Just a friendly reminder to make sure you fill out your ballot and drop it in the mail for the 2019 Primary Election by August 6. You no longer need a stamp to make your voice heard!
Ballots were mailed out to registered voters on July 17. Last year's turnout in Washington State was the highest in 20 years. Let's do our part as union members to make sure results remain strong.
Not surprisingly, presidential and mid-term election years increase voter turnout significantly. But it's equally important for us as concerned citizens to participate in off-year elections.
This year, many of the candidates on your ballot are strong supporters of working families. There are excellent candidates vying for the four seats up for reelection on the King County Council and for the seven open seats on the Seattle City Council.
The outcome of these races and others in the counties and towns across our region will have a tremendous impact on policies and regulations that will affect us for years to come.
Please fill out your ballot and drop it in the mail as soon as possible. If you want to learn about the candidates our union has endorsed through our member-driven process, please visit our union's endorsements page on our website.
At Teamsters 117, we have a committee of members that participates in interviewing candidates and making recommendations for who our union endorses. That decision is based on which candidates the committee feels best represent the needs of working families.
In 2019, our Statewide Political Advisory Committee met with dozens of candidates and made endorsements for local office for positions which will appear on your Primary and General Election ballot this year. Those candidates are listed below.
|King County||Director of Elections||Julie Wise|
|County Council, Pos 2||Larry Gossett|
|County Council, Pos 4||Jeanne Kohl-Welles|
|County Council, Pos 6||Claudia Balducci|
|County Council, Pos 8||Joe McDermott|
|Port of Seattle||Commissioner, Pos 2||
|Commissioner, Pos 5||Fred Felleman|
|City of Auburn||City Council, Pos 5||Chris Stearns|
|City of Burien||City Council, Pos 4||Kevin Schilling|
|City Council, Pos 6||Sofia Aragon|
|City of Federal Way||City Council, Pos 3||Sharry Edwards|
|City Council, Pos 5||Jamila Taylor|
|City of Kent||City Council, Pos 1||Marli Larimer|
|City Council, Pos 5||Mizan Rahman|
|City Council, Pos 7||Awale Farah|
|City of SeaTac||City Council, Pos 1||Senayet Negusse|
|City Council, Pos 3||Damiana Merryweather|
|City Council, Pos 5||Takele Gobena|
|City Council, Pos 7||Mohamed Egal|
|City of Seattle||City Council, District 1||Lisa Herbold|
|City Council, District 2||Tammy Morales|
|City Council, District 3||Egan Orion|
|City Council, District 5||Debora Juarez|
|City Council, District 6||
|City Council, District 7||
Andrew Lewis (Dual)
|Steilacoom Historical School District||School Board, Pos 1||Melanie Stone|
|City of Tacoma||City Council, Pos 1||Nathe Lawver|
|City Council, Pos 7||Conor McCarthy|
City of Tukwila
|City Council, Pos 2||Nancy Manos|
We're pleased to announce the hiring of Eamon McCleery, an experienced labor attorney who joined our union staff effective July 1.
Eamon will be our Teamsters 117 staff attorney dedicated to handling negotiations, arbitrations, and unfair labor practice litigation on behalf of members working in corrections and law enforcement.
A native of the Pacific Northwest and a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law, Eamon previously worked as an attorney at a labor law firm specializing in representing law enforcement and corrections employees in the State of Washington.
It's important to understand that the outstanding unity and low opt-out rate among law enforcement and corrections members have allowed us to secure Eamon as an additional resource.
When members stand together and commit to each other like we have seen at Teamsters 117, we can improve wages, safety, and benefits and protect our workplace rights through professional, quality representation.
If you are in need of legal support due to an issue in the workplace, please contact your union representative who will initiate a legal review process with Eamon.
Good news came in yesterday from our International Union on the issue of pension reform:
Yesterday we received the finalized version of our 2019-2021 DOC collective bargaining agreement from the Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM), and the document is now available for you online. Our union's Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and the Governor signed our contract in a ceremony in Olympia on June 17.
You can view a link to the complete contract with all of the negotiated changes below:
Your union contract contains a number of language improvements and a minimum of an 8% general wage increase for all Teamsters at the DOC over the next two years.
Members received a general increase of 4% effective July 1, 2019 and will receive another 4% increase effective July 1, 2020. In addition, a number of classifications will receive targeted range increases.
Please take some time to familiarize yourself with your union contract. It contains essential seniority rights, bidding rights, safety provisions, vacation and holiday pay, the right to just cause in a disciplinary investigation, and many other workplace protections that are unavailable to non-union employees.
Thank you to our outstanding union negotiations team for their work on our contract and for speaking out for fair wages, safety, and respect for all DOC corrections employees.
Teamsters at King County will see an extra chunk of money in their paychecks this month. The money comes as a result of months of hard work by members and staff who have been part of our King County Coalition of Unions.
The Coalition spent much of last year negotiating a Total Compensation Agreement, which all Teamster bargaining units overwhelmingly ratified last December. The Agreement covers your wages, benefits, and other compensable elements for 2019-2020.
With the contract approved, all Teamsters 117 members at the County received a 4% wage increase effective January 1, 2019. Before you could see the money reflected in your paycheck, the contract needed to be approved by the Council and the County Executive.
That process is now complete and your wage increase retroactive to January 1 has arrived.
Your contract also provides for a total of a 3% wage increase in 2020, divided into two parts: a 1.5% increase effective January 1, 2020 and a 1.5% increase effective July 1, 2020. You will also receive a $500 bonus on January 1, 2020 that applies to members of the King County Coalition of Unions only.Read more
Brothers and Sisters -
A year ago backers of the Janus court case were forecasting the end of unions. They tried to use the courts to take away our freedom to stand together for fair wages, affordable health care, and a secure retirement for ourselves and our families.
One year later, unions have emerged stronger than ever. More people across the country understand the value of standing together with their co-workers to improve their quality of life and build strong, vibrant communities.
"...members are sticking with the union in overwhelming numbers."
At Teamsters 117, members are sticking with the union in overwhelming numbers. As a result, we’ve raised wages, improved benefits, and strengthened contracts for thousands of public service workers over the last year. We’ve helped passed laws in Olympia that will enhance the rights of all members of Teamsters 117. This year we also hosted our first-ever Teamsters Womxn’s Conference that brought a powerful spirit of sisterhood to our union.Read more
Our Teamsters DOC retirement committee met last week in Olympia to look at policy options.
A group of members who attended the DOC contract signing in Olympia last week spent a few minutes celebrating on the steps of the State Capitol then got straight to work.
Their goal? To evaluate retirement benefits and make policy recommendations for Teamsters at the Washington State Department of Corrections.
It's a challenging job given the convoluted nature of pension politics and the potential impact pension reform could have on the State budget, but all were in agreement: The work needs to get done.
"Retirement is something at DOC that needs to be looked at," said Jeannette Young, a classification counselor at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton. "We work one-on-one with inmates and it's a highly stressful environment."
"We are committed to working to tackle this difficult issue."
The current DOC retirement system has many corrections staff working longer than they should, which can compromise staff safety inside the prisons.
"Many people are forced to stay on too long because they need to maintain their medical benefits," said Shawn Piliponis of the Larch Corrections Center. "This can affect response times and the ability to assist in disturbances."
After a round of introductions, the 21-member DOC Retirement Committee focused on brainstorming improvements they'd like to see. Ideas included improving post-retirement healthcare benefits, reducing the penalty for early retirement, and making PSERS available to everyone, among others.
Now the hard part begins. The next step requires researching what is fiscally and politically feasible and what would have the greatest impact on the membership as a whole. It also requires educating members and engaging them around the issue. Clearly, people are concerned about their retirement and would like to see improvements. The trick is getting folks involved.
The committee agreed to meet on an ongoing basis to develop short and long-term goals. Once viable options are on the table, the group also plans to survey the membership to see what ideas we can coalesce around.
"Corrections work is inherently stressful and dangerous," said Michelle Woodrow, our union's President and Executive Director, who is helping to lead the committee. "We are committed to working to tackle this difficult issue so that all of our members at the DOC can retire with dignity."
To learn more about your current retirement benefits, please visit the Department of Retirement Systems. You can learn about health care options in retirement here. If you are interested in participating on our Teamsters Retirement Committee, contact Political Director Dustin Lambro at email@example.com.
Teamsters Mari Jane Friel (l) and Anthony McKinney (r) take their talents out to the broader membership.
Mari Jane Friel and Anthony McKinney are a couple of stand-out union activists. Both have excelled at building a strong union in their respective workplaces.
Mari Jane is a roads utility worker at King County. She ramped up her union involvement when the Janus court case loomed with its threat of open shop. Anthony comes out of the grocery industry, where he and a fellow shop steward orchestrated a powerful workplace action to stop their employer from skimming their work.
Both Anthony and Mari Jane recently had a chance to come on board at Local 117 as lost-timers. Our union negotiated a leave of absence with their employers and picked up their wages and benefits while they were away from their jobs.Read more
Governor Jay Inslee signs our DOC 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement.
Our 2019-2021 DOC collective bargaining agreement was signed on Monday by the Governor and our union's Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy in a short ceremony in Olympia.
This marks the end of many hours of hard work from our union negotiations committee followed by an interest arbitration hearing and an intense effort to persuade legislators to fund the contract.
The contract contains a number of language improvements and a minimum of an 8% general wage increase for all Teamsters at the DOC over the next two years.
Members will receive a general increase of 4% effective July 1, 2019 and a 4% increase effective July 1, 2020. In addition, a number of classifications will receive targeted range increases.
I encourage you to familiarize yourself with your union contract. It provides important information about your rights, protections, guaranteed wages, and working conditions.
Thank you again to the incredible work of our union negotiations team and to all of our members who spoke out for fair wages, safety, and respect. You made this victory possible.
Members celebrate contract victory after Governor signs the agreement.