This week we celebrate Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). This is a time to honor our public servants and express our gratitude for the critical services they provide.
Our members in the public sector clear our streets during snow emergencies, maintain our roads, clean up our parks, and keep our communities safe.
Too often public employees are the target of unwarranted criticism, but when disaster strikes they are usually the first to respond.
"That sense of duty and pride is so typical of our members who commit their lives to public service."
Take this last February, for example. When snowdrifts piled up on streets across the Pacific Northwest, most of us took time off to be with our families.
Not true with many of our public servants. Our members in public works braved the elements to operate the snowplows and clear the streets, while our law enforcement and corrections members valiantly reported for duty.
They knew their co-workers would carry a heavier burden if they stayed home and that it might even impact their safety. That sense of duty and pride is so typical of our members who commit their lives to public service.
Thank you to Teamsters who work in our cities, counties, and in state employment for your service. We are forever grateful.
We have received notification from the County that our Union's Total Compensation ("Total Comp") agreement negotiated by the King County Coalition of Unions and overwhelmingly ratified by all Local 117 bargaining units is on its way to Council.
The County informed our Coalition that the Council's Budget and Fiscal Management Committee would consider the agreement at the end of the month. After it passes out of committee, it will be referred to the full Council.
Assuming the Council enacts our contract, it would then go to the County Executive for final approval before any retro pay could be implemented by the County.
The contract covers your wages, benefits, and other compensable elements for 2019-2020. Once the agreement is signed by the Executive, all Teamsters 117 members at the County will receive a 4% wage increase retroactive to January 1, 2019 and a total of a 3% wage increase in 2020, divided into two parts: a 1.5% increase effective January 1, 2020 and a 1.5% increase effective July 1, 2020. Some groups may receive other retroactive increases depending on their individual appendix agreements.
You can view the complete total comp agreement here.
We will keep you updated as soon as we have more information. If you have questions, please contact your Shop Steward or Union Representative.
King County Shop Stewards tallying votes at the union hall in Tukwila on Thursday evening.
Good news for Teamsters at King County! All Teamsters 117 bargaining units have voted resoundingly to ratify the Total Compensation ("total comp") agreement and their individual appendix agreements. The votes were tallied and certified by a group of ten King County shop stewards from various divisions at our Teamsters union hall in Tukwila on Thursday, December 20.
Your new contract covers your wages, benefits, and other compensable elements for 2019-2020. With the contract approved, all Teamsters 117 members at the County will receive a 4% wage increase effective January 1, 2019 and a total of a 3% wage increase in 2020, divided into two parts: a 1.5% increase effective January 1, 2020 and a 1.5% increase effective July 1, 2020.
Before this year’s wage increase is reflected in your paycheck, the contract will have to be approved by the King County Council and signed by the County Executive, which could take several months. You will receive your wage increase retroactive to January 1 once the approval process is complete. All Teamsters 117 members will also receive a $500 bonus on January 1, 2020 that applies to members of the King County Coalition of Unions only.
Other improvements include enhancements to your vision plan, the restoration of the 2016 retirees medical subsidy, improved long-term disability benefits, and access to a short-term disability plan. The excellent family medical benefits you enjoy as a union member at King County remain unchanged for the term of the contract. You can view the complete total comp agreement along with your individual unit’s appendix agreement here.
This new contract represents an important win for Teamsters at King County. Our strength and leverage at the negotiations table lies both with our Local Union and in working as a part of a powerful Coalition of King County Unions.
"This vote shows that when we stand together for family wages, better benefits, and a safe, secure, equitable workplace, we can win improvements for ourselves and our families," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "Thank you to our outstanding union bargaining committee that spent many months and tireless hours pushing the County to do right by its employees. In the end, we have achieved a contract that recognizes the tremendous service you provide to the residents of King County."
If you have questions, please reach out to your negotiations committee member, your shop steward, or your union representative.
Thank you for your service. We wish you a happy new year.
High winds travelled across Washington State last week uprooting trees and downing power lines. Thousands of residents were left without power. In Lake Forest Park, a crew of 6 public works employees responded to reports of wreckage caused by the winds. They cleared fallen branches from the roads and cleared the space for telecommunications and electrical utility services to make repairs. The crew performing this frequently dangerous job are Teamsters. They are the invisible force that takes care of street flooding, issues with water and sewage, and all the other tasks that keep the roads open and functional.
The group at Lake Forest Park organized 15 years ago, and their shop steward, Ian Murray, would still make the same decision today. They face day-to-day challenges with their management. He commented: “Without a union, management cannot be held accountable even if there are bad consequences for the public or the employees. When we are united and effective, they back off. Otherwise, we would lose our jobs on their whim.” The majority of members at Lake Forest Park have held their jobs for over a decade.
"When we are united and effective, they back off."
Murray has just gone through contract negotiations, and his team’s new contract goes into effect on the first day of 2019. In addition to a wage increase, they will receive a bump in compensation for “stand by” days, which happen when the whole crew is placed on call in case their help is needed due to severe weather events.
The highlight of the contract, however, is replacement of the Quartermaster system. Getting new gear – work clothes and boots – used to be a hassle. They had to submit the old work clothes before applying for replacement. This always resulted in management-controlled delay during which the workers had to wear their own clothes and boots. Since public works employees frequently operate in dangerous and grimy environments, their gear is expensive and has to meet safety standards. Now, with the new contract, they will receive a yearly stipend for their own gear and have control over access to professional clothing.
As more wind and rain are expected this week, Lake Forest Park Teamsters climb into their trucks and drive off to continue clearing the highway and preparing for the next tempest. Some of them will be on the road on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. If you see them driving by, send them a salute.
Teamster electrician Marci Solomon oversees the electrical work at the Tacoma Dome.
Marci Solomon is a force of nature. Within moments of my meeting her at the Tacoma Dome this morning, she’s launched into stories about cross-country road trips on her Harley, rescuing bulldogs, and navigating the machismo she confronts as a woman working in a male-dominated trade.
Marci is a lead Teamster electrician and has run the show at the Dome for the last ten years. She inspects transformers and circuits, scampers across rigging 85 feet in the air, and illuminates the big acts that come to town from Garth Brooks to AC/DC.
“I’m responsible for every light in this building,” she says.
Last month Marci was recognized by her peers as Tradeswoman of the Year at an awards ceremony put on by Washington Women in the Trades. She was ecstatic when nominated for the award by a co-worker and even more pumped when she found out she’d won.
“I could have lit up the city,” she said. “It was as if every amperage and voltage in my body was off the charts.”
"It was as if every amperage and voltage in my body was off the charts."
Life in the trades as a woman can be a bit of a challenge. Both the building trades and the music business are swimming in testosterone. When event promoters come into town and learn that the only electrician at the Dome is a woman, many are chauvinistically skeptical.
“A lot of times they roll their eyes,” she explains. “But later, they’ll come back and say, Marci was great. I think they feel guilty because they dissed me in the beginning.”
Marci is a proud, faithful dues-paying member of not one, but two unions - Teamsters 117 and IBEW 76. When the Janus court ruling came down mandating open shop in the public sector, Marci was quick to make the rounds speaking with her co-workers about the need to stick with the union. She helped her union rep, Julie Yust, get 100% of the Teamsters at the Dome signed up on commitment cards.
“Unions equalize things out,” Marci says. “It doesn’t matter what gender or race you are, you get the same pay, the same benefits. The union is there for its members.” Marci appreciates the work of her rep, but also believes members need to do their part to keep the union strong.
Her mantra is all about union pride: “You’re in a union - act proud, work proud, be proud.”
Congratulations, Marci, on your much-deserved recognition as Tradeswoman of the Year and thank you for your exemplary service as a member of this union.
Our Union will be holding contract vote meetings at locations across King County for members of Teamsters Local 117 starting on December 3 and running through December 19, 2018.
At the meetings, you will have an opportunity to vote on a labor agreement ("total comp" agreement) that covers your compensation and benefits for 2019-2020. Our Coalition of Unions recommends that you vote “yes” to approve the proposal.
Some bargaining units will also be voting on individual unit appendix agreements in addition to the total comp agreement.
You can access a schedule for all of the voting dates, times, and locations here.
To prepare for the vote, please review the Total Comp documents and your bargaining unit's appendix agreement below. Thank you for service to the residents of King County. Please exercise your right to vote!
Total Comp Agreement
DOT Design and Construction Supervisors
IT Managers and Supervisors
Joint Units Agreement
Printers and Copiers
PT&A Safety Health and Professional Certified
In December, we will be conducting contract ratification meetings for all Teamsters who work at King County.
At the meetings, you will have an opportunity to vote on an agreement that covers your compensation, health care, and compensable benefits for 2019-2020. The agreement was negotiated between the County and our King County Coalition of Unions.
This “total comp” proposal includes a 4% general wage increase for 2019 and a total of 3% general wage increase for 2020 plus a $500 bonus offered to Coalition Union members only. Our Union Coalition recommends that you vote "yes" to approve the proposal.
Some bargaining units will also be voting on individual unit appendix agreements in addition to the total comp agreement.
To prepare for the vote, please review voting documents available here.
To vote, you must attend one of the drop-in ratification meetings below. If you have any questions, please contract your union representative or shop steward.
Members of Teamsters 117 on our King County Coalition of Unions negotiations team.
You may recall that our Coalition of Unions reached a tentative agreement back in August over compensation for King County Teamsters for the coming two years.
This “total comp” proposal includes a 4% general wage increase for 2019 and a total of 3% general wage increase for 2020 plus a $500 bonus offered to Coalition Union members only.
Our Union Coalition fully recommends that you vote to approve the proposal.
Unfortunately, our ability as Coalition members to vote on the agreement continues to be delayed. The delay comes as a result of the County failing to agree to acceptable terms on critical issues facing a few of our labor partners in our Coalition.
Those partners have been mired in challenging negotiations with the County for several months and have yet to reach resolution over their appendix agreements to the total comp proposal.
Solidarity is essential and our strength as a Coalition and our commitment to each other comes by standing together with our Sisters and Brothers in their efforts to successfully complete their unit-specific negotiations.
We are urging the County to resolve any outstanding issues with our partners immediately so that we can move forward with the vote. If delays continue, we should all be prepared to engage in solidarity actions to support our Coalition partners and pressure the County to negotiate a fair contract for all.
We will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops.
For over 20 years, members of Teamsters Local 117 have been donating blood as a part of our annual blood drive. By giving blood, we've helped save lives!
This year the Blood Drive will be held on Saturday, November 17 at the Union hall in Tukwila from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ALL DONORS will receive a $25 Safeway gift card.
If you don’t live in the area, you can still participate!
Any donations made between November 8 and November 22 will be rewarded with a $25 Safeway gift card as well (just mail in the proof of donation to the Union Hall).
Come give the gift of life!
Teamsters who work at the City of Tacoma showed up in force at City Hall last night to stand for fair pay, equity, and respect.
Members testified to the fact that the City’s revenues are healthy & Teamsters are doing high quality work that serves the community and supports local families.
City of Tacoma, let's honor our public servants!