When we fight, we win!

Private Sector

Welcome New Bus Rep Kris Fish

Kris-Fish-Photo.jpgLet's give a warm Teamsters welcome to our new private sector Business Representative, Kris Fish.  Kris joins the private sector team with 16 years of experience as a Teamster.

Kris became a Teamster in 1998 when he went to work in the warehouse at Pacific Seasonings. A year later, he moved to Nabisco/Kraft/Mondelez, another Teamster shop, where he worked for 14 1/2 years, with the last six years in the role of Shop Steward.

Kris was one of the founders of the Union’s Teamsters for Tomorrow (TFT) caucus, and he helped organize the first TFT conference in the country, which was held at Teamsters Local 117 in 2009.

“I want to achieve greater membership involvement in all areas to help make our Union a powerful force to be reckoned with,”
- Kris Fish  

He is a hardcore Union activist and stood in solidarity with his Brothers and Sisters on strike at Seattle Cold Storage, UNFI, Coke, and Davis Wire. Kris was also instrumental in achieving the passage of the Sea-Tac Good Jobs ordinance that raised the minimum wage for thousands of low-wage workers around Sea-Tac Airport.

In recognition of his outstanding leadership qualities, Kris was hired as a Local 117 Business Representative, and he began his job on April 16, 2014.

Kris will have a diverse jurisdiction and will represent members in a variety of industries. 

Transportation Network Drivers Vote to Form Association


Uber and UberX drivers met in Tukwila today to begin the process of forming an association which will work with Teamsters Local 117.

The drivers voted to approve by-laws, and they elected a 7-member leadership council that will run the day-to-day operations of the organization.  Job security, wage gouging, public safety, and a refusal of transportation network companies, such as Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft, to adhere to local laws and industry standards compelled the drivers to organize.

The new association will be called the App-Based Drivers’ Association (ABDA).

“We congratulate the drivers on taking this courageous step,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We intend to use our expertise in representing workers to ensure that the drivers are treated fairly and their concerns are heard.”

The new association plans to tackle a number of issues. Drivers want to bring transportation companies into compliance with municipal, county, and state regulations and laws.  They want sufficient liability coverage to protect themselves and their customers, and they want companies to end the predatory practices of disconnecting drivers from their apps without cause and arbitrarily gouging drivers’ pay.

“Today is an historic day for all app-based drivers in King County,” said Daniel Ajema, an Uber driver, who is one of the organizers of the association.  “We set a framework for the future and for the workers who follow us.  From now on, our dignity will be protected in the workplace.”

“The association will give us a voice, more control over our working conditions, and an opportunity to be heard.  Teamsters will help us with that.” said Ydediya Seifu, another organizer and elected leader.

TNC Drivers to Launch New Association


Hundreds of TNC drivers from Uber and UberX will gather at the Teamsters building in Tukwila this Sunday to launch a new association designed to protect drivers’ rights, promote public safety, and raise standards across Seattle’s personal transportation industry.

At the meeting, drivers are expected to approve by-laws for the association and submit nominations for a leadership council.  TNC drivers will be joined by members of the Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association (WWTCOA), who will share their experiences operating their own organization.

TNC drivers made the decision to form the association after a political forum event last month.  At the April 13 forum, a panel of Uber drivers expressed a number of concerns about the company, including its arbitrary deactivation of drivers from the Uber app, flaws in the company’s rating system, and the company’s unwillingness to provide sufficient liability coverage to protect drivers and their customers.

TNC drivers will be available to speak with the media before and after the meeting.

TNC Drivers
WWTCOA Taxi Cab Operators
Tracey A. Thompson - Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 117
Dawn Gearhart - Business Representative, Teamsters Local 117

Sunday, May 18, 2014
3:30 P.M.

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

The Voice of the Members

Check out this awesome composite of Local 117 members talking about their Union.  It comes from Erik Olsen, a Shop Steward at Seattle Cold Storage.  

Erik is a member of our new Communications Committee. If you would like to join the your Union's Communications Committee, contact Paul Zilly at 206-441-4860 ext. 1269.


First Teamsters Contract for Warehouse Workers at IKEA

Congratulations to 64 warehouse workers at the IKEA distribution center in Frederickson, WA who voted overwhelmingly last night to ratify their first union contract.  Welcome to Teamsters Local 117!

The workers came together seeking job security, respect, fair and equal treatment, and a voice at work. 

“We are excited to have the strength of the Teamsters behind us,” said Mario Sapilak, a 4-year IKEA employee.

The new contract secures wage increases for the group, health and welfare protections, seniority rights, protections against arbitrary discipline, and a process for settling disputes.

The contract negotiation process began after workers voted to become Teamsters in an NLRB election on September 18. 

Prior to the election, workers received letters of support from UNI – Global Union, which represents 20 million service sector workers worldwide, as well as unions in Sweden that represent workers at IKEA.

“Workers at IKEA showed incredible strength and solidarity throughout this process,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117.  “They stuck together and stood up for fairness, equal treatment, and a voice at work.  With this vote, they have joined a union of 16,000 members strong who will fight on their behalf.  We are proud to have them standing with us.”

Workers Servicing Sea-Tac Airport Vote to Join Teamsters

Workers at two ATZ-owned parking lots (Doug Fox and Shuttle Park2) that serve Sea-Tac Airport have voted to join Teamsters Local 117.  The 40 workers came together seeking job security, fair and equal treatment, strong representation, and respect. The workers voted to become Teamsters in an NLRB election on April 18.

“We are excited to have the strength of the Teamsters behind us,” said Ahmed Dahir, a 2-year ATZ employee.  “The union gives us a voice and a chance to make a better life.”

The ATZ employees transport passengers to and from Sea-Tac Airport. They perform the same work as their counterparts at other parking facilities servicing the airport, but they are excluded from receiving the benefits of SeaTac’s new minimum wage ordinance.  Workers at the Shuttle Park2 lot are excluded because of the lot’s location just outside of the City of SeaTac; workers at the Doug Fox lot are excluded as a result of a King County judge’s ruling last December giving the Port of Seattle jurisdiction over the airport.  That ruling has been appealed to the state Supreme Court.

“We’re not waiting for the courts to rule on this, we need respect now.  Sea-Tac Airport brings millions of dollars into our community, but many workers are still struggling to make ends meet,” Dahir said.

Aramark Member Loses Home in Oso Tragedy


When tragedy strikes, a community finds strength in standing together. First responders rush to the scene, while neighbors, family, and co-workers step in to lend a helping hand. The Oso mudslide cut short the lives of at least 41 people, but it didn’t quell the spirit of those afflicted by the disaster.

Mike Andrews, a 7-year member with Aramark who lost his home in the slide, expressed deep gratitude for the help offered to him and his family. But it hasn’t been easy.

“It’s been a real struggle,” Andrews said. “With the water levels fluctuating, we’ve had a lot of challenges. We were able to rowboat in and collect some of our valuables. But the house is lost.”

DOCK TALK: News for Teamsters in the Grocery Industry


Check out the new issue of Dock Talk, the newsletter for Local 117 members in the grocery warehouse industry.  

Grocery distribution is one of our core industries, and this summer we are gearing up for contract negotiations with the four major grocery houses - Fred Meyer, Safeway, SuperValu, and Unified Grocers.

Fighting for Paid Sick Days - Tacoma Forum on April 8


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?