Yesterday, over 50 Teamsters traveled to Olympia to meet with their legislators about issues that impact working families. The event - our second Lobby Day of the 2015 legislative session - was an unqualified success.
Most of the members who participated were Teamster taxi drivers, who belong to the Western Washington Taxicab Operators Association (WWTCOA).
"We want the same playing field for everybody," said WWTCOA member Amandeep Singh. "Why should we be paying expensive insurance, L&I, and and city fees, while companies like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar are not paying a penny? It's the same business. If we have to go through these things, they should have to go through them, too."
Taxi cab operators focused on two bills that would help create fairer working conditions for drivers in the industry. HB 1821 would give drivers the option to purchase L&I insurance, while HB 2131 would allow for-hire drivers to purchase new hybrid insurance products that will help ensure driver and public safety.
Both bills have moved out of their respective committees and they are likely on their way for a vote on the House floor.
In addition to lobbying on taxi issues, Local 117 members talked with legislators about the need to fund the Department of Corrections' contract as well an important bill (HB 1718) that would provide greater retirement security for DOC nurses through the expansion of the Public Safety Employees' Retirement System (PSERS). We are hoping that the PSERS bill will be exec'd out of the House Appropriations Committee this week. Teamster correctional employees were in Olympia lobbying on both of those issues last month as well.
Finally, Lobby Day participants expressed their support of our Shared Prosperity Agenda, designed to lift up middle class workers through passing statewide paid sick leave, protecting against wage theft, and increasing the state's minimum wage.
All in all, it was a great day in Olympia for members of Teamsters 117! Thanks to all of the members who attended and to Political Coordinator Dustin Lambro and Legislative Affairs Coordinator Brenda Wiest for their work in organizing the event.