The Pierce County Central Labor Council (PCCLC) has just announced that they are accepting applications for the 2019 Jerry Beckendorf scholarship.
Every year the PCCLC grants approximately $10,000 to students who demonstrate a dedication to community and social service. The scholarship is open to high school students living in Pierce County whose parents are members of a labor union.
You can access the application online at www.pclaborcares.org. Applications are due on March 15, 2019.
In this issue, you'll find an overview of our goals for the 2019 legislative session in Olympia as well as the status of the bills we are tracking.
Other highlights include a tribute to Richard Coleman, an officer at the Washington State Penitentiary, who is retiring this month as well as the announcement of Legislative Director Brenda Wiest as the new Vice President of our Union's Executive Board.
You can view the new Guardian online here. Print copies will be distributed over the next few weeks by a committee of shop stewards and member leaders.
If you would like to volunteer to help distribute the Guardian or have an article to contribute, please reach out to your Union Representative.
Sisters and Brothers -
We owe a whole lot of gratitude to Teamsters across our Union who have been working round-the-clock during Snowmaggedon 2019 to keep our streets clear, our grocery shelves stocked, and our communities safe.
A special thanks to Local 117 members in public works departments across the North and South Sound who have been operating plows and salting the streets for the last week. Road conditions are bad enough now, but can you imagine the mess we'd be in without their tireless service?
Thanks, also, to our members in the grocery and food service industries who are putting in 16-hour shifts and holding up in roadside hotels to heft, house, and distribute food products to stores, nursing homes and hospitals across our region. They're busting their tails so that we can continue to eat.
"As Teamsters we've heeded the call of service and sacrifice..."
Teamster police and corrections employees are not granted days off during snow emergencies. Thanks to our Sisters and Brothers in public safety who are braving the roads and, as always, putting their lives on the line, to serve and protect us.
So many more Local 117 members have shown up for work this week despite the snow. As Teamsters, we've heeded the call of service and sacrifice so that families across Washington State can continue to safely navigate their neighborhoods, put food on their tables, and enjoy the madness Mother Nature has gifted us.
You are our hometown heroes - we appreciate you all so much.
In Olympia, nurses from across the state are standing together to support a law that would make our workplaces safer. The proposed legislation (HB 1155/SB 5190) would allow front-line caregivers to take uninterrupted meal and rest breaks.
At DOC, fatigue isn’t just a worker issue, it’s a safety issue. When DOC medical staff are chronically exhausted and overworked, the safety of the entire facility is put at risk.
Employers and management are trying to weaken protections for nurses by introducing a competing bill (SB 5344) that doesn’t solve the problem. We need to reject that proposal and send a resounding message to legislators that we support safer, more secure conditions for DOC nursing staff.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Find your legislators online, and send them an email telling them to support HB 1155 and SB 5190 and oppose SB 5344. You can copy and paste the message below or draft your own message.
Thank you for standing together with Teamster nurses!
Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy (l), Organizing Co-Director Pedro Olguin (c), and Tyson Lapilio (r) at the Memphis MLK March
Tyson Lapilio, a Teamster at Republic Services, joined Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and Organizing Co-Director Pedro Olguin in Memphis for the Teamsters Solid Waste & Recycling Division conference earlier this month. Lapilio penned this excellent piece capturing his experiences at the event:
Rebecca Libadia has been in the union world since 2001. For 14 years she worked with the administration of Labor Relations at the Port of Seattle during the reconstruction and modernization of the Sea-Tac International Airport. There, she got to know all sides of a union contract.
After years of experience, a job for Rebecca must ethically align with her convictions, and that was one of her motivations for taking on the role of a dues clerk with Local 117.
Rebecca and her husband have two children with whom she shares a love for sports, especially the Mariners and Seahawks. In her spare time, Rebecca also cares for her quirky and intelligent Chesapeake Bay retriever and likes to catch a break with a good book.
Welcome to the team, Rebecca. We wish you the best of luck on your journey with Teamsters!
Good news from Olympia! Our legislation to grant interest arbitration rights to our members at the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the University of Washington Police Department (UWPD) (SB5021/SB5022) cleared a first, important hurdle in the Senate yesterday when the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee unanimously voted to pass both bills out of committee.
Our UWPD bill (HB1043) was also favorably passed out of the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee yesterday on a vote of 6-1. The House committee has not yet taken executive action on our DOC interest arbitration bill (HB1042), but we anticipate that will happen soon.
Because both bills will have an impact on the state budget, the bills that cleared their respective committees yesterday will now be sent to fiscal committees in the House (Appropriations) and Senate (Ways & Means), where we will have another opportunity to testify. We will update you when those hearings are scheduled.
Yesterday we also introduced our bill that will amend current statute to authorize trained DOC staff who have been subject to a background check in the last five years to carry a concealed weapon. This fix will restore a right that was taken away due to a problem with the RCW that invalidated our Peace Officer Identification Cards. The new bill (HB1589) has bipartisan support with twenty co-sponsors and will be considered by the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.
Please take a moment to thank the Senators on the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee for recognizing the need for interest arbitration for DOC and UWPD by sending a quick email or calling their offices. Thanks also to the members who took time out of their busy schedules to give powerful testimony on the bills.
The Teamsters 117 Executive Board has unanimously voted to appoint Brenda Wiest as its new Vice-President effective February 1, 2019.
Brenda will succeed former Vice-President and Union Representative Marcus Williams, who announced that he is planning for a possible relocation at the end of the year.
“I love this union and I am humbled and honored to have been asked to serve on our Executive Board,” Wiest said. “I am committed to building power and unity among all of our members through strong contracts, growth, community involvement, and legislative change.”
Brenda, who has been on the Local 117 staff for 15 years, will continue to serve as our union’s Legislative Director. She has excelled in that role through her work with lawmakers and our labor allies to craft and move policy that benefits workers across Washington State.
"I love this union and I am humbled and honored to have been asked to serve on our Executive Board."
Prior to stepping into that role in 2014, Brenda led organizing drives, contract campaigns, and strikes to build member power and win strong contracts at places like UNFI, Waste Management, and Davis Wire.
Brenda is active in the labor movement and her community. She has been a delegate on the Pierce County Central Labor Council for the last 12 years and has served on the PCCLC Executive Board for the last six. She is also a labor representative on the Labor and Industries Workers’ Compensation Advisory Committee and a participant on the Union Labels and Lists Committee.
She was appointed as a citizen and labor voice to the Tacoma 2025 Advisory Committee to build a strategic plan to guide the City of Tacoma for the next 10 years.
“Brenda is an extremely talented, committed, and experienced labor leader. We are thrilled to welcome her to our union’s Executive Board,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117.
Wearing our union colors down in Olympia for the interest arbitration hearings on January 17.
With the 2019 legislative session kicking off in Olympia this week, bills that would grant interest arbitration rights to our Department of Corrections (DOC) and University of Washington Police Department (UWPD) members are already starting to move.
Several Teamsters provided powerful testimony supporting both bills today in hearings before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee and the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee.
Michelle Woodrow, our union's President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement, laid out our case for interest arbitration before legislators:
Interest arbitration is a right commonly available to public safety employees such as the Washington State Patrol who do not have the ability to strike. It allows our union to move mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator should we reach impasse in negotiations.
At the DOC, we achieved interest arbitration through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Governor in 2014 and negotiated it into our contract, but it has not been codified in statute. Our members at the UWPD have never had access to these rights.
Without access to interest arbitration, members like Officers Mark Hackett and Marvin McKinney of the UWPD have struggled to obtain critical safety gear to protect themselves in the line of duty.
For Sergeant Jason Heuer and Officer James Deuel of the DOC, passing interest arbitration means securing their rights into the future. "It’s critical that we win this in statute because otherwise it can just be taken away...," they said.
Thank you to our members who took time out of their busy schedules to travel to Olympia to testify.
- You can view the House testimony on TVW here
- The Senate testimony can be viewed online here
- Track our bills: HB1042 (DOC), HB1043 (UWPD), SB5021 (DOC), SB5022(UWPD)
As session continues, there will be more hearings on these bills and more opportunities to make your voice heard. Passing interest arbitration for DOC and UWPD will require excellent participation at our upcoming Lobby Day on February 26-27. It will also require all of us coming together to educate legislators about the critical public safety work we perform.
Looking for a meaningful way to spend the upcoming MLK weekend? Come out and march for justice with other members of Teamsters 117.
Groups of Teamsters will be participating in both the Seattle Women’s March on Saturday, January 19 and the MLK March on Monday, January 21.
Look for Teamster banners and signs at the following times and locations:
SEATTLE WOMEN’S MARCH
Saturday, January 19 - 9:00am-11:00am
Cal Anderson Park (1635 11th Avenue, Seattle)
To meet up with other Teamsters, contact your union representative or reach out to Talisa Boad at 360-722-0891.
MLK DAY MARCH & RALLY
Monday, January 21 – 12:30pm-1:30pm
Garfield High School (400 23rd Ave. Seattle)
To march with Teamsters, contact your union representative or reach out to Karen Estevenin at 206-794-8471.
Both events further our mission as a union that builds power and unity for all working people to improve lives and lift up our communities.
As the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said: “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.”