When we fight, we win!

Private Sector


Fighting for Paid Sick Days - Tacoma Forum on April 8

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Join us at the Tacoma Citizens' Forum on April 8th at 5:30 PM at Tacoma City Hall to speak out in support of Paid Sick Days for all Tacoma residents.

Teamsters 117 is part of the Healthy Tacoma Coalition, an organization that is making progress with Councilmembers on moving an ordinance forward, but we need your help to reinforce what we’ve been saying all along:

  • Paid Sick Days are the right thing to do; and 40% of Tacoma workers shouldn't have to suffer.

40,000 workers in Tacoma don’t receive a paid day off to take care of themselves or a loved one. We believe that every worker should be treated with dignity, and have the ability to perform in a safe and healthy workplace.

RSVP for this event here!


A Member Reflects on the Evolution of Local 117

Dewayne-Collins.jpgToday I pose the question:  How would you like to be part of a union that is built, designed, and ready for the 21st century.  Well guess what? You are a part.  A part of a well–oiled fighting machine that is ready for this war on workers. 

Teamsters Local 117 is not like most unions.   Instead of waiting for change, we change things.  Instead of waiting for employers to treat us with respect, we demand respect.  In a word, we adapt.  Adapt to the climate of the world we live in, while teaching members to adapt within their workplace environment.

So how did we get here?  


Members Speak Out: Johnny Uzzell, Aramark

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"I'm ready to do whatever it takes to build a stronger union - give as much as I can to this movement because it makes us stronger."

- Johnny Uzzell, 9-year member at Aramark


Fired Workers Picket SeaTac's Extra Park

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Workers at SeaTac's Extra Car Parking picketed the company today over retaliation and lost wages.

View photos from today's action here. 

The workers, who were joined by community activists and members of Teamsters 117, were fired after they asked Extra Park to comply with SeaTac Proposition 1 and pay them $15/hr, paid sick days, and other benefits approved by SeaTac voters last year.  

Wayne Armstrong was the first employee to be fired after filing the complaint.  He and other employees are paid $10.32/hour despite the fact that Extra Car Parking has more than 100 parking spaces (it has 5 lots throughout SeaTac) and employs more than 25 non-managerial employees (estimated more than 40). Those are the two thresholds set by Prop 1 for businesses.

Competitor employers, like MasterPark, are complying with Prop 1 and have not laid off any employees.


New Business Rep. Nancy Santos is No Nonsense

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When Teamsters Local 117 decided to hire Nancy Santos as a new Business Rep, I knew they had made an outstanding choice.  I was hired at the Fred Meyer warehouse in 1999, and one of the first things I noticed was a big sign, proclaiming Nancy as the most productive worker for the week.  As I would learn, this was not an unusual occurrence; her work ethic week in and week out was something to behold.  This was a worker at the top of the productivity list who did NOT kiss up to management.  In fact, she didn’t take nonsense from anybody, and would not only stand up for herself, but others as well.  

Nancy started at Fred Meyer when she was 16 year old, working at the Burien store for five years.  She had originally requested a transfer into her store’s Grocery Department, and had to stand by and watch as other male associates, with less seniority, were granted transfers ahead of her.  Denied the opportunity to advance at the store, she transferred to the warehouse in 1995, partly because she knew it was a Teamster warehouse.  One of the supervisors told her that they were reluctant to even approve the transfer, because they didn’t think that a woman could do the job.  Nancy proved them very very wrong.  

Both of Nancy’s parents were union, and her dad always told her, “Never take a job that isn’t union”.  Nancy always knew that being union meant something.  “As a kid, I always had the impression that you don’t mess with the Teamster," she said.  "Nowadays it’s commonplace for corporations and politicians to mess with the Teamsters, and all of the working class. People have died fighting for the rights and working conditions that too many people today take for granted.”


Gearing up for Grocery Negotiations

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Negotiations are set to begin this summer with the four major grocery houses:  Safeway, Fred Meyer, Unified Grocers, and SuperValu.

Grocery warehouse and distribution is one of our Local's core industries, so it is essential that we all rally together to support our Brothers and Sisters during the coming contract campaign.

"We need to show a willingness not to back down, and we need to make sure that members at all four distribution centers stick together." - Roger Fields, 31-year member at Supervalu 

The reps have been out in the shops, conducting votes for new Shop Stewards, and scheduling demands meetings.

In the next few weeks, we will be issuing a newsletter for members in the industry, Dock Talk.  

If you work in the grocery warehouse industry and have ideas for the newsletter or would like to contribute, please send me (Paul Zilly) an email.  Thanks! 


Driver Unity Rally at City Hall

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Drivers across Seattle’s personal transportation industry rallied at City Hall on Monday to demand regulatory changes that ensure safe and secure service to the public and dignified working conditions that allow drivers to earn a living wage.

Dozens of taxi drivers, for-hire drivers, and drivers from Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) attended the event. 

“All drivers – whether they drive a taxi, a for-hire vehicle, or an Uber towncar – deserve fair treatment and a living wage so that they can provide for their families,” said Rich Stolz, Executive Director of OneAmerica Votes, one of the sponsors of the event.  “The best way to achieve fairness is through safe, sensible regulation that puts workers and the traveling public first.”


Nancy Santos - New Business Representative

Nancy-Santos---PS-Business-Rep.jpgWe are excited to announce the hiring of Nancy Santos, a new Local 117 Business Representative for members in the private sector. 

Nancy became a Teamster in 1995 when she went to work at the Fred Meyer grocery distribution center in Puyallup.  Prior to her work in the warehouse, Nancy was a union retail clerk in a Fred Meyer store in Burien.

Nancy is an expert at building Teamster solidarity on the shop floor.  During a contract fight at Fred Meyer, she used her leadership, creativity, and resourcefulness to agitate, inform, and mobilize members around key issues.

“I would like to see more solidarity in the shops.  I don’t think people realize how much power they have when they stick together.” - Nancy Santos

She ordered “Union Til I Die” T-shirts, not just for her co-workers at Fred Meyer, but for Local 117 members across the grocery industry.  Since then, the shirt has become the top selling Teamsters apparel item at the Local. 

Nancy began her job at the Local on March 1, 2014.  Nancy will have a diverse jurisdiction and will represent members in a variety of industries.


Are you ready to march for $15?

It’s time to hit the streets to speak out for a higher minimum wage.  We’re hearing about proposals to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016. That’s good, but not good enough. We need a $15/hr minimum wage and we need it now!

There will be several events in Seattle and Tacoma leading up to a National Day of Action on March 15.  Hit the link on the event to RSVP:

Town Hall Meeting - Seattle
Wednesday, March 5 at 6 p.m.
1119 8th Ave, Seattle, WA

15Now March - Seattle
Saturday, March 15 at 1 p.m.
Judkins Park - 1119 23rd Ave S.

15Now Rally - Tacoma
Saturday, March 8th at 2:00 p.m.
Intersection of South 23rd Street and South Union Avenue

15Now Public Meeting - Tacoma
Saturday, March 15th – 4:00 p.m.
1102 Tacoma Avenue South

Let's help build the movement to raise the wage and end low pay!


Let's all Step up and Support Teamster Taxi Drivers

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There is no doubt that taxis drivers are under attack, and it's time for all organized labor – not just the Teamsters – to step up and support them.  

Last night, the city council watered down a proposal to cap the number of TNCs, such as UberX and Lyft, which are currently operating unlawfully in the city and essentially driving taxis out of business.