It’s a new day for Teamsters at Auto Warehousing. After a long contract fight, members voted to ratify what is clearly their best contract in years.
Members will see historically high wage increases in all three years of the agreement, greater retirement security, and an incredible 50% reduction in their monthly premium share on their health insurance.
"We came in aggressive... We’re already seeing positives out of that."
“We came in aggressive, we had points we wanted taken care of, and we argued those points. We’re already seeing positives out of that,” said Randy Chronister, a shop steward, member on the union bargaining committee, and Teamster of over nine years.
It wasn’t easy. The group overwhelmingly authorized a strike, and they voted down two previous proposals. Their militancy, Chronister said, arose because members felt the support of their union like never before and a dramatic increase in union visibility.
“We did BBQs, wore buttons, and posted pictures on the union’s website and Facebook page. Seeing our secretary-treasurer come down here, having our lead negotiator be the vice president of the union – people are feeling very much empowered.”
For a group that hasn’t filed more than a grievance or two in the last several years, these are big changes.
The trick, Chronister insists, is to sustain member involvement for the long run, now that the contract has ratified. “We need to continue doing what we’re doing with the shop stewards working with the union representatives, and making sure people are aware of their rights and empower them. We’re looking forward to that.”
John Scearcy, our union’s secretary-treasurer, says the changes he’s seen at Auto Warehousing have built a powerful foundation for the future. “Teamsters at Auto Warehousing fought incredibly hard to achieve meaningful improvements to their contract. They used their collective voice to demand respect in the workplace. Our goal is to continue to build this momentum so that we can achieve an even stronger contract three years from now.”
A small group of Teamsters who work at Wanke Cascade in Tukwila are all on the same page. The group voted unanimously last month to ratify a new 3-year contract.
"Thanks a billion times on our new contract! The BEST EVER!"
The agreement provides guaranteed wage increases nearly double that of the previous contract, and significant reductions in the amount members will be paying toward their medical.
“Thanks a billion times on our new contract! The BEST EVER!” wrote Shop Steward Craig Williams in an email to his union rep, John Howell, Jr. and lead negotiator, Paul Dascher.
This contract is one of over a dozen that Local 117 members have ratified over the last couple of months.
Our members at Wanke Cascade house flooring supplies, such as hardwood, laminate, and vinyl, for distribution throughout our region.
James Borsum will be representing Local 117 members in the recycle and dairy industries.
James Borsum got an early start as a Teamster, when he went to work at Sysco, in the food service industry, at the ripe old age of 18.
At Sysco, the benefits were better than his previous employer, wages were higher, and best of all, it was a union shop. Borsum bounced around at Sysco, selecting groceries, loading trucks and docking freight. After seven years, he bid into a position as a driver, and ultimately became one of the group’s shop stewards.
Borsum always wanted to be more involved in the union. “As a steward, you can stand up to the employer and say this is wrong, you need to fix it,” he said.
Taxi drivers are being fined $100 for speaking out about the disgusting state of Port bathrooms.
The Port of Seattle has stooped to a new low. The Port has issued $100 citations to taxi drivers who participated in peaceful demonstrations in August over the deplorable state of Port bathrooms for drivers, among other issues.
By protesting publicly, drivers finally compelled the Port to acknowledge the problem and take action to fix it. Previous efforts by the drivers to raise the bathroom issue with Port officials had fallen on deaf ears.
The Port has approved funding for the design and construction of the new bathrooms, but apparently the drivers who exercised their right to speak out on horrendous state of the old bathrooms will be picking up part of the tab.
Drivers have five days to pay the $100 or face suspension and additional citations from the Port. Some drivers have reportedly appealed the citations, only to have their appeals denied.
Taxi drivers pack the Port of Seattle Commission meeting room at Sea-Tac Airport to demand change.
It was not nearly enough. That was the consensus of dozens of Teamster taxi drivers who testified at yesterday’s Port of Seattle Commission meeting about the Port’s plan to lower the per-trip rate drivers are paying.
Drivers have been forking over $7.00 to Eastside For Hire, the company that holds the Airport taxi contract, every time they pick up a passenger at the Airport. That amount was set to increase by $.50 at the beginning of October.
But after months of pressure from drivers and the community to improve conditions at the Airport, the Port stepped in to stop the increase and acted instead to decrease that amount to $6 per trip.
Drivers say it’s too little to make a difference. “Thank you for the reduction, but this does not solve the problem,” said Ali Sugule, who has been driving at the Airport for two years. “We need a voice at the negotiations table. We don’t want this contract going forward because it is hurting us.”
Airport taxi drivers have been calling out Eastside for months for multiple violations of its contract with the Port and point to a rigged system that enriches both Eastside and the Port at their expense.
New Local 117 union rep, Jonathan Makue, has deep roots in Hawaiian culture. His family’s ancestors date back to King Kamehameha, the islands’ founder, and his grandparents grew up speaking the Hawaiian language.
Makue spent his early years traveling back and forth between his grandparent’s place on Oahu and the mainland where his father had built a business in the fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest.
As a young man, he spent five years working in the canneries in Alaska. He started out on the slime line, cutting up salmon and yanking out the guts, promoted to forklift operator, and finally floor manager. “We were in the middle of nowhere,” Makue says. “You could see Russia on a clear day.”
After Alaska, he worked for a short time down on the Ballard docks, before landing his first Teamsters job at the Safeway Beverage plant in Bellevue in 2012.
“It was the best decision I ever made,” he said. “I finally felt like a human being who had rights.” He appreciated the just cause protections at his new job, the negotiated wage increases, and the Teamster benefits.
"I’ve always known that I wanted to be part of something greater than myself."
He quickly got involved with the union. He helped organize a meeting with Kris Fish, the group’s Rep, to talk about getting a shop steward for workers on swing shift. Kris agreed and Makue was voted into that role. In September, Makue joined the staff of Local 117 and will represent Teamsters in the beverage, cold storage, and light construction industries.
He already feels right at home in his new job. “I’ve always known that I wanted to be part of something greater than myself. Once I became a union rep, I knew what that was. The Teamsters have taught me to lead by example, with respect, discipline, and integrity.”
Members from TransDev at our General Membership Meeting on September 21.
Our Local Union will be contributing $1000 to aid in the ongoing disaster relief effort caused by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
We passed the hat at our General Membership Meeting on September 21 and collected over $400. Thank you to all of the members who were able to chip in.
Our Union's Executive Board will be matching that donation and rounding up to make an even $1000.
Our hearts go out to the many families stricken by the storms that have ravaged southeastern Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean over the last month.
A small group of Teamsters who work for Republic Parking in downtown Seattle voted to ratify a new three-year contract last week.
It was unanimous – all members voted in favor of the agreement. Members will receive wage increases in every year of the contract and increased contributions to their retirement plan.
"The group felt that greater retirement security was an important goal for this contract and they accomplished that," said union rep Takele Gobena.
Another huge improvement for members was the addition of vision coverage to their health and welfare plan.
The Teamsters covered under the new contract work at the Puget Sound Plaza building and in the garage of the IBM building. They greet customers, help them process their tickets, and assist with building maintenance.
When disaster strikes, Teamsters roll in to help out. That’s what three members at Republic Services did when their boss asked for volunteers to help clean up in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey that devastated south Texas earlier this month.
One of them was Ben Goodrich, a Local 117 residential yard waste driver, who has serviced neighborhoods in Snohomish County for the last ten years.
Ben jumped at the idea of pitching in to assist in the hurricane relief effort. “I felt I could come down here and work my ass off and help clean this place up, but I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he said.
Ben says he's witnessed destruction on a colossal scale. He’s been especially struck by the number of displaced people – families moving into hotels and living on the streets. “It’s pretty humbling."
Since arriving in Houston just after Labor Day, he has been at it 10-12 hours a day, hauling away mounds of rubbish from houses, some of which were fully submerged in the floodwaters. He plans to continue aiding in the effort until at least September 23.
In the wake of the Trump Administration’s announcement that the DACA program is being terminated, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the Washington Dream Coalition are hosting community forums to help answer your questions.
Get the latest information, talk to an immigration attorney, and learn about other resources for DACA recipients and their families.
The City of Seattle has put together a resource guide that includes the NWIRP forums and other events where you can get more information.
If you have questions, contact Adriana at 206-441-4860 ext. 1221.