When we fight, we win!

Public Sector


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.


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.