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.
Drivers in Seattle’s for-hire industry expressed disappointment at yesterday's order by the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to temporarily block Seattle’s collective bargaining law.
“We’ve been waiting for two years to be union, to be human beings,” said Mustafe Abdi, an Uber driver and member of the App-Based Drivers Association (ABDA). “They say we are partners, we are not partners. We need medical, we need retirement, we need Social Security. We don’t make enough money, we don’t feel safe.”
Seattle for-hire drivers who work for companies like Uber and Lyft are not protected by traditional labor laws, such as Seattle's $15 an hour minimum wage law and its paid sick and safe ordinance.
"We've been waiting for two years to be union, to be human beings."
Uber and Lyft drivers sought assistance from Teamsters Local 117 to improve their pay and working conditions. In 2014, drivers formed ABDA to promote fairness, justice, and transparency in the industry. They helped pass a 2015 law that gave drivers in the City of Seattle the right to unionize.
On Thursday, August 24, Judge Robert Lasnik of the federal District Court of Washington issued an order that lifted a preliminary injunction blocking the law. Yesterday’s ruling by the 9th Circuit temporarily puts the law on hold again.
“We are confident the 9th Circuit will uphold the lower court’s ruling that gives drivers a voice as intended under the law. For-hire drivers should have the same right to self-determination shared by millions of working people across the country. Like other workers, they should be able to stand together in their union to improve their pay and working conditions,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.
“We urge Uber to stop disenfranchising its drivers by trying to block the law. For-hire companies like Uber should welcome the law as an opportunity to forge a meaningful partnership with drivers to improve our economy and raise up safety standards for the public.”
Teamsters Local 117's statement on Judge Lasnik's ruling regarding for-hire law:
We are pleased to see that Judge Lasnik has ruled in favor of giving drivers in Seattle's for-hire industry a voice as intended under the law.
For-hire drivers in Seattle should have the same freedom afforded to millions of working people across the country. They should have the right to stand together in their union to improve their pay and working conditions. They should have the opportunity to contribute to improving safety and reliability to benefit the traveling public. This law enables them to accomplish those goals.
We urge companies like Uber and Lyft to stop their efforts to disenfranchise their drivers by attempting to undermine the law. They should welcome the judge's ruling as it provides them with a real opportunity to partner with drivers to improve our economy and lift up our community.
We thank Judge Lasnik for allowing the law to work as it was intended: as an innovative effort to address the many challenges and injustices facing workers in the on-demand economy. This ruling benefits the community of drivers not only in Seattle, but across the country.
The winning team at Woodland Park Zoo. 83% of the Education Department voted to become members of Teamsters117.
As children and adults at the zoo flock to educators holding animals and explaining their behavior, did you know about their struggle? The education department at Woodland Park Zoo has been fighting for better wages and respect for a long time with little success.
“Many of us are not compensated enough as educators for the type of work that we do. We feel like we don’t have a voice. We’ve tried to address it year after year but were ignored,” shares Celwyn Green, an ambassador animal coordinator who has worked at the zoo for 30 years.
Drivers demanding fair working conditions and reinstating of their terminated coworker Ali Sugule (left).
“Unfair!” “Justice!” Loud voices of taxi drivers resonated across the parking garage at SeaTac Airport yesterday. East Side for Hire management stared in bitter frustration at drivers who exercised their right to collectively voice their issues with their dispatch company and the Port of Seattle who contracts with Eastside by suspending work for an hour. It was their second day demonstrating against inhumane working conditions and unjust retaliation by the company. Eastside for Hire has failed to reinstate the 18 drivers who were unjustly suspended for participating in a demonstration on August 21rst.
Taxi drivers at Sea-Tac Airport express their growing frustration with poor working conditions and unjust terminations.
Taxi drivers exerted their collective power at Sea-Tac Airport today by staging an hour-long work stoppage that sent Port officials and the drivers’ dispatch company reeling.
At approximately 9:30 a.m., drivers in the airport taxi lot got out of their cabs, raised signs, and began chanting, “Unfair, unfair!” Cab service for arriving passengers slowed to a trickle.
"I have to fight for my freedom."
“I work 16 hours to try to pay my bills. When I got home yesterday, I almost fell down,” said Alamu Tegegn. “I said to myself, ‘If I continue like this, I will die.’ So I have to fight for my freedom.”
The strike represented the culmination of months of frustration over humiliating working conditions and the unjust termination of union supporter, Ali Sugule.
On August 8, Sugule had criticized the airport dispatch company, Eastside For Hire, in public testimony at a Port Commission meeting. His dispatch services were revoked later that week.
Teamsters at Shuttle Park 2, an airport parking lot in SeaTac, voted to unanimously ratify their contract last Sunday. We had been in bargaining since May. The company has a history of complicated negotiations.
“Previous contract negotiations lasted over a year,” says Guled Ali, a Teamster and Shuttle Park 2 employee who was present at the bargaining table. “It went faster this time because we had better experience.”
Teamster driver Ali Sugule with his family. Sugule is fighting for his job after Eastside For Hire revoked his access to dispatch.
Port of Seattle commissioners spent the better part of their two and a half hour special meeting yesterday discussing a range of issues, including airport expansion and biofuel production, but when it came to taking public comment from drivers who are being exploited at the Port’s expense, they cut matters short.
The reason? They had a luncheon to attend.
“We have a hard stop on this meeting at 11:14,” said Commission President Tom Albro at precisely 11:07 A.M. That gave the public all of seven minutes to testify on critical issues impacting airport workers and the community.
A dozen or so Teamster drivers had been waiting more than two hours to speak out on a range of injustices at the airport. The drivers had taken precious time away from their workday to express their concerns, but had to leave without testifying when the Commission unexpectedly shut down the meeting.