many people also donated back-to-school supplies at the event for children in need.

BTU gave away 3 boxes of school supplies and raised another $197 in donations.  22 community members donated blood at the event.

The BTU group served hot dogs and burgers to participants, sold T-shirts, and promoted another charity event - their Teamsters Casino Night - which is scheduled for September 27.  Tickets for the Casino Night event are $50.  Proceeds from the event will go to BTU and a local sickle cell anemia foundation to help fight cancer.  

You can buy tickets for Teamsters Casino Night online here.

BTU's mission is: "To provide Teamsters with an opportunity to be in an inclusive environment that will enrich, embrace, and respect the diversity of its members."  Membership to BTU is open to any member of Teamster Joint Council #28 in good standing.  

For more information, talk to your Business Representative, or register for the caucus online.

Dock Talk Grocery Newsletter - New Issue!


Check out the new issue of Dock Talk, the newsletter for our Brothers and Sisters at Teamsters 117 who work in the grocery distribution industry.  

For our grocery members, things are heating up at Fred Meyer, where contract negotiations have bogged down and members are fighting for respect.  

This weekend, Fred Meyer Teamsters will be meeting for a bargaining update and to take a strike authorization vote.  Fred Meyer remains the only Teamster grocery warehouse in the area that has not settled its contract.  Members at Safeway, SuperValu and Unified Grocery overwhelmingly ratified their agreements last month. 

Time to get with the program, Fred Meyer!

View a PDF of your Local 117 Dock Talk newsletter.

Teamsters Want Answers in Sysco - US Foods Merger


Dozens of Local 117 Teamsters rallied in front of Sysco and US Foods warehouses in Fife and Kent yesterday in a coordinated Day of Action to draw attention to the proposed corporate merger of the two largest food service companies in the country. Similar rallies took place at locations across the country.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions about the merger," said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.  "So far, Sysco has not been forthright about how its acquisition of US Foods will impact jobs, competitiveness in the industry, and consumers.  Our members have worked hard to build these companies into immensely profitable food conglomerates - they deserve answers."

Local 117 members at US Foods and Sysco were joined at the rally by members at Fred Meyer, Lineage Logistics, and Davis Wire. Teamsters at both locations distributed leaflets and waved signs to ongoing traffic that read, "It's our work - we'll fight for it!"

"A big issue for us is job security - there is always the threat of them taking our work and moving it to another warehouse," said Wayne Schuler, a Shop Steward who works in the freezer at US Foods. 

Sysco’s $8.2 billion buyout is currently under review by the Federal Trade Commission and a multi-state committee of attorneys general, tasked with examining the effects on competition.

Sysco and US Foods are the two largest providers of food service supplies in an industry built on contracts with not only restaurants, but also multimillion dollar federal and state deals with the military, schools and universities, prisons and other agencies as well as airports, hospitals and hotels.

Teamsters represent more than 7,600 Sysco warehouse workers and drivers and nearly 4,000 at US Foods covering 70 warehouses in the U.S.

View photos from yesterday's action on Flickr.


Members at 3 Major Grocery Houses Ratify Contracts

Hundreds of Teamsters at three grocery warehouses – Safeway, SuperValu, and Unified Grocers – voted overwhelmingly to ratify their contracts over the weekend. The agreements contain annual wage increases and protections against subcontracting and the rising cost of health care.  Voting took place in Tukwila and Tacoma on July 19 and 20. 

“Our members in the grocery distribution industry help maintain the supply chain that feeds hundreds of thousands of families across the Puget Sound region and the West,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We worked hard with these companies to achieve a settlement that is both good for business and values our members’ labor.  That’s why grocery warehouse workers at Safeway ratified their contract 140-1.”

With the three contracts ratified, Fred Meyer is the only Teamster grocery distributor in the area that has not settled its contract.  “We are still early in the process with Fred Meyer, and we are hopeful that we can achieve a comparable agreement that our members can ratify,” Thompson said. 

Bargaining between Teamsters Local 117 and Fred Meyer started on June 13.  The parties have met two times and are scheduled to negotiate again on July 22.  The contract between the Union and Fred Meyer covers 407 workers, who are employed at the company’s distribution center in Puyallup.  The facility serves approximately 140 stores in the region. 

Workers in the grocery warehouse industry perform physically demanding work under a tight production standard.  They work in ambient, refrigerated and freezer warehouse environments, manually handling heavy cases and operating forklifts and pallet jacks to receive, load and stock grocery products. 

Fred Meyer is a subsidiary of Kroger, Inc., the second-largest grocery retailer in the country.  In 2013, Kroger reported sales of $98.4 billion and profits of $1.5 billion.  Teamsters Local 117 represents approximately 16,000 members, with over 1000 members who work in the grocery warehouse industry.

Secretary-Treasurer's Message: Welcome New GCIU Members!

Tracey-A.-Thompson---Local-117.jpgBrothers and Sisters:

Please join me in welcoming into our Union over 400 new members of Teamsters Local 117 who work in the graphic communications industry. 

These new Teamsters come to us as the result of a merger that was approved by the members of Graphic Communications International Union Local 767-M and the members of Teamsters Local 117.  The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Teamsters Joint Council No. 28 both approved the merger along with the Executive Boards of GCIU Local 767-M and your Local Union. 

Your Union’s new members work in all craft and skill areas in the printing and publishing industry. Every day, they help print, produce and design numerous publications, including the Seattle Times.  They operate web and sheet-fed, offset, letterpress, and other specialty presses, in shops like Urban Press in SODO and Capitol City Press in Olympia.  They handle binding, finishing and shipping of finished products. They are also journalists, graphic artists, typesetters, sales people and support staff.

This group of talented professionals in the graphic communications field will make our Union stronger and even more diverse.  I am excited to have them join us.

I am also excited to announce that Teamsters Local 117 has hired former GCUI Local 767-M President Brian Earl to serve as the Business Representative for members in the industry.   Brian is an attorney by trade; he has longstanding relationships with our new members and a profound knowledge of the industry.  Brian can be reached at 206-441-4860 ext. 1248 or brian.earl@teamsters117.org.  

Thank you for all that you do, and once again, let’s give a warm Teamsters welcome to our new members of Teamsters Local 117!

In solidarity,

Tracey Thompson

Taxi Driver Hospitality Course a Success!


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. 

Keep Walmart Bags out of our Lunchroom!

WTF-Walmart-bag.jpgQuite 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.