When we fight, we win!

Public Sector

Public sector members praised for providing exceptional service

King County employees spend their day providing outstanding service to our community.  They clear our streets, maintain our roads, clean up our parks, provide safe drinking water, protect our environment, treat our mentally ill, and keep our communities safe. 

KC members vote to approve COLA agreement

In August, Teamsters at King County had the opportunity to vote on a tentative COLA agreement that had been negotiated by the King County Coalition of Unions. 

The agreement was fully recommended by your Local 117 bargaining committee.   The vote was conducted by a mail-in ballot, and votes were tabulated by members at the Union Hall in Tukwila on August 13.

In all, ten of eleven Local 117 bargaining units voted to approve the agreement. 

The agreement includes a 2% cost-of-living increase for all impacted County employees in 2015 and a 2.25% increase in 2016.  It also includes a flat lump sum bonus of $500 per employee payable to Coalition bargaining unit members only. 

Under the agreement, the County is required to pay eligible members their $500 bonus on or before December 31.  As soon as we hear when the County will be dispersing your bonus, we will let you know.  Thank you for exercising your right to vote on your contract!


City of Tacoma General Unit Bargaining Update

We had scheduled two bargaining dates with the employer, on August 11 and 26. Unfortunately the employer cancelled both sessions because they were unprepared and unable to get their bargaining team together. 

However, your Union bargaining teams met on August 26 and reviewed our draft proposals, bargaining strategy and had general discussion about the bargaining process. Your bargaining team is made up of the following stewards:

King County Teamsters - COLA Agreement Meetings

As you know, the King County Coalition of Unions bargained a tentative agreement that includes cost-of-living increases for all impacted County employees in 2015 and 2016.  The agreement also includes a flat lump sum bonus of $500 per employee payable to Coalition bargaining unit members only.  This agreement is fully recommended by your Union's bargaining committee.

In July and August, we will be holding four lunchtime meetings to discuss the agreement.  At the meetings, we will present and review the agreement and answer your questions.  You can review the tentative agreement and a FAQ document before the meeting.    

Please make an effort to attend and make your voice heard!  To RSVP, click on the date of the meeting you want to attend:

July 22 12:30-1:30P.M. King Street Conf Center - 8th Fl
July 31 12:00 - 1:00P.M. Maleng Regional Justice Center - Jail Community Room
August 5 12:00 - 1:00P.M.

Chinook Conference Center - Room 123

August 6 12:00 - 1:00P.M. Renton Road Maintenance - Building C

Each bargaining unit will have an opportunity to vote on the agreement before August 14.  

If you have any questions, please contact your Business Representative. As always, thank you for your incredible service to the residents of King County!

Harris v Quinn and the threat to your Union

The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn is the latest—and most dangerous—threat to the labor movement.

The decision did not deliver the fatal blow that many public sector unions had feared, but that is precisely why it is so dangerous:  as we all breathe a sigh of relief, we are at risk of getting lulled back to sleep.

The issue is “union security”:  the rule that permits unions (in some states) to require represented employees to pay their fair share of the costs of:

  • having a voice at work;
  • having a contract that guarantees rates of compensation, benefits, and working conditions;;
  • having professional advocacy in the workplace, under the grievance procedure, in the courts, and in the policy debate that occurs at all levels of the political arena.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn makes it clear that they will support a gradual erosion of union security.  We are the frog in the pot of warm water, and the Court has just turned up the heat.

Unions are the only organizations that express worker power through a common voice.  It is no surprise that corporations are looking to wipe us out—that isn’t new.

What is new is that this Supreme Court—which has recently and repeatedly affirmed the superiority of corporate rights over any other interest—has in this decision signaled that it will support corporate efforts to erode worker power, further tilting our economy out of balance.

Make no mistake:  the horde is at the gate.

What To Do?

The best way to protect yourself from these kinds of attacks is to affirm your support of your Union with your co-workers, get involved in contract negotiations, learn more about your Union, and talk about the threat of “right-to-work.” (the manipulative lingo that is used to sell the elimination of union security).

Let your co-workers know that you understand the value of having a strong Union and that when one person tries to claim the benefits of a Union without contributing his or her fair share, it harms all of us.

By sticking together and supporting each other and your Union, you will ensure that you always have a strong voice at work, and in the legal and political arenas.


City of Tacoma Update - July 1, 2014

Tacoma Joint Labor Update

As most of you know, Tacoma Joint Labor is a coalition of unions that bargains your health and welfare plans. This committee is comprised of Teamsters 117, Teamsters 313, IBEW 483, IPT 17 and AFSME.

Bargaining has been ongoing for a number of months, and the unions continue to fight to maintain and improve the level of benefits members of Tacoma labor unions receive.

To date, bargaining has been somewhat contentious and focused on language; however, moving forward we will be discussing the cost and design of our health plans, and the design and implementation of a wellness program. Some changes will be driven by the Affordable Care Act.

Union coalition reaches tentative agreement with King County

We are pleased to report that the Coalition of King County Unions has negotiated a tentative agreement with the County that includes cost-of-living increases for all impacted County employees in 2015 and 2016. Your Union's General Counsel Spencer Thal was one of the lead negotiators for the Coalition.  

The agreement also includes a flat lump sum bonus of $500 per employee payable to Coalition bargaining unit members only on or before December 31, 2014.  

This agreement is fully recommended by the Union's negotiations team. You can access a detailed summary document that outlines the changes here.

Each bargaining unit will have an opportunity to vote on the agreement before August 14.  We will be holding informational meetings in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned for times and locations.

Teamsters March for Equal Rights at Pride 2014


Dozens of Teamsters joined thousands in the streets of Seattle on Sunday for the annual Pride celebration.

Local 117 members from the public sector, private sector, and the Department of Corrections marched alongside the massive Teamster semi truck under the banner of equality for all workers.

Members danced, cheered, and waved at spectators along the route that crossed through downtown Seattle along 4th Ave. to the Seattle Center. The Local 117 contingent followed behind a flatbed truck with a DJ who was lauded by our friends at Working Washington for his music selection.

Check out photos from the event here.

Know your rights: Weingarten Rights

know-your-rights.jpgAs a Teamster, you have the right to Union representation during an “investigatory interview” that could lead to disciplinary action. These rights are called your Weingarten Rights.

If you are called to a meeting with management and you think that the meeting could lead to disciplinary action, you should:

  1. Request that your Business Representative or Shop Steward be present at the meeting. You must make a clear request for union representation before or during the interview. 
  2. If a Union representative is not available, ask that the meeting be rescheduled.
  3. If your employer insists on conducting the meeting without the presence of a Union representative, inform your employer that your Weingarten Rights are being violated and call your Business Representative immediately.

If you have questions about your Weingarten rights, talk to your Business Representative.

Win Cash for Class - 2014 Hoffa Essay Contest


The debate about the minimum wage is spreading, with Seattle approving the highest minimum wage in the country last month.  The James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund has announced this year's Essay Contest that addresses the topic: 

"The vast majority of union members make more than the minimum wage.  Why should Teamsters care what the minimum wage is?"

The scholarship is open to students attending or planning to attend a community college, 4-year institution, or a technical/vocational program, age 23 and younger, who are the son, daughter or financial dependent of an eligible Teamster member.

The deadline for submission of your essay and application is September 30, 2014.