Brothers and Sisters:

I want to draw your attention to a common concern in both the public and private sector work environments. It’s a practice called “skimming.”

Skimming occurs when managers or outside contractors start performing job duties typically assigned to members within the bargaining unit.

Skimming can cause you to lose out on overtime, lose control of your work environment, or even lead to layoffs. Stewards and other members have reported skimming at the Department of Corrections, King County, the City of Tacoma, Pierce County, and at many other public and private sector employers.

As a union member, you have protections against skimming under the law and possibly in your contract. It may be a contractual violation or an unfair labor practice, for example, when an employer fails to bargain the decision to skim bargaining unit work.

It’s important that you are aware of you rights with respect to skimming and that you protect the work you have historically performed. If you allow your employer to skim your work, it can quickly develop into an established practice and it may be difficult to recapture that work.

If someone is performing your work who is not a member, be sure to report it to your Shop Steward or Business Representative immediately. A failure to stop skimming will weaken your union, diminish your leverage at the bargaining table, and may make it more difficult for you and your co-workers to get your work back.

Thank you for your service to our communities, and for your membership in Teamsters Local 117.

In Solidarity,


John Scearcy