Our union team gathers on the first day of contract negotiations with SuperValu.
Over the weekend, Teamsters who work in SuperValu’s grocery warehouse in Tacoma voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year contract. The contract provides annual wage increases, excellent health and welfare coverage, and retirement security for over 200 members of Local 117 and their families.
“One of the highlights for me was ensuring full maintenance of our medical benefits,” said Anthony McKinney, a shop steward who served on our union’s negotiations committee. “A lot of my co-workers are on their way to having children. They’ll see the incredible benefit of keeping this medical coverage in our contract.”
"They’ll see the incredible benefit of keeping this medical coverage..."
The agreement maintains industry standards and aligns with other Teamster grocery contracts, including those at Safeway and Fred Meyer. This is a major accomplishment given the dramatic changes and consolidation in the industry.
A little over a year ago, SuperValu purchased Unified Grocers for $390 million. Teamsters who had worked in Unified’s Seattle warehouse moved down to the SuperValu facility in Tacoma.Read more
Welcome back Tracey Thompson (l) and thank you Marie Duarte (r) for your outstanding service!
Brothers and Sisters -
Changes are coming to our outstanding Teamsters 117 legal team. In September, Marie Duarte, our Associate General Counsel, will be returning to the east coast to be closer to her family.
During her tenure at Local 117, Marie has been a passionate advocate for workers' rights, has successfully defended dozens of members of our union in arbitration, and has handled challenging litigation. My deep appreciation goes out to Marie for her work on behalf of all members of Teamsters 117.
Knowing Marie, I have the utmost confidence that she will continue to rise to the defense of workers no matter where her career path takes her in the future. We wish her all the best!
In parting, Marie has these words to share: "It has been a privilege to represent the members of Teamsters Local 117 for almost two years. I am humbled by the trust that John, Michelle, and the members put in me to help realize their collective vision of building power and unity for working people. As an immigrant woman, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to bring a new voice to this work. Thank you for the opportunity to serve."
Returning to replace Marie, we welcome a familiar face. Tracey Thompson has accepted the position of General Counsel of Teamsters 117 effective September 10.
"It is an honor to return to serve the members of this union that I love..."
For those of you who don't know Tracey, she is somewhat of a legend in the labor movement in the Pacific Northwest. Tracey was a staff attorney at our Local for six years before serving as Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117 from 2009-2015.
Tracey brings an extraordinary legal mind to the position, an intimate knowledge of our union, and a deep passion for defending the rights of workers. To top it off, Tracey is in good health and eager to get started. We are thrilled to have Tracey back on board!
"It is an honor to return to serve the members of this union that I love under the outstanding leadership of John Scearcy and Michelle Woodrow," Tracey said. "I'm ready to hit the ground running and ensure that our union's legal counsel is second to none."
Please join me in thanking Marie for her service and welcoming Tracey back to our union!
Access to good health care is critical for State employees, but so far the State is not getting the message. In the current round of health care negotiations, their proposal would increase out-of-pocket costs for you and your family.
Our coalition of unions has proposed COST SAVINGS through a reduced premium share, but the State is pushing back. We need to flood the Governor's office with phone calls and emails now!
Tell the Governor to fund a health care agreement that values the hard work you perform to serve and protect our communities.
During the recession, State employees made sacrifices to help the State through its financial crisis. Now that the State is back on solid financial footing, they need to prevent costly increases to your health care.
CALL AND EMAIL THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE NOW!
Call Governor Inslee's office at 360-902-4111 or send him an email now. Urge him to:
- Support a fair health care agreement that values the hard work and sacrifices you make to serve and protect our communities.
Please call and email the Governor now!
DOC VOTING IS NOW OPEN. CLICK HERE TO VOTE ON YOUR CONTRACT. Your union negotiations committee unanimously recommends that you VOTE NO!
Voting is being conducted two ways: (1) by telephone or (2) through the internet. You may only vote by one (1) method. Polls open at 12:01 A.M. on Monday, August 6 and close at 11:59 P.M. on Sunday, August, 19.
- Internet Voting
- Go to http://www.electionadmin.com/1111801.aspx
- Enter your PIN (your DOC employee ID number)
- Telephone Voting
- Dial: 1-877-380-0404
- Enter your PIN (your DOC employee ID number)
COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT YOU VOTE NO!
Your union's negotiations committee is unanimously recommending that you VOTE NO on your contract. A majority voting no will send the State's substandard economic proposal to an interest arbitration hearing where we will make our case for higher wages before the arbitrator.
Please review the documents listed below AND attend one of the contract update meetings at your facility to understand why we are recommending a NO vote. The cover letter, voting instructions, and contract summary documents below will also be mailed to your home address on file with the union.
DOC CONTRACT DOCUMENTS
- Cover letter
- Voting instructions
- Contract summary document
- Complete redlined contract with proposed changes
CONTRACT UPDATE MEETINGS
Attend one of the contract update meetings at your facility to understand why we are recommending a NO vote and to inform yourself about the upcoming interest arbitration process. Be sure to check the times and locations of the meetings at your facility.
It is important that we have excellent voter turnout and a strong NO VOTE so that we can make our case for higher wages before the arbitrator!
Last week, we said goodbye to our summer intern for 2018, Clara Raftery. Clara joined us to help with the Family.Strength.Community campaign and did wonderful work in engaging our members in the face of the Janus court ruling.
Clara is at the University of Washington studying the Geography of Globalization and Development which involves analyzing social and cultural groups and the organization of society. "I was unaware of the daily workings of labor and organizing, so I really appreciated this experience with Teamsters 117," she said.
Her interest in empowering people and giving them a platform is what drew her to seek an internship in the labor movement. As a co-chair of United Students Against Sweatshops at the UW, she was thrilled at the opportunity to expand her experience contributing to and learning with our team.
Clara engaged workers in empowering conversations, took part in phone banking and attended a Port Commissioners meeting to represent workers' rights. "I really can't stand by when workers or certain communities are misrepresented. Being involved in labor activism is a privilege," she reflected.
This was our third consecutive year of offering internships which help engage young people in the labor movement. If you are attending college, our website is a good source of information to learn about the world of union organizing and representation.
Vanessa Zavala-Gonzalez (l) and Haley Silvernale (r) joined our union staff in July 2018.
Our union is excited to welcome two new employees to complement our outstanding administrative staff in the dues office. Vanessa Zavala-Gonzalez and Haley Silvernale began their Local 117 adventure in July.
Haley grew up just a few miles from our union hall and graduated from Raisbeck Aviation High School in 2014. Since then, she has worked at a fastener distribution company and the Museum of Flight, where she ran simulators and gave tours of the Space Shuttle Trainer.
Haley’s family is union to the core, with both her father and grandfather having spent much of their careers representing workers in the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Teamsters.
“With unions, people have a voice to gain the right to work and survive,” she says. “Having a union to back you up is important.”
"With unions, people have a voice..."
Vanessa hails from a hardworking immigrant family that resides in Tacoma. Her father runs his own tiling business while her mother has worked numerous jobs to help support Vanessa and her two older brothers.
Vanessa pitched in from a young age, helping her mom pick raspberries in the summers and clean buildings in the winter while she was in school. She also assisted with her father’s business, handling licensing, completing tax forms, and organizing his files.
All of her family’s hard work has paid off as they finished building their own dream home with the help of friends and relatives two years ago.
Vanessa is bilingual and speaks fluent Spanish, which is a tremendous asset for our front-line office staff that serves our diverse membership. She has her sights set on becoming a psychologist or marriage counselor someday. “My family has given me a strong, lovable foundation,” she says. “I want to be able to help create that for others.”
Congratulations to both Haley and Vanessa and welcome to our Local 117 family!
Matt Komperda has been a union member his entire adult life and a shop steward on and off for eleven years. Now he’s using that wealth of experience to work as a Union Representative for Teamsters 117.
Matt has been immersed in rep work at the Local since early June to help with coverage in the grocery industry. As a permanent staff member, he’ll be representing members in a broad jurisdiction of private sector shops in King and Pierce counties.
Matt got an early introduction to union jobs. In High School, he worked at a Safeway store in Gig Harbor, where he joined the United Food and Commercial Workers. Just four days after graduation, he got hired on at company’s distribution center in Auburn. That’s when he launched his career as a Teamster.
“I thought it was just going to be a summer job,” he said. “I ended up staying there for 18 years.”
Matt was recruited as a Shop Steward by former Teamster Rep Tom Gallwas, who recognized Matt’s leadership on the shop floor and his keen knowledge of the Safeway contract.
"I learned attention to detail and the power of having a voice..."
During his tenure as a shop steward, Matt handled grievance meetings, participated on the union’s negotiations team, and attended lobby day events in Olympia. He also was part of a group of member leaders who met to give input on our union’s strategic plan.
“I learned attention to detail, the power of having a voice, and the importance of knowing our Teamsters history,” he said.
Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy is excited to have Matt onboard. “Matt has been a strong member leader in the grocery industry for many years. It’s a pleasure to welcome him to our staff, and I wish him all the best as he moves into a new stage of his Teamster career.”
Cheryl Miller, her husband Mark, and AHCC member Rob Rinard setting up for the BBQ event on July 31.
Hot dogs sizzled on the grill as DOC members grabbed a bite to eat and discussed an upcoming contract vote and the need to stay strong given a recent Supreme Court ruling that threatens our union.
The BBQ was organized by Cheryl Miller, a shop steward at the Airway Heights Corrections Center in Spokane. Cheryl is a participant in our Teamsters Leadership Academy and drew inspiration to hold the event from the 9-month course.
“Putting on an event like this was strictly by a member for a member,” she said. “The only way that we can stay strong is to stick together and stand our ground otherwise we’re going to end up working for a lot less wages than we’re getting now.”
"The only way that we can stay strong is to stick together..."
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in Janus v AFSCME to create an “open shop” environment in the public sector, allowing members to abandon their unions. The danger of open shop is that wages, benefits, and working conditions can erode over time. Cheryl wanted to spread the word that the antidote to open shop is member unity and engagement.
Over the course of the day, hundreds of members stopped by to chat and grab a hot dog. Many expressed their appreciation and said they would make sure to vote on their contract.
An event of this scale cannot be put on without help. Cheryl recruited her husband, Mark, a retired Teamster food service manager and fellow member Rob Rinard to pass out materials and work the grill. Teamster staff were on hand, including Michelle Woodrow, our union’s President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement, to talk about negotiations and answer questions.
“What an excellent way to build union solidarity,” Woodrow said. “Thank you to Cheryl Miller for organizing this event and to all of our DOC members who work so hard to keep our communities safe. They deserve a contract that recognizes their sacrifice and honors their commitment to public safety.”
Our DOC negotiations team worked late into the night on Friday and early into Saturday morning after a long week in mediation with the State in an effort to resolve the elements of our 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement that we were unable to reach agreement on.
The team worked hard to craft an equitable economic proposal that values the critical public safety work you perform. Our proposal was based on well-researched comparables of corrections employees performing similar work in like jurisdictions.
In the end, the State was unwilling to come even remotely close to adequately recognizing your work. The State’s proposal as of Saturday morning is 2% in year one and 2% in year two of the contract. Their final offer ignores the dangers you face on the job and the essential role you play in keeping our communities safe.
As a result, our union’s negotiations committee is unanimously recommending that you vote to reject the State’s proposal.
Contract voting will be conducted in two ways: 1) by telephone or 2) through the internet. The telephonic and online internet polls open at 12:01 AM on Monday, August 6, 2018, and close at 11:59 PM on Sunday, August 19, 2018.
We will make available a summary document and a redline contract proposal document as well as complete voting instructions by the end of this week. You will be notified by email when the documents are available for your review on our union’s website.
We will be holding in-person meetings to review the State’s proposal and to answer your questions starting on Monday, August 6. You can view the complete schedule of contract update meetings at all locations here.
Assuming a majority of the voting DOC membership casts a no vote, we will exercise the interest arbitration rights in our contract and go to hearing with the State. At the hearing, we will present the following mandatory subjects of bargaining before a neutral arbitrator who will make an impartial ruling:
- A general wage increase for all DOC Teamsters based on comparable data
- Elements of Article 16 of our contract (Hours of Work)
The interest arbitration hearing will be held at the end of August with Arbitrator Joseph Duffy presiding. Our union’s legal counsel is busy preparing our case and will likely call on a number of DOC members to testify.
Again, our negotiations committee is unanimously recommending that you vote NO on the State’s proposal. Our unity in rejecting the State’s substandard proposal will give us the strongest possible position as we head into interest arbitration. Please be sure to vote and make your voice heard!
In closing, our deep gratitude goes out to our incredible negotiations team for their dedication, commitment, perseverance, and strength. Our team worked tirelessly to achieve the best possible contract for all Teamsters at the DOC. Be sure to thank them for their service.
You can view a short video update from negotiations here.
Our DOC negotiations team worked late into the night on Friday and early into Saturday morning after a long week in mediation in an effort to reach an agreement with the State over our 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement.
Unfortunately, the State was unwilling to put forth an economic proposal that adequately recognizes the critical public safety work you perform. Our negotiations team is unanimously recommending that you vote to reject the State's proposal. We will be providing a more complete update from negotiations and information about the upcoming contract vote process early next week.
Watch the video update below from Michelle Woodrow, your union's President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement: