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Public Sector


National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week: Celebrating 50 Years of 911

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The original phone from which the very first 911 call was made in Haleyville, AL. The numbers 9-1-1 where selected back when rotary dial telephones were still the primary type of phone, so the shorter the number the better.


At 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, 1968, the first 911 call was placed from the mayor's office in Haleyville (AL) and answered a short distance away at the police station. Up until then, there was no centralized number for people to call in case of an emergency, and it was a lucky plea for help uttered into the phone that was met with an appropriate response.

Today, 240 million calls are made to 911. The people who make an immediate response possible are the heroes operating behind the scenes. They ensure public safety and protect our police officers and firefighters by monitoring their activities by radio and providing them with vital information. Held every year during the second week of April, National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is a time to recognize telecommunications personnel in the public safety community for their service and commitment to the profession. This week of April 8 – 14, we celebrate 50 years of their dedication and critical work.

So why "9-1-1"? At the time of its creation, the adopted emergency line in Britain was 999. In the US, however, there was a need for a number that was short, unique, and had never been used as an area code or service code before. This was also back when rotary dial telephones were still the primary type of phone, so the shorter the number – the better it was.

The emergency phone system has changed since it was first created, but our reliance on public servants listening on the other side of the line in critical moments hasn't. Thank you for the heroic work that you do!


Frustration voiced at last week’s total comp negotiations

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Rick Reinlasoder, a Teamster who works in the County's Water and Land Resources Division, asked tough questions in total comp negotiations on March 29.


“I was not satisfied with their response,” said Rick Reinlasoder. Reinlasoder, a Local 117 shop steward on our union bargaining team, had just finished grilling King County negotiators on why wage increases had been processed for non-represented employers but not for Coalition members.

“We’ve earned it, we deserve it, and we have a right to it, but we can’t do anything with that money for close to six months.”

"We can’t do anything with that money for close to six months."

Reinlasoder echoed the frustration of others on the bargaining team after hearing in last week’s total comp negotiations that the Master Labor Agreement (MLA) was still winding its way through the County’s legislative process and members wouldn’t see their wages increases and retro pay until June.

It is strong unions, collective bargaining, and political power that drive wage increases for all King County employees, yet non-represented employees are enjoying the bump in their paycheck that the Coalition had worked for nearly a year to negotiate. “That’s quite frustrating for the membership,” Reinlasoder said.

Reinlasoder's pointed questions came in the context of a presentation by the County’s Budget Director, Dwight Dively, on the financial health of the County. Dively reported a revenue shortfall despite the strong local economy.

The March 29 negotiations started with Coalition chairs, Michael Gonzales and Cecilia Mena, outlining our union’s initial economic proposal, which addresses the high-priority compensation elements in your contract, including wage increases for 2019 and 2020.

The next negotiations sessions are scheduled for April 19 and 26. We expect the County to present its initial proposal in those sessions. If you have questions, please talk to a bargaining committee member or your union representative.


United we stand: Coalition work yields results at King County

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Shop Steward Dan Fernandez (l) and Union Representative Brian Perreira after Total Comp bargaining session on March 22.


Our Coalition of Unions has been working overtime on behalf of Teamsters at King County, and the results speak for themselves.

Last year, the Coalition achieved a first-ever Master Labor Agreement (MLA), which was overwhelmingly ratified by all participating Teamster bargaining units. Our Coalition team bargained a 3.25% wage increase for 2018, one of many improvements in the MLA.

With MLA bargaining wrapping up last fall, the Coalition has already launched into a new round of negotiations with the County, which started earlier this month. “Total Comp” negotiations considers all compensable elements of your contract.

“Total compensation has everything to do with your overall compensation package,” explained Brian Pinney, a bargaining committee member who works in the County’s Solid Waste Division. “A general wage increase, your medical coverage, a lot of other benefits - they’re all covered under Total Comp.”

Negotiations kicked off on March 1 with our Union and the County establishing ground rules for bargaining. Yesterday, the Coalition met independently from the County to map out our priorities for negotiations and to develop a comprehensive initial proposal.


KC Recorder's Office Rejects the Threat of Open Shop

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Lisa Ohlen attending the 2018 Shop Steward Seminar.


When Lisa Ohlen, a Teamster at King County Recorder’s Office, attended a union meeting explaining the Supreme Court case that could turn public unions across country into open shops, she was shocked and dismayed. She knew what the deceivingly inviting term open shop meant for workers: loss of their united voice and consequent transfer of power and control into employer’s hands.

“One of the first things to go would be our health benefits, and we have worked really hard to get those. We don’t want to go down the path of Wisconsin,” she said with concern in her voice.


VIDEO: Janus case attempts to silence public employees

Need to get caught up on how the Janus case attempts to silence public employees? Our international union has put together a short primer video. Check it out!

 


Women's History Month: Celebrating strong, fearless Teamster women

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This month we honor our remarkable Teamster Sisters and all of the women friends, co-workers, and extended family members in our lives.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it’s important to recognize the extraordinary economic, cultural, and political achievements of women across the globe. Teamster women in particular have fought tirelessly on the front lines of our union's 115-year history for equality and justice.

Our predecessors marched in the suffragette movement for the right to vote; we organized on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement; and we have fought for decades for equal pay in the workplace. We can be proud of our accomplishments, which have advanced the rights of all workers and have shaped our collective history.

At Teamsters Local 117, Tracey A. Thompson became the first woman to serve as our union’s principal officer and the first woman on the Executive Board of Joint Council 28. Tracey brought fearlessness, fortitude and compassion to our union’s efforts to improve lives and lift up our communities. Both Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and I strive to honor and carry forth that legacy as we work to build power and unity for all members of Teamsters Local 117

On our union’s Flickr page you can view just a few of the many amazing women leaders across our Local Union who have joined in the advancement of equality and workplace rights.

Please join me as we celebrate our bold Teamster sisterhood. Thank you for your service to our communities and for your membership in Teamsters 117.


Local 117 ST Scearcy Recognized with Best Principal Officer Award at MLKCLC Labor Oscars

Teamsters Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy receives the "Best Principal Officer" award of an affiliate union at the MLKCLC anniversary celebration. 


It was a good day at the Oscars for Teamsters 117! Our union was recognized with three “Labor Oscar” awards, including Best Principal Officer, John Scearcy, at the Martin Luther King Central Labor Council’s 130 gala anniversary celebration.

The event, which was held last Saturday at the Museum of History and Industry, celebrated “the great work being done to improve the lives of working people” across our region.

Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy was recognized by MLKCLC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Grant for “his principled and strategic leadership of the Uber and Lyft organizing campaign, the unity in his diverse ranks, his intentional decision to hire staff from immigrant communities and communities of color, and constantly working his ass off for his members.”

In accepting the award, Scearcy said, “This recognizes the work of more than one person… our staff, our staff’s families, our members, and our members’ families – I share this with everybody.”

You can watch his entire acceptance speech on Facebook here.

The MLKCLC Labor Awards for Teamsters Local 117   

  • Best Principal Officer: John Scearcy - of Teamsters 117 for "constantly working his ass off for his members."
  • Best Organizing Campaign: Teamsters 117 for "successful organizing of paratransit, taxi cab, and app-based drivers."
  • Best Political Campaign: The Burien Fantastic Four - consisting of Pedro Olguin, member of Teamsters 117, Jimmy Matta, member of Carpenters 41, Krystal Marx, and Nancy Tosta and run by Guillermo Mogollan-Diego.

View all of the award winners on the MLKCLC’s website.


King County Total Comp Negotiations Get Rolling

Our Local 117 bargaining team for King County Total Comp negotiations.


Your union bargaining committee worked overtime last year to achieve a first-ever Master Labor Agreement with the County.

Members in all of our participating Teamster bargaining units voted overwhelmingly to ratify the MLA and their unit’s appendix agreement earlier this year. Voter turnout was historically high.

The agreement achieved a 3.25% general wage increase for 2018 along with a number of other enhancements to your rights at work.  You will receive the MLA wage increase retroactive to January 1, 2018 as soon as the contract makes its way through the Council’s transmittal process. 

Now our bargaining team is back at the table for a new round of negotiations. “Total Comp” negotiations between our Coalition of Unions and the County kicked off yesterday at our Teamsters hall in Tukwila.

While the MLA consolidated the strongest elements of union contracts across the County into one Master agreement, Total Comp deals with economics only – your wages and health care for 2019-2020.

Yesterday’s session was devoted to introductions and establishing ground rules. One of our shop stewards on the bargaining team, Lisa Huntley, who works in the County’s Solid Waste Division, expressed our union’s expectations for these negotiations.

“We can see in the area how much our property taxes have gone up and how much it costs to live here. That needs to be reflected in our wages,” she said. “We also need to maintain our health benefits and address general equity issues.”

"We can see in the area how much our property taxes have gone up and how much it costs to live here."

Our next meeting with the County is scheduled for Thursday, March 22. We expect these negotiations will run into the summer of this year. We will keep you updated as they progress.

If you have questions, please contact your bargaining committee member or your Union Representative. 

Your Teamsters Local 117 Total Comp bargaining Team

  • Teresa Allen, WTD - Renton
  • Steven Baruso, WTD - Finance
  • Amon Billups, Jr, PT&A
  • Chris Boyle, WTD - Managers
  • Lynn Constantine, PT&A
  • Terry De Priest, DOT JUA
  • Dan Fernandez, POA
  • Mari Jane Friel, Utilities, Roads/Fall City 
  • Machelle Gatewood, DOT JUA
  • Cheryl Ann Gunderson,  CIT - KCIT 
  • George Horning, IT Mgrs/Sups
  • Steve Huang, WTD - West Point
  • Lisa Huntley, Solid Waste Division 
  • Rochelle James, RALS
  • Lisa Longdon, PT&A
  • Vicki Moore, Elections
  • Dan Nwaelele, PT&A
  • Lisa Ohlen, RALS
  • Brian Pinney, Solid Waste Division/Cedar Hills 
  • Gregory Raburn, PT&A
  • Rick Reinlasoder, PT&A
  • Robin Robinson, WTD
  • Candi Santo, PT&A
  • Robert Stalnaker, King County Sheriff’s Office
  • Debbie Valle, PAO
  • Lester Van Gelder, WTD
  • Kathleen Vanderpool, PT&A

Fortifying our union in the face of the Janus threat

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Local 117 members Robin Robinson and Joy Yarrington who work at King County proudly wearing their solidarity stickers.


Today the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in a case (Janus v AFSCME) that is attacking our ability as union members to stand together and negotiate strong contracts.

If the Court rules as expected, public service workers, including thousands of members of Teamsters 117, will lose their freedom to negotiate union security clauses in their contracts.

Members will be able to “opt-out” of paying their fair share in dues but will be able to continue to reap all of the benefits of their union contract and union representation. Our ability to stand together and bargain strong contracts, provide quality representation, and protect each other’s rights at work is at stake.

"I want us to continue having a strong union," said Robin Robinson, a Teamster who works at King County. "We need to make sure everyone is aware of what's happening so we can keep our communities strong."

"We need to make sure everyone is aware of what's happening so we can keep our communities strong."

Wealthy special interests like the “Freedom” Foundation that are backing the Janus case are banking on a ruling against unions. They may call, email or even visit you at home to mislead you into abandoning your union sisters and brothers.

Make no mistake — their goal is to cut or privatize public services, drain unions of resources, and outsource public sector jobs. The Freedom Foundation fought against funding our Department of Corrections contract. They have sponsored numerous initiatives to undermine the ability of workers to organize for higher wages, strong benefits, and safe working conditions.

To draw attention to the threat presented by Janus and the Freedom Foundation, Teamsters 117 members and public service workers across the country have called for a day of action.

Local 117 members who work at the Department of Corrections, King County, and in the South Sound are wearing solidarity stickers today to spread awareness about the case and the importance of committing to each other so that we can continue to have a strong union.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

By sticking together, we can stand up to the Freedom Foundation’s anti-worker agenda and continue to improve our workplaces and our lives.


Public Sector Teamsters: Wear your solidarity stickers on Monday!

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On Monday, February 26, the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing a case (Janus v AFSCME) that will likely harm our ability as union members to stand together and negotiate strong contracts.

Public service workers across the country have called for a Day of Action on Feb. 26.

On Monday, Teamsters 117 members will be wearing solidarity stickers to spread awareness about the case and the importance of committing to each other so that we can continue to have a strong union.

Your union rep or member leader will be distributing stickers to you on Monday. Please wear your sticker and talk to your co-workers about why it's important to show solidarity in the face of this impending threat. 

For more information about the Janus case, visit www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.

Thank you for your service and for all that you do to make our union strong.