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.
Pharmacists Annalisa Thomas (PharmD) and Roland Lopez (PharmD) at work at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group.
Imagine you had a very young child with a critical medical condition that caused seizures. Suppose the medicine to stop it was available, but your daughter couldn’t take it because of its taste. What would you do then? Who would you turn to for help?
This is the request that Roland Lopez, PharmD, a compounding Pharmacist and Teamster at Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group received. “We created the special flavor for her and she has been successfully on the same tasty medication for 2 years,” he said. “Now every Christmas her family stops by to say thank you.”
Members of the SuperValu union bargaining committee.
Teamsters in the grocery warehouse industry continue to win strong contracts.
This Saturday, our members who work at SuperValu voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new one-year agreement. The contract proposal was fully recommended by our union bargaining committee.
The new contract contains wage and pension increases, health and welfare protections, and for the first time Local 117 members employed at the company will have coverage for domestic partners under their health plan.
The economic benefits and other improvements helped offset the short term of the agreement. “Our company’s going through transition,” said Greg Wiest, a 28-year Teamster and member of the bargaining committee. “There’s a lot of uncertainty right now. But this was a good deal given that it was a one-year deal.”
Members who work at Fleetlogix are fighting for a fair contract. (From l to r) Farhia Adam, Macario Espinoza, Hassan Mohamed, Surnder Singh
At the rental car facility that serves Sea-Tac Airport, Teamsters are everywhere you look. We’re booking vehicles going out, and inspecting them as they return. We’re shuttling busloads of travelers to and from the airport. We’re washing and vacuuming cars, and driving them to the rental lots across the street.
One group, our members at Fleetlogix, is in the midst of a tough contract fight. They spend their workdays transporting vehicles around the facility and the region, north to Everett and south to Tacoma, for the Avis Budget Group. These members have been working without a contract since the middle of March as their employer continues to make substandard proposals at the bargaining table.
“We need to stand up for our co-workers and our community,” said Hassan Mohamed, who joined the group just a few months ago. Mohamed is studying business administration at Bellevue College and uses his hard-earned wages to help pay for school.
Today, member leaders and staff were passing out buttons to all members, on all shifts to demonstrate solidarity before upcoming contract negotiations on August 10.
Employees of the Woodland Park Zoo's education department filed for Teamsters 117 representation with the NLRB on August 4.
Today, over thirty employees in the education department at the Woodland Park Zoo petitioned for union representation with Teamsters Local 117, filing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and delivering a letter to management requesting voluntary union recognition.
Workers in the education department are passionate about what they do, fostering respect for our natural world and conservation leadership through educational programs that inspire our community to learn, care, and act.
"I am excited to form our Union..."
“I am excited to form our union because I love the Zoo’s mission, and the staff I work alongside with who bring that mission to life everyday deserve respect and support,” said Kristi Dodds, a Zoomazium Coordinator who has worked at the Woodland Park Zoo for 16 years.
After winning union representation, the education department employees will select a bargaining committee to negotiate their first collective bargaining agreement, after which they will join over 60 zookeepers, vet techs, and warehouse workers at the Woodland Park Zoo who already have a voice on the job as members of Teamsters Local 117.
Congratulations on taking this step, and welcome to your union!
Fred Meyer Shop Steward, Dwayne Kerrigan, has a message for his co-workers: "Stand together, stick together, and keep up the good fight!"
On July 28, Fred Meyer Teamsters who work at the company's distribution center in Puyallup voted 332-1 to authorize a strike. We will be meeting with the company for negotiations on August 11.
Drivers Call on Uber to Stop Efforts to Block their Right to Have a Voice
Seattle for-hire drivers who are seeking to unionize under the city’s new collective bargaining law applauded a federal judge’s ruling to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce challenging the law.
“We’ve been waiting for this day, waiting to join the union and to have the right to negotiate with Uber,” said Mustafe Abdi, who has been driving with Uber for three years.
Abdi, who is a member of the App-Based Drivers Association (ABDA), listed a number of concerns he and other for-hire drivers would like to address at the bargaining table. “We need to talk about the rates and deactivation and other things. We don’t have medical, we don’t have retirement. We don’t have Social Security. We don’t feel safe when we drive our cars. This is good news for all drivers in Seattle.”
As independent contractors, Seattle for-hire drivers are not protected by traditional labor laws, such as Seattle's new $15/hr minimum wage law and its paid sick and safe ordinance.
"We’ve been waiting for this day, waiting to join the union and to have the right to negotiate with Uber."
Uber and Lyft drivers sought assistance from Teamsters Local 117 to improve working conditions in Seattle’s personal transportation industry. In 2014, drivers formed ABDA to promote fairness, justice, and transparency in the industry.
“Judge Lasnik’s ruling puts drivers one step closer to being able to freely exercise their right to have a voice and unionize under the new law,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We hope Uber will respect the judge’s decision, stop its efforts to block the law, and recognize that, just like millions of other workers across the country, for-hire drivers have a basic right to self-determination and to stand together with the representative of their choosing to improve their pay and working conditions. We will continue to help drivers fight for that right.”
Drivers will have to wait to exercise their rights under the new law until the court lifts an injunction and rules on a separate case.
Local 117 Union Rep Ryan Jarman distributes ballots to Teamster Local 117 members who work at Fred Meyer.
The grocery giant Fred Meyer/Kroger has a history of testing our members’ resolve.
In 2011 and 2014, they put substandard proposals on the table that were insufficient to meet the needs and demands of the membership and rejected by the Teamster 117 bargaining committees.
During those contract cycles, Fred Meyer members refused to be intimidated. They passed critical strike votes by wide margins, distributed leaflets in several states, engaged the media, and rallied for a fair contract.
"This shows that our solidarity is strong, that everyone is behind the union..."
Now, history is repeating itself. The company is refusing again to maintain industry standards by insisting on an offer that is inferior to the contract recently ratified by our members at Safeway.
But just like in the past, Local 117 members at Fred Meyer are not backing down. Today, in meetings at the Teamsters 313 hall in Tacoma, the group voted 332-1 to reject the company’s latest offer. In doing so, they overwhelmingly authorized a strike.
“Just like in the past, when we’ve shown unity, we’ve been able to get a better contract,” said Dwayne Kerrigan, a 11-year shop steward. “This mass majority rejecting this offer strengthens our position and should make the company rethink their stance.”