Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and Business Representative Kris Fish meet with Teamsters at GP Gypsum. 

Teamsters at GP Gypsum have voted unanimously to authorize a strike. The vote took place at three meetings last week at the IBEW hall in Tacoma. The result of the vote was 71-0; over 90 percent of the bargaining unit participated.

“Our members are ready to take action to defend their livelihoods,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “They will fight for a contract that provides job security and respect. Union solidarity at GP Gypsum is strong.”

Our contract expired at the end of July. Bargaining has been relatively unproductive and the company appears intent on delaying the process. We've sent them multiple bargaining dates; they say they’re unavailable to meet until the end of November. 

They’re also insisting on involving a federal mediator even though bargaining is still in its early stages. “Going to mediation before we’ve even begun to discuss economic issues is premature,” Scearcy said. “We need to give the bargaining process a chance to work.”

The mood down at GP’s facility in Tacoma has been contentious. After negotiations got underway, management emptied out lockers that they said weren’t “labeled properly.” Members lost valuables, including cash, gear, tools, and important documents. 

We responded by printing out Teamster labels that are prominently displayed throughout the locker room. We also submitted an information request asking for company data on wages, hours, seniority, policies, and outstanding grievances.

"The turnout was awesome and the vote went the right way."

Member leaders were encouraged by the excellent attendance and the unanimous vote.  “The turnout was awesome and the vote went the right way,” said Shaun Kendall, a Teamster lab technician who has been with the company for 12.5 years. “A lot of brothers and sisters talked about how they’re feeling. I hope the company gets it,” he said.

Kendall was also grateful for the support from the Local. “We’re getting awesome representation from our Rep and the Local. The last two contracts weren’t as good. Now it’s a whole different thing. Different people from the Local are showing up to support us. It awesome.”