Justin R. Shaffer, a Trooper with the Washington State Patrol, was killed in the line of duty on Tuesday.
With the coronavirus outbreak, these are incredibly stressful and challenging times for all of us.
Many Teamsters have lost their jobs or seen their hours cut because their industries have been decimated by the virus.
Others, including those of you working in public safety professions, have been called on, as you so often are at a time of crisis, to report to duty despite the constant threat of infection. Indeed, many of you are putting in long hours to cover for your sisters or brothers who are out sick.
The stress on you and your family during a national emergency is tremendous.
When tragedy strikes at a time like this, that stress is compounded.
Recently, we witnessed the tragic, premature death of Justin R. Shaffer, a Trooper with the Washington State Patrol. Trooper Shaffer was killed in the line of duty while placing spike strips on I-5 in Chehalis on Tuesday.
Because law enforcement and corrections is such a close-knit community, this tragedy touches all of us.
Through his work, Trooper Shaffer dedicated his life to public service and made the ultimate sacrifice as he worked to keep our communities safe. We mourn his passing, commemorate his life, and cherish his memory. He will not be forgotten.
Because of drivers taking action and aggressive advocacy from your Union, we are one step closer to securing urgently needed emergency relief for Uber, Lyft, and Taxi drivers.
Yesterday afternoon, Governor Inslee announced:
- A statewide 30-day moratorium on residential evictions; and
- An effort to call on the White House and Congress to declare a disaster in Washington, authorizing Disaster Unemployment Assistance for Uber, Lyft, and Taxi drivers and others who may not normally be eligible for unemployment benefits.
We are one step closer to securing emergency relief. But, it’s not guaranteed. We have to fight so drivers don’t fall through the cracks.
Right now, I’m asking you to do three things:
- Call Congress at (202) 224-3121. Tell them “Provide Disaster Unemployment Assistance for Uber, Lyft, and Taxi drivers NOW!”
- Uber & Lyft Drifers: Apply for unemployment. Apply here (computer or laptop). Don’t give up if you receive an initial automated-rejection. Start filing weekly claims (even if you’ve been initially rejected), and be prepared to provide documentation of your hours of work and pay. You want your account to already be set up so there aren’t delays if funds become available. Click here to receive application instructions and information on free legal support.
- Get additional resources. Your Union has compiled this COVID-19 Emergency Resource Guide, including information on where to go for food assistance, what to do if you can’t pay your rent or mortgage, Teamsters job openings, and other resources.
We know this is a very stressful time for drivers. We will continue to fight for the support drivers need, and update you with the latest resources available.
We understand members have been sent home because they have answered “yes” to one of the screening questions and are told they need to use their own leave to cover their absence from work. Some members have been sent home even after presenting a doctor's note stating they are cleared to return to work.
Your Union has aggressively advocated on your behalf, contacting the Department, the Office of Financial Management (OFM), and the Governor's Office.
As a result, TOMORROW, March 18, 2020, DOC will distribute a communication that provides for the following:
- All members who are refused entry during the DOC's screening procedure will be put on paid administrative leave (you will not be required to use your own leave)
Additionally, the DOC and the Union will work on a follow-up process to establish a timeline for when an affected employee can return to work.
As this crisis develops, you will continue to have questions and concerns about how it impacts your health and safety in the workplace. In order to have an orderly and responsive process, please direct your questions and concerns to your Shop Stewards or Union Representative. Our Union staff will forward this information to me so I can communicate your concerns to the appropriate authority.
It is also extremely important that you take every precaution to stop the spread of the virus.
Please do not come to work sick. Please answer the screening questions honestly.
Even if you are experiencing mild symptoms, you may be carrying the virus and pose a threat to your co-workers. It's also important to follow the CDC's recommendations on how to protect yourself, your co-workers, and your family. Needless to say, a major COVID-19 outbreak inside our prison system would be devastating.
Thank you for everything you do.
Please stay healthy and safe.
The United Way of King County has provided a list of resources that you can access if you become unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Here's what they are saying:
Check out the full article and the 7 steps you can take to seek out benefits.
WHO'S HIRING - FIND A TEAMSTER JOB!
If you have been laid off or are facing layoff as a result of the coronavirus crisis and are looking for a job, there are several Teamster employers who are currently hiring:
- Darigold: Transportation and production openings, Class A required for transportation, apply here
- Auburn Dairy: Walk in to grab application, 702 W. Main St, Auburn, WA, 98001
- Republic Kent and Bellevue: Class B required, apply here
- Safeway: Hiring 50+ order selectors, 10+ drivers, send resume here
- King County: Hiring multiple positions (sort listings by date posted to get the most recent openings), apply here
- Dept of Corrections: Hiring multiple positions, apply here
- Law enforcement positions can be found here
- Swire Coca Cola: Hiring merchandiser, applicants will need to submit an online application on the Swire Coca Cola website and select the Bellevue location here
- Pepsi: Hiring merchandiser, apply here
- Lineage Seafreeze: Hiring utility position, apply here
- QCD: Hiring 3 drivers and 6 helpers, apply here
- USB Franz: Hiring 6 checkers and 1 truck driver, apply here
- UNFI: Hiring 4 drivers, apply here
- Schnitzer Steel: Hiring warehouse production, apply here
- Seattle Iron: Apply in person: 601 S Myrtle St, Seattle, WA 98108
- Steeler: Hiring a machinist and mechanic, send resume to Lindsay Decker
- Fred Meyer Distribution Warehouse: Hiring order fillers, apply here
- Dawn Foods: Hiring multiple line / operator positions, all shifts, apply here (choose the Seattle Manufacturing Plant (MPSE) Location to see the positions open)
- Brand / Aluma Systems: 3-5 openings, contact Anthony McKinney for application
- Viking Sprinkler: 1 opening (prefer a welding background), apply at: 3434 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
- AmerisourceBergen: Currently has openings on days and nights, to apply for these positions go to Indeed.com or AmerisourceBergen website
- City of Black Diamond: Hiring a Judicial Specialist, apply here
- City of Kent:
- City of Tacoma General Unit:
- Macys Stores:
- Macys Logistics:
- Pierce County:
Due to the COVID19 outbreak across our state, we will be cancelling our General Membership Meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 19.
Our Executive Board made this decision in accordance with CDC recommendations and in the name of public safety. Thank you for your understanding as our community deals with this crisis.
This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us to come together to do our part to fight this disease. Thank you for everything you do.
Please stay healthy and safe.
UNEMPLOYMENT GUIDE FOR UBER AND LYFT DRIVERS - COMPLETE FORM BELOW
If you have lost income due to the COVID-19 crisis, you may be eligible for state unemployment benefits (even if you are still driving).
We encourage drivers to apply.
Fill out the form below to receive our Unemployment Guide for Uber and Lyft drivers in Washington State.
DOC Teamsters -
With COVID-19 spreading in Washington State, I wanted to make sure you are informed about steps we are taking at Teamsters 117 to assure that you, your co-workers, and your families' safety is a priority.
Over the last several days, I have been in frequent contact with the Department, both with Secretary Steve Sinclair and the Department of Corrections COVID-19 Incident Commander Danielle Armbruster. Through these conversations, I have relayed your concerns about how the Washington State Department of Corrections is managing the COVID-19 crisis.
I have urged the Agency to cease the visit program in its current form and reduce the number of volunteers allowed to enter the prison. The danger of introducing COVID-19 into a prison system that is already significantly understaffed and is responsible for the safety of incarcerated individuals, many of whom are suffering from significant medical complications, far outweighs any inconvenience that may be experienced.
Additionally, members have raised concerns about training requirements, such as defensive tactics, and the inability to practice safe social distancing as recommended by CDC guidelines. I have heard concerns about screening requirements, the need for appropriate and sufficient protective gear, and an overall concern about the “what ifs” as this situation unfolds. My commitment to you is to forcefully advocate for your health and safety as the Department works to manage this crisis.
The Department is requesting that all questions and concerns related to COVID-19 be directed to DOCCOVID19@doc.wa.gov. Please use this email to document and communicate any concerns you may have. As a public entity, having one repository for information can be beneficial to your Union.
To help protect yourself and your family, the CDC is recommending that you:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Close contact is considered within 6ft.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. WASH and/or sanitize your hands after.
In addition, the Washington State Employment Security Department has put together a list of benefits available to workers who are impacted by COVID-19 and an FAQ page for workers. If you have questions, please reach out to your Union Representative.
I know this is a worrisome time for all of us. At times like these, it is important that we remember to care for each other - our families, all of our Union Sisters and Brothers, and the members of our community.
Please stay healthy and safe.
President and Executive Director