Liz Evans and Kerwin Pyle came together from administrative and recycle department at King County to speak to Teamsters about the strength of solidarity.
“If you dug up a cardboard box from a landfill in fifty years you would still be able to read the words “Amazon” on it, but when it gets recycled we can still get two or three lifetimes out of it,” said Kerwin Pyle, recycling project manager at King County and Local 117 shop steward. Kerwin believes in protecting the environment and his co-workers.
Last month Kerwin paired with Liz Evans, administrative specialist, at the King County Administration Building where through a time loss program they were able to speak to fellow members who work at King County. They engaged their co-workers in conversations about the positive impact of recent contract wins, the importance of solidarity in the face of the opt-out campaign from the so-called Freedom Foundation, and the commitment to staying united for future fights.
“When we get involved in our union, we form a strong voice and can change the anti-worker policies,” Evans reflected. She has only been in her current position for a little over two years, but she already feels a strong obligation to her co-workers and stepped into a shop steward role. Coming from a non-unionized work environment, it didn’t take her long to realize the power of collective action.
Over the course of four days, Liz and Kerwin reached King County Teamsters working in solid waste, IT, the courthouse, archives, records, administration, and other areas. The conversations they had were overwhelmingly positive. The divisive efforts of corporate interests pushed through the Janus case last year are proving to be futile. Teamsters realize that although King County is not an anti-union environment, the efforts of the labor movement can be undone if members don’t stick together.
“If the next King County Executive comes in and wants to be a union buster, it is within their power to do so unless the union is your watchdog. That’s why I’m here. I’m a new shop steward who can back you up,” explained Pyle.
This time-loss campaign was built on the success of a previous one in June. Shop Steward Mari Jane Friel helped with the training as she recently did a similar time loss program to engage members working in King County roads.
These efforts are proving to be successful in coalescing members to be more aware and involved with their union as well as developing organizing skills for new leaders. Both stewards left the time loss program with new skills, enthusiasm about the union, and a deep desire to be more involved.
Monty Johnson has worked his forklift for twenty-four years at the SUPERVALU warehouse, later purchased by UNFI.
In the dim interior of the UNFI warehouse in Tacoma, you have to be quick on your feet. With short beeps, forklifts and pellet jacks zooming by, there is no time to waste. Teamsters who work here know their jobs well and do them efficiently.
Perhaps no one is better at it than Monty Johnson. Monty has never missed a day of work in all combined twenty-four years of working at the SUPERVALU warehouse which was recently purchased by the food giant UNFI. Not a sick day and rarely any vacation days, even when it meant losing the accumulated hours, the warehouse is his bread and air.
When the company went through layoffs and he had to submit for his severance, he did so with a heavy heart. Soon they remembered his tireless work ethic and asked him to come back. He did so in a heartbeat. The warehouse was his home – the place he knew inside and out. He came back to his old forklift, and it was like he never left. Dashing between rows of shelves stacked up to the ceiling, Monty doesn’t need a chart to decipher the numbers indicating which products go on which shelves. He knows them by heart. Hundreds upon hundreds of slots, this maze to an external observer is a familiar tune to him.
Teamsters at the warehouse waste no time. They are quick, efficient and ready to flash a smile.
One day the company president got a hold of him and asked: “Are you the guy who never missed a day in this place? Why did you do that?” What he didn’t understand was that when Monty came to Washington State in the 90s looking for a stable job to care for his young family, this union job offered back then by SUPERVALU gave him a jump-start to a secure life, and for that Monty is eternally grateful. You can’t tell by his energetic smile, but his kids are all grown up now, and he has welcomed grandchildren to his family.
When Monty shows up to work every single day and pours his heart out, he doesn’t do it to compound profits for shareholders who wouldn’t step into his warehouse for an hour. The product of his daily work is getting food from the warehouse to the supermarket shelves on time so that thousands of people in Pierce County can buy food that was kept cool, fresh, and undamaged.
For Monty, it is the Teamster sisters and brothers who work at warehouse that make the place like home.
It wasn’t Monty’s or any of his co-workers’ decision to sell the warehouse to UNFI, relocate it to Centralia, or try to fight the union workers and squeeze their livelihood in an attempt to eke out a slightly fatter margin of profit. Neither will they succumb to company pressure after dedicating a lifetime to this work.
Monty sees his workplace pulled apart to be relocated and shakes his head. “The new company is doing things to accommodate themselves and are not respecting the workers who do the daily grinding work of making the company successful. They don’t understand that if they take care of us, we take care of them.”
Captains and Lieutenants at SCORE who passed their first Teamsters contract unanimously are celebrating in front of the facility with President Michelle Woodrow, their rep Matthew House and attorney Eamon McCleery.
At the South Correctional Entity (SCORE) in Des Moines, WA , captains and lieutenants support other corrections staff and oversee the day-to-day activities of inmates, a job that is stressful and challenging. On Tuesday, this group got together to take a vote. On slips of blue paper, they all ticked the same box: yes. They voted for getting better health coverage at a lesser cost, for additional paid time-off, for enrolling in the Teamsters Retiree’s Welfare Trust and for a pay increase of up to 9% over two years. By doing so, they voted in their first-ever Teamsters contract, which turned them from unrepresented, at-will employees to union members secured by a collective agreement and voice.
“Today is a victory, and I’m feeling celebratory,” said Ryan Barrett, a captain and a member of the negotiating committee.
For Ryan Barrett today is a victory. He has been organizing to form a union for over three years.
It all started over three years ago when Barrett approached his co-workers with the idea of organizing to form a union. He was met with some resistance at first, but the group soon warmed up to the idea as things started to change in their organization. Forming a union was a way to ensure fairness and transparency when dealing with an employment issue or needing an answer from an attorney.
Proud new members of Local 117, they made the choice to join Teamsters after thorough research.
The group briefly considered forming their own guild, but after meeting with Michelle Woodrow, President of Teamsters Local 117, and doing some research on their own, they decided Teamsters 117 was the way to go. “We asked our partners and law enforcement agencies in the area and the feedback was nothing but positive,” Barrett explained. “We felt like we would have access to all these strengths for a very small fee. You get so much value of the union that there really are no downsides to it.”
By far, the group values as their biggest achievement the security and representation that comes with having a union. Knowing that they have Teamsters in their corner empowers them to speak up for things that they need and makes their workplace safer.
We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications to hire an additional Union Representative for Teamsters who work at the Department of Corrections.
A successful candidate for the position should possess a solid understanding of our collective bargaining agreement and be adept at building union power through member organizing and engagement. The candidate will primarily be responsible for representing members in Western Washington.
You can access a complete job description for the position on our union's website. Interested applicants must submit a cover letter and resume to Director of Administration Jennifer Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org by the close of business on Wednesday, August 14.
We are excited to be able to add this additional position thanks to continued growth in our membership, outstanding solidarity at the DOC, and because Local 117 members are standing together to keep our union strong.
Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy received the Power to the People award at the WA State Labor Council Convention on July 26.
Congrats to our amazing Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy! Brother Scearcy was recognized at the WA State Labor Council Convention last week for his outstanding work leading our union's political action program over the last year.
Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy ushered our union through the 2019 legislative session, which was one of our most successful ever.
We achieved an 8% wage increase over two years for Local 117 members at the WA State Department of Corrections by funding our DOC contract. We also passed a bill that will provide interest arbitration rights to our members at the DOC and the University of Washington Police Department.
Scearcy accepted the award on behalf of our rank-and-file union activists who have been instrumental in fighting to preserve and expand the rights of working families in Washington State.
Today, Uber drivers leafleted outside of Uber’s Seattle office, and at more than a dozen other driver gathering spots, to generate calls to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan calling on her office to immediately introduce legislation to raise driver pay and establish labor protections.
The leafleting actions come on the heels of Uber releasing a proposal to impose a $3.80 congestion toll on all Seattle commuters. Drivers say the company’s $3.80 congestion toll plan is nothing more than an attempt to cause delay and avoid regulations that would raise driver pay and fund benefits.
"Instead of focusing on congestion tolls, Uber needs to do right by their drivers first..."
“Instead of focusing on congestion tolls, Uber needs to do right by their drivers first,” said Peter Kuel, an Uber and Lyft driver for more than 5 years and a leadership council member of the App-Based Drivers Association. “Uber and Lyft should do today what every other business in Seattle already does – ensure drivers earn benefits like paid sick days and are never paid less than minimum wage after expenses.”Read more
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.
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