Local 117 members packing up veggies for families in need at the Emergency Food Network warehouse in Tacoma.
On March 3, we did it again! Over a dozen Teamster volunteers came together at an Emergency Food Network (EFN) warehouse in Tacoma to repackage over 5,400 lbs of frozen vegetables in three hours for hungry families in Pierce County.
EFN is the primary food distributor to more than 60 emergency food sites in Pierce County. It enlists volunteers to help repackage fresh, frozen, and dry bulk foods into smaller, family-sized portions that will be distributed to the areas food banks.
“I appreciate my union facilitating this opportunity to volunteer,” said Brandon Sitko, a member from Lineage Cold Storage who has been volunteering with Teamsters at EFN since the first event in April of 2014. “My family joins me, and we always feel good knowing we made a difference.”
“It is only a three hours of my time on a Saturday that mean so much to others in need," added Jason Hernandez, a Teamster at Americold. "I am proud to be part of this and prouder to be a Teamster.”
"My family joins me, and we always feel good knowing we made a difference."
Since 2014, Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy has made it a priority to connect staff, members, their families and friends through community volunteerism.
“At every event we build teamwork and strengthen our commitment to each other and the community,” he shared with the group of volunteers. “This is a small example of what we can do together collectively and achieve something that none of us could have accomplished alone.”
We are already planning another volunteer day at EFN. If you would like to volunteer for future Teamster efforts to help feed families in need, give us a call at 206-441-4860.
Teamster press operators at the Seattle Times celebrate after ratifying their contract.
Teamsters who operate the presses at the Seattle Times are celebrating their new contract. The group voted overwhelmingly to ratify the agreement last weekend.
Highlights of the pact include a meaningful bump in hourly wages and improvements to sick time and holiday pay.
“We’ve been trying to get double time and a half for holiday pay forever,” said Tyrone Love, a shop steward and pressman of 22 years. “This time we were able to get it for three of the major holidays – Christmas, New Years, and Thanksgiving. Guys are really happy about that.”
Great to see members who work at the airport's rental car facility today.
A manager at one of the transportation companies - Fleetlogix - tried to block our visitation access last week and we pushed back in a big way. The company has already been sanctioned by the NLRB for intimidating workers who were wearing buttons supporting the union.
We'll be negotiating again on January 19 and 24. It's time to get a fair contract that respects our members and the important services they provide!
Scott Anderson giving the gift of life in the Safeway breakroom in the Auburn warehouse.
Scott Anderson, a Teamster of 43 years in the grocery industry, is soft-spoken, but don’t let his demeanor fool you.
Under the quiet exterior lies a man of great compassion and conviction who exudes a moral authority and a desire to help others through his actions.
Scott has served our Local 117 membership as a trustee on our union's executive board on and off for 20 years.
Since the mid-1980s, he has organized semi-annual blood drives for his co-workers in the Safeway warehouse. Over that time span, thousands of Teamsters have donated their blood to help save lives in our community. Their donations complement our union’s annual blood drive that takes place at the Teamsters hall each November.
"The Teamster blood drives come at a really important time of year for us."
“The Teamster blood drives come at a really important time of year for us,” says Robin Lulich, a donor resource consultant with Cascade Regional Blood Services. “There is usually high blood usage before and after the holidays. The Teamsters help boost the inventory back up.”
That means ensuring that there are ample blood reserves when disaster strikes, like when an Amtrak train derailed in Dupont last month. Cancer survivors, burn victims, surgery patients, sick kids – they all benefit from donated blood.
For Scott, the impetus to enlist his co-workers touches close to home.
A year ago, a fire broke out at the Woodland Park Zoo and threatened hundreds of animals.
Thanks to the heroic work of Seattle-area firefighters, nearly all of the animals were saved. On behalf of all members of Teamsters 117, shop steward Peter Miller sends his gratitude to the firefighters for their heroic work in saving the animals.
Thank you firefighters and happy holidays!
Teamster union rep Takele Gobena (l) together with Local 117 members who work at ABM Parking.
Congrats to Local 117 members at ABM Parking who voted unanimously to ratify a new 3-year contract last week.
The group, which provides valet and cashier services at the Virginia Mason Medical Center, will see wage increases, improved vacation leave, along with a number of other improvements.
"This was my first time negotiating with the company," said Abiy Derseh, a shop steward and 9-year employee. "I learned a lot about the union - it was a good experience for me. And we got a good deal - we improved a lot from the last contract."
Despite the gains, Derseh expressed some concerns about possible layoffs as a result of increased automation in the garage. "We're not sure if they are going to try to surprise us and say, 'Next week you guys aren't here anymore.' We don't want that because we need to prepare for it. They have to negotiate a time frame for us."
Derseh took his concerns to union rep Takele Gobena, who helped the group negotiate a severance package, seniority rights, and relocation opportunities in the event of layoffs. The ability to mitigate the impact of layoffs is another advantage to being part of a union.
Whatever happens next year, the group is excited about the improvements they've made in their new contract. "Everyone is happy," Deresh said.
Teamsters at the Spokesman Review unanimously ratify contract, show the power of unity in an open shop
Teamster 117 members who operate the presses at the Spokesman Review.
There are certain fundamentals to a union contract. In a worker-friendly state like Washington, union security is high on the list. Union security insures that all employees in the bargaining unit pay their fair share for representation under the contract.
In right-to-work states, workers lose their freedom to negotiate union security, which can severely weaken the union.
But that doesn't have to be the case. A recent contract win at the Spokesman Review demonstrates that union members can achieve significant contractual gains even without union security, so long as they stick together.
Last month, Teamsters who run the press room at the paper voted unanimously to ratify a contract that contains the largest wage increases in years along with important language improvements.
The group will see protections against subcontracting, stronger seniority rights, better language around discipline, sick leave and hours of work, and a whole host of other improvements. They did it because they rallied together to support their union.
"Everybody that's in our shop was a part of the union," said Ken Coburn, a shop steward with 30 years at the paper. "I think the company was concerned that we might strike. And it could have happened - we could have shut them down."
"The company knew that we had huge involvement in the union."
In years past that wasn't the case. Even leading up to negotiations, several members were behind on their dues. Union rep, Matt House, met with the group and told them that their unity was key to winning a strong contract.
"Matt was awesome," said Jeff Weidert, a pressman with 40 years in the industry. "He's focused - laser-beamed. And he knows when to call B.S." Weidert and Coburn worked together to get their co-workers caught up on their dues, which sent a powerful message to the company.
"The company knew that we had huge involvement in the union," Weidert said. "With the power we had, we were able to take the teeth out of some of their proposals and we were able to negotiate some safeguards. I can't tell you how happy we are."
With open shop likely coming to the public sector next year, the lessons at the Spokesman Review are telling: When workers stand together in their union, they can thrive and win strong contracts, even in a right-to-work environment.
Congratulations to the newest members of Teamsters Local 117! A group of Kennel Aides who work at the Tacoma Humane Society have voted unanimously to join our union.
The group got together last night to celebrate winning a voice at work.
If you are covered by a Teamsters medical plan through the Washington Teamsters Welfare Trust, you can save on your 2018 medical expenses by taking your confidential Health Assessment.
Both you and your eligible spouse or covered domestic partner must take the Health Assessment between November 1 and December 15 to qualify for the reduction.
For members covered under plans A, B, C, and Z and the Kaiser Permanente Options Plan, your annual deductible in 2018 will be $200 less for individual coverage and up to $600 less for family coverage than if you do not take the assessment.
To take the assessment, visit wateamsters.vivacity.com. If you don't have internet access, call Vivacity at 855-784-4562 to request a paper version. Kaiser Permanete Plan Participants go to www.ghc.org or call Kaiser at 866-458-5277 to request a paper version.
If you have questions, talk to your union representative.
Yury Silva (left) counting ratification votes along with fellow Teamsters.
Teamsters at Fred Meyer voted resoundingly in favor of a fully-recommended contract proposal last weekend.
This was not an easy win. With Teamsters securing strong contracts at Safeway and SuperValu earlier this year, Fred Meyer workers authorized a strike in July by a vote of 332-1 and voted down two subsequent proposals.
John Scearcy, our union’s secretary-treasurer, said that the workers’ collective power brought the company back to the negotiating table. “By standing together and demanding a better deal, our members got a proposal that is commensurate with industry standards and will lift up their families.”
“We are the number one distribution center,” said Yury Silva, a shop steward who participated in the tough negotiations. “Our co-workers wanted our contract to put us at number one.” Among the achieved benefits was a reduction in family healthcare cost, protected vacation leave, and solid wage and retirement increases.
This win was a result of workers feeling empowered to not settle for less and be on the same footing with the grocery giant. “I am proud to work for Fred Meyer and I am proud to be a Teamster,” concluded Silva. “Our union is only as strong as the people who work there, and that’s us.”