When we fight, we win!

Public Sector


Teamsters at SeaTac Defang the Threat of Expected Anti-Union Ruling in Janus

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If you ask a credential specialist at SeaTac Airport whether the Janus v. AFSCME case will threaten their union’s strength, they would chuckle and shake their head. Not on their watch.

This U.S. Supreme Court decision is expected to drop anytime between now and the end of June and set restrictions on the freedom and unity of working people. Yet this intrepid group that works on the mezzanine level of SeaTac Airport and handles the task of ensuring trustworthiness of airport employees has already made their decision.

"We will remain union members. We refuse to be divided."

“We will remain union members. We refuse to be divided,” said Maryanne Davis who has worked at the airport for over 18 years.

The credential specialists have fought hard for their current wages and benefits. Many of them remember when their entire group was fired several years ago and stayed out of work for months. They persevered until everyone was reinstated. This diverse group knows how important every person is to the security of the team, so every member has committed to remain a Teamster regardless of the Supreme Court ruling.

Now they are the middle of contract negotiations and Marilee Fisher, who is a shop steward and part of the negotiations committee, shared her opinion. “I believe in my union. I will always be a union supporter. As unions fight for better wages and better conditions, workers’ lives and pay improve even in non-union workplaces. If it weren’t for the unions, we would have no middle class.”


King County total comp video update

Get caught up on what's happening in total comp negotiations with King County! Two Shop Stewards on the bargaining committee - Brian Pinney and Lisa Huntley - provide a short video update from the last bargaining session below. 

For a more comprehensive look at negotiations, you can link to all of our total comp updates so far.

 


Teamsters at the City of Black Diamond are fighting for equity

Teamsters at the City of Black Diamond are speaking out for an equitable contract. On April 4, several members raised concerns in a council hearing about the City's failure to recognize members in negotiations. 

Our members have made sacrifices by taking furlough days and wage freezes during the recession and a period of political instability. Now that the City is back on stable financial footing, it's time to recognize these public servants for the critical services they provide.

Check out the Courier-Herald's reporting on the issue here:

Black Diamond staff seeks cost of living increases after stagnant decade 

While much of the county seems to have achieved some form of recovery after the 2008 recession, Black Diamond city employees say they’ve been left behind.

During a passionate citizens comment period during the April 4 meeting, many employees and their supporters gave close to an hour of testimony to the Black Diamond City Council about their financial struggles with the city, which includes dozens of furloughed work days, hour and position cuts, and few cost of living adjustments for the last 10 years.

Read more


Help homeless families at our Teamsters Volunteer Day on May 19

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As Teamsters, we work hard at our jobs, but also strive to build stronger, more livable communities.

An exciting upcoming event at our Union Hall in Tukwila is designed to help us do just that. It's our Family Volunteer Day on Saturday, May 19 from 12 to 2pm.

We will be preparing 144 care packages for the homeless and making signs in solidarity with the teachers striking nationally. This is a family-friendly event and we will have plenty to do for all ages. Can you join us?

To ensure that we have enough hands on deck, we need your help. Please reach out to your co-workers and let them know about the event. Contact Taylor House at taylor.house@teamsters117.org  or (206) 441-4860 ext 1251 with the names and phone numbers of members who plan to attend by May 15.

You can also RSVP for the event on our website. 

This is a great way Teamster families can join together to give back to our community.


Thank you Teamster nurses for your outstanding service

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This week we pay tribute to our incredible nurses, members of Teamsters 117 who work at the Department of Corrections and the Washington State Nurses Association.

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.  It features a host of events across the U.S. to honor nurses for the work they do and educates the public about nurses’ role in health care.

Nursing is a challenging profession that requires patience, professionalism, and compassion. Our Local 117 nurses work long hours, often with limited resources, in stressful environments to provide critical, ethical care.  

We are incredibly grateful to our nurses for the essential, exceptional services they provide. Please take a moment to thank a nurse today!


King County Council expected to approve MLA this week

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Teamsters on our King County Coalition of Unions bargaining team for Total Comp negotiations.


Important revelations have emerged in recent Total Comp negotiations between our King County Coalition of Unions and the County.

For one, we’ve learned that the Master Labor Agreement (MLA), which we negotiated much of last year, is expected to go before the County Council today with a recommendation for approval. According to Megan Pederson, the Director of the Office of Labor Relations, the MLA should hit Dow’s desk for his signature the week of May 21.

Once signed by the County Executive, the agreement will be fully executed and members will receive retro pay negotiated in the agreement thereafter. The MLA, which King County Teamsters voted overwhelmingly to ratify earlier this year, provides a total wage increase of 3.25% for 2018 in addition to a number of other improvements.

At Total Comp negotiations with the County last Thursday, our union bargaining team received a presentation from expert advisers at Mercer about the state of our Protected Reserve Fund (PFR).  

The PFR was established in 2013 by the Joint Labor Management Insurance Committee (JLMIC) to help safeguard health care benefits for union members at the County. Since then, the Fund has grown from $25 million to a projected $64 million in 2018.

This is excellent news and means that there will almost certainly be no employee premium share for the foreseeable future. Teamsters Local 117 has been instrumental in successfully managing the fund to protect the excellent health care benefits you enjoy as a union member at the County. 

With this great news and negotiations underway, it’s more important than ever for us to stand together, stay united, and commit to each other. Click here to sign a commitment card and protect your freedom to stand together with your co-workers for a strong union.  Learn more at www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.  

In the next Total Comp session scheduled for May 17 in Tukwila, our Coalition team will be presenting a counterproposal as we continue the process of negotiating over the high-priority compensation elements in your contract, including wage increases for 2019 and 2020.

If you have questions, please talk to a bargaining committee member or your union representative.


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.