When we fight, we win!

Public Sector

Secretary-Treasurer's Message: Teamster Heroes

Tracey-Thompson---Teamsters-Local117_.jpgBrothers and Sisters:

When the magnitude of the Oso mudslide tragedy became apparent, a group of Washington State correctional officers, of their own volition, answered the call for volunteers to help in the disaster relief effort.

These included Teamsters like Sergeant Jimmy Fletcher and Officer Tom Gent. The disaster called into action thousands of our country’s finest – men and women who make their careers serving the public. In all, 211 agencies – local, county, federal, tribal, charitable organizations, as well as the business community - were involved in the relief effort.  

Teamsters King County Newsletter - Now Available!


Teamsters at King County - A new issue of your Local 117 newsletter is now available!  

This issue has some tips about defending your rights and staying out of trouble at work.  We've also got a brief update on COLA bargaining as well as info about a scholarship for your Teamster kids who are applying for college.

Check out your online newsletter here.


Vote YES to save Metro and our roads!

metro.jpgKing County is scrambling to stave off the possibility of huge reductions in Metro bus service and the further erosion of our public transportation infrastructure. 

If voters do not approve a funding measure on April 22, Metro stands to lose 74 bus routes, and over 100 routes would have to change.  Residents would see more crowded buses, longer wait times, less reliable service, more traffic, and longer commutes.

The measure proposes a $60/annual car tab fee and a one-tenth-of-a-cent increase in the sales tax.  King County gained the authority to take the measure to the voters when the Council unanimously approved the creation of a transportation district on Feb. 11.

VOTE YES FOR TRANSPORTATION ON APRIL 22:  We’ve already seen a 44% decrease in transportation funding since 2008.  Vote YES to save Metro, preserve the low-income fare program, and protect family-wage jobs!

King County will be mailing out ballots on April 2, so you should be receiving them in the mail by April 4 or 5.

Wastewater Teamster rescues man at treatment plant

westpoint.jpgSometimes it feels like just getting up and going to work every day is an heroic act.  Through our work, we serve our communities, pay the bills, and put food on the table for our families.  That’s about as heroic as it gets, right?

Well, for one Teamster at King County, the daily grind presented an opportunity to do a little bit more.  Randy Smith, a supervisor in the County’s Wastewater Treatment Division, and his SEIU 925 crew, helped assist in a rescue operation of a man who had fallen into a raw sewage tank in Discovery Park.

When a crew member heard the man screaming as he was making his rounds at the plant, Randy and his crew took immediate action to help save the man and called 911.  Firefighters were dispatched to the scene, and the man was taken to the Harborview Medical Center.

So let’s hear it for the quick-acting Teamster who helped save a man’s life while doing his job.  You can’t get much more heroic than that!

King County Accountant Wins Reclass Appeal

If you are performing work outside the scope of your job classification, the county needs to compensate you for it.  It’s a pretty simple equation, but the county doesn’t always get the simple things right. 

If you are getting shortchanged, Local 117 will help you with your reclassification appeal.  We’ll sit down with you, review the documents, and present your case at your appeal hearing.

We recently won a reclass case on behalf of Alisa Bui, a member in the county’s Finance, Business and Operations Division, who was performing the work of a senior accountant, but not being compensated as such.  After the county denied her reclassification request, Alisa teamed up with her Business Representative, Matt House, and the two filed an appeal, presented the case before the county’s appeal board, and won a reversal of the decision. 

The win means a lot to Alisa - a 10% increase in pay and a reminder to the County that the union won’t let it get away with underpaying its employees.   

KC Coalition Bargaining Update - February 26

At the previous meeting the County indicated a willingness to extend the existing COLA language for one year while continuing to work on other issues. Prior to today’s meeting with the County, the Coalition caucused to agree on a response to the County, for today’s meeting. During the caucus, strategies for current circumstances were discussed along with the desire for the County to not include the unrepresented in their costing data and analyses.

Pierce County Teamsters - Beckendorf Scholarship Deadline is Feb. 28

If you live in Pierce County, your son or daughter may be eligible to apply for the Jerry Beckendorf scholarship, but you'd better hurry - the deadline to apply is February 28, 2014.

View the 2014 scholarship application and eligibility requirements here.

Since 2003, the Jerry Beckendorf Community Services Scholarship program has awarded more than $42,000 to 70 graduating seniors from Union families living in Pierce County.

Your State Senator Needs to Hear from you on Paid Sick Days!


We are very excited to announce that the Senate Commerce and Labor committee has scheduled a hearing for Paid Sick and Safe Days (HB 1313) on Wednesday, February 26th at 1:30 p.m.

Thanks to your emails and phone calls, the bill passed out of the House of Representatives on January 29. Now, HB 1313 faces a tough fight in the Senate.  We must do all we can if Paid Sick Days (HB1313) is going to make it through the Senate Labor and Commerce committee. Here's what you can do right now:

1.  Sign the Paid Sick Days Action Alert here.

2. Contact key members of the Senate Commerce and Labor committee and tell them to pass this bill out! 

Curtis King R 14th
(360) 786-7626

Janea Holmquist Newbry, Chair R 13th
(360) 786-7624

John Braun R 20th
(360) 786-7638

Mike Hewitt R 16th
360 786-7630

3.  If you live in the 13th, 14th, 15th and 20th legislative districts, your support is especially important!

Paid Sick Days ensure people can care for their health needs without losing a day’s wages or their job and promotes healthy business by preventing the spread of food-borne disease and boosting employee morale and productivity.

Teamsters Back in Olympia, Making their Voices Heard


Teamsters 117 was back in Olympia today to speak out in support of issues that are important to working families.  Together with members of several other Teamster Locals, Local 117 members met with their legislators to discuss raising the minimum wage, passing a paid sick days bill, and protecting workers against wage theft.

"This is the second time that I've done a Lobby Day, and I had a lot of fun the first time," said Jess Turney, a 2-year Teamster at Fisheries Supply in Seattle. "I think the strength of the Teamsters is activism and the membership has to participate in order for the union to be strong and for us to accomplish our goals." 

Local 117 members continued to lobby their State Senators on a bill (HB 2152) that would allow Teamster taxi drivers the choice to opt into the State's Labor & Industries system.  On February 7, the bill passed out of the House by a vote of 93-1, and it is now working its way through the Senate.

Members also discussed the need to alleviate prison overcrowding and to address other safety and security-related issues for our state's correctional employees.

Today's event was organized by the Joint Council of Teamsters 28, an organization of 12 Teamster Locals in Washington, Alaska, and Northern Idaho.

King County Coalition of Unions - Total Comp. Update

On February 12, King County met with the King County Coalition of Unions to address two key components of the Coalition’s November 21 proposal.

Matt McCoy from the County outlined the cost incurred to provide an additional two steps (Step 11 and Step 12) to the Squared Table, as well as a Vacation Cash Out option. It was discussed that 63% of Coalition employees are at Step 10. Adding two steps would result in a 2.78% on-going, long-term cost increase in total payroll. The vacation cash out option would be a one-time payroll cost increase of 4.75% (or $29 million in real dollars). Therefore, the immediate combined increase in total payroll cost to the County would be 7.53%.

According to Dwight Dively (Budget Director) at a December presentation to the Coalition, the General Fund Revenue is expected to have an “…average long-term revenue growth of about 2.5%.”

View the entire update here.