When we fight, we win!

Public Sector


Local 117 Well-Represented at King County Labor Summit

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Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy sits on a panel to discuss more training opportunities for King County employees.


We put aside our differences with King County for a day as union representatives and County officials gathered at the Labor Temple for the annual King County Labor Summit.

The purpose of the Summit was to seek common ground and explore opportunities for partnerships between unions and the County around issues like equity, social justice, and training and development. Much of the day’s discussion also revolved around the need to address the County’s financial challenges.

Our Local Union was a major player at the event. John Scearcy, our Secretary-Treasurer, initiated the opening panel discussion about the need to prioritize training opportunities for union members at the County.

John told his powerful personal story about how he rose up out of poverty to get a good union job in a warehouse, become a Shop Steward, and ultimately the President and Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We need to create more opportunities for impoverished communities and people of color,” Scearcy said. “This is about partnering toward people’s success.” 


Scearcy Editorial Sticks up for City Employees

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Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy, has published a guest opinion piece speaking up on behalf of professional staff working at the City of Black Diamond. See below:

Black Diamond Residents Paying a Price for Council’s Political Obstruction
By John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117
Published in the Enumclaw Courier-Herald - June 15, 2016

The chaos in the city of Black Diamond brought on by three councilmembers is a prime example of how not to run local government. The three councilmembers’ impediment of city business is having a harmful effect on the residents of the community.

Voters elect their public officials to facilitate the work of local government. In Black Diamond, the majority of the council is doing just the opposite.

At every step of the way, it appears that the council is trying to disrupt, derail, and delay the work of the city. The impact has been disastrous.

The city’s bills have gone unpaid, building inspections have been placed on hold, and the advice of the city attorney and city insurers has been ignored.

The council is ostensibly trying to thwart a previously approved development project. But city residents are paying the price for the council’s abdication of responsibility and interference with the provision of essential services.

When the council refuses to approve gas for police vehicles and 911 emergency services, it is recklessly using public safety as a political tool to further its own agenda.

The council’s antics have led to the loss of grant money to update the city’s stormwater capacity and to make required improvements to the city’s street lights. Taxpayers will have to make up the difference or forego the important enhancements.

The city went for three months without a building inspector. If residents wanted to move forward with building a deck or repairing an existing structure, they had to wait. By refusing to hire an inspector, the council impeded an important construction project at a local elementary school.

The council’s shenanigans are getting the city into legal trouble. By failing to show up to council meetings and trying to circumvent the state’s open meeting laws, councilmembers are putting the city at risk of a costly lawsuit. If that happens, the public will once again have to pick up the tab.

The city’s hardworking staff is bearing the brunt of the chaos. They have been unjustly harangued by councilmembers in the press and compelled to attend meetings beyond their normal working hours.

The staff at the city are experienced professionals. They know their role is not to take a position on the development controversy; they are simply trying to conduct the business of the city to benefit the residents of the community.

They want to see to it that the city’s bills get paid on time, that schools and street lights are improved, and that the city is fulfilling its legal and financial obligations.

In short, they are just trying to do their jobs. It is now incumbent on the council to stop interfering with their work so that they can go about the business of serving the residents of the local community.


This piece was published in the Enumclaw Courier-Herald on June 15, 2016. You can view the piece in the paper's Green Edition here.


King County appears unwilling to partner on joint labor agreement

Our Coalition bargaining team met with King County for a frustrating negotiations session on Wednesday, June 8. In this session, the County appeared unwilling to meet our team halfway on issues that are critical to the union coalition.

The day started with the County stating its opposition to our proposal for a longevity or merit-based pay structure that would reward union members who have dedicated many years of service to the County. This came as a disappointment to our union committee given that establishing a system for longevity pay was one of our priorities going into bargaining.

We were more hopeful when the County indicated that it was interested in creating a premium for members whose unions have participated in coalition bargaining. We took that idea into caucus and discussed the possible makeup of the premium through the creation of a new coalition pay table that would surpass the general squared pay table.


Life after Friedrichs: Organizing to build internal strength

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By Leonard Smith, Director of Organizing and Strategic Campaigns

A case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this year had the potential to significantly weaken the collective bargaining rights of workers in public sector unions. In Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, the Court was projected to vote 5 to 4 to undermine workers and their unions.

After the unexpected passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court split 4-4, effectively delaying the blow to collective bargaining.


King County Total Comp Bargaining Update

Our Coalition of Unions bargaining team was back at the table with King County on May 25 for total compensation contract negotiations.

Much of the day’s discussion, both in our Union caucus and across the table from the employer, focused on the County’s proposal for a “Joint Labor Agreement.” With its proposal, the County is looking to find common terms among the myriad of County contracts.

Initially, our team resisted this concept. We were concerned that streamlining contract language could compromise the unique provisions that individual unions have developed in County contracts over the years through the collective bargaining process.


King County - Every Voice Counts Interview Events

FSC_Seal_blue.jpgThis summer, we will be having our Every Voice Counts Union gatherings for members at locations across King County. 

This is your opportunity to share ideas and tell us what matters most to you. Get an update on current negotiations at King County and enjoy some some tasty food and refreshments!

Click on the corresponding link to RSVP. These are drop-in interviews, so choose the time and location that is most convenient for you. For more information, contact Karen Estevenin at 206-441-4860 ext. 1244.

DAY DATE TIME LOCATION
Tuesday 5/24/2016

3pm

Fall City Rds

Tuesday 6/7/2016

12pm

Kent Regional Justice Ctr

Tuesday 6/21/2016

11:30am

KC Admin Building

Monday 7/11/2016 3pm Renton Rds
Thursday

7/14/2016

2pm

Cedar Hills Landfill
Tuesday 7/19/2016

3pm

Black Diamond Rds
Thursday 7/21/2016 3:30pm Cadman Roads

Your Generous Peanut Butter Donations - Over 2,000 Jars

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Thank you to everyone who participated in our annual peanut butter drive. 

This year, we collected over 2,000 jars from members of Local 117!

On Wednesday, we delivered our peanut butter haul to the Pierce County Central Labor Council for distribution through the Emergency Food Network and its system of local food banks and feeding programs in Pierce County.

"Thank you for your incredible generosity and for your participation in this effort to help fight hunger," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "Teamsters 117 members know how important it is to give back to the community, and this is a wonderful example of that."


Slow Going in King County Total Comp Bargaining

Our King County Coalition of Unions bargaining team was back at the table with the County on May 11 to continue total compensation contract negotiations for the 2017-2018 biennium.

Nine months into bargaining, progress has been slow, but we are still hopeful we can reach an agreement by our June deadline.

For the first hour of this session, our Union team met in caucus to finalize our economic counterproposal. 

We focused on the highest priorities of the membership based on the contract survey results. These include an across-the-board wage increase in both years of the contract, adequate protection for our health and welfare benefits without premium share, and recognition for years of service to the County.

Our proposal addressed these economic issues on a coalition-wide basis while preserving an important degree of economic bargaining autonomy for each individual bargaining unit. We also established a timeframe for negotiating additional economic and non-economic items after an anticipated ratification vote this summer. 

We presented our proposal to the County, and after a short discussion, both parties returned to caucus. 


King County JLMIC Report - May 2, 2016

As your JLMIC Co-Chair, I want to give you an update on the status of your King County health and welfare benefits:

The JLMIC Protected Fund Reserve Is Strong And Continues To Grow, Ensuring Preservation Of Plan Provisions And No Premium Share In 2017-2018.

In July of last year, we anticipated that the Protected Fund Reserve (“PFR”) would reach $39 million at the end of 2016.  I am pleased to report that we achieved that $39 million target a year early.  As of December 31, 2015, the Protected Fund Reserve totaled $39,774,228!

The Protected Fund Reserve was established in 2013 to create a bulwark against the ever-increasing costs of medical care so as to defer any need for employee premium share towards the excellent, full-family medical, dental, vision and ancillary benefits provided through King County employment and negotiated by our Union at the JLMIC.  


Every Voice Counts Project Grows at King County

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Shop Steward Cynthia Adams (bottom right) shares ideas with her co-workers as a part of our Every Voice Counts project.

The King Street Center was buzzing yesterday, as Teamsters at King County met to share ideas and voice their concerns about the workplace as a part of our Every Voice Counts project. 

Members grabbed lunch, then sat together in small groups to exchange ideas. Many issues were brought to the table, including the need for the County to recognize longevity, provide equitable wages and benefits, and limit the number of temps.

Members also received the latest update from the ongoing total comp negotiations.

Our goal with this project is for member leaders to listen to their co-workers about how to build a better workplace and a stronger union. So far, dozens of King County Teamsters have participated in the project.

"It's important to have union representation because of the political environment we're facing," said Lisa Longdon, a Shop Steward from the King County Professional and Technical group. "There needs to be a voice for the people, which is the union."

We will be continuing to organize lunchtime events at King County for the next several months. If you would like to schedule your Every Voice Counts interview, talk to your Shop Steward, your Business Rep. Suzette Dickerson, or contact Karen Estevenin at 206-441-4860 ext. 1244.