During contract negotiations, we are most effective when we are united. Our unity allows us to achieve higher wages, better working conditions, and a safer workplace for all Teamsters.
The last thing we need when we’re bargaining with the State or any other employer is for an outside group to try to divide us. But that’s exactly what the so-called “Freedom” Foundation is trying to do.
The “Freedom” Foundation is an anti-worker think tank that has used lax public disclosure laws to get ahold of the personal information of our members at the Department of Corrections. Now they’re using that information to send DOC members mailers trying to trick them into abandoning their union.
In a mailer sent this week, they claim members lose nothing by abandoning their membership. The truth is you have everything to lose – your wages, your benefits, and your power to negotiate a strong contract.
The Freedom Foundation fought AGAINST wage increases for DOC Teamsters. They want to privatize public services and outsource public sector jobs.
The best way we can protect ourselves is by standing together. Talk to your co-workers and make sure they don’t fall for the misleading information.
Show the Freedom Foundation that we are united and won’t be manipulated. If you haven't done so already, sign a commitment card to protect your freedom to have a strong contract and a strong union.
If you have questions, please talk to your Shop Steward or Union Representative or visit www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.
Teamsters on our King County Coalition of Unions bargaining team for Total Comp negotiations.
Important revelations have emerged in recent Total Comp negotiations between our King County Coalition of Unions and the County.
For one, we’ve learned that the Master Labor Agreement (MLA), which we negotiated much of last year, is expected to go before the County Council today with a recommendation for approval. According to Megan Pederson, the Director of the Office of Labor Relations, the MLA should hit Dow’s desk for his signature the week of May 21.
Once signed by the County Executive, the agreement will be fully executed and members will receive retro pay negotiated in the agreement thereafter. The MLA, which King County Teamsters voted overwhelmingly to ratify earlier this year, provides a total wage increase of 3.25% for 2018 in addition to a number of other improvements.
At Total Comp negotiations with the County last Thursday, our union bargaining team received a presentation from expert advisers at Mercer about the state of our Protected Reserve Fund (PFR).
The PFR was established in 2013 by the Joint Labor Management Insurance Committee (JLMIC) to help safeguard health care benefits for union members at the County. Since then, the Fund has grown from $25 million to a projected $64 million in 2018.
This is excellent news and means that there will almost certainly be no employee premium share for the foreseeable future. Teamsters Local 117 has been instrumental in successfully managing the fund to protect the excellent health care benefits you enjoy as a union member at the County.
With this great news and negotiations underway, it’s more important than ever for us to stand together, stay united, and commit to each other. Click here to sign a commitment card and protect your freedom to stand together with your co-workers for a strong union. Learn more at www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.
In the next Total Comp session scheduled for May 17 in Tukwila, our Coalition team will be presenting a counterproposal as we continue the process of negotiating over the high-priority compensation elements in your contract, including wage increases for 2019 and 2020.
If you have questions, please talk to a bargaining committee member or your union representative.
Last week the so-called “Freedom” Foundation sent out a mailer to all DOC Teamsters trying to stop us from signing commitment cards that strengthen our union.
The Freedom Foundation is an anti-union think tank funded by wealthy special interests. They want to convince us not to sign the cards so they can weaken our ability to stand together for better wages and benefits.
They’ve used lax public disclosure laws to get ahold of your personal information. Now they’re trying to divide DOC staff at a critical time - just as our union’s contract negotiations are getting started with the State. They’re using the expected ruling on the Janus court case to weaken our union.
Don’t be fooled! The Freedom Foundation has fought AGAINST wage increases for DOC Teamsters. Their goal is to defund our union, privatize public services, and outsource public sector jobs.
With DOC contract negotiations and the Janus ruling coming up, it’s more important than ever for us to stand together, stay united, and commit to each other.
Show the “Freedom” Foundation that we will not be fooled and weakened by their tactics. Click here to sign a commitment card and protect your freedom to stand together with your co-workers for a strong union.
Learn more at www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.
Lisa Ohlen attending the 2018 Shop Steward Seminar.
When Lisa Ohlen, a Teamster at King County Recorder’s Office, attended a union meeting explaining the Supreme Court case that could turn public unions across country into open shops, she was shocked and dismayed. She knew what the deceivingly inviting term open shop meant for workers: loss of their united voice and consequent transfer of power and control into employer’s hands.
“One of the first things to go would be our health benefits, and we have worked really hard to get those. We don’t want to go down the path of Wisconsin,” she said with concern in her voice.Read more
Need to get caught up on how the Janus case attempts to silence public employees? Our international union has put together a short primer video. Check it out!
Teamsters in the news! Sammi Muecke, a Local 117 member who works at the Washington State Penitentiary, has published a guest editorial piece in the Walla Walla Union Bulletin. Sammi talks about the need to stand strong and stick together in the face of the Janus court case and open shop.
Thank you, Sammi, for making your voice heard!
Local 117 members Robin Robinson and Joy Yarrington who work at King County proudly wearing their solidarity stickers.
Today the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in a case (Janus v AFSCME) that is attacking our ability as union members to stand together and negotiate strong contracts.
If the Court rules as expected, public service workers, including thousands of members of Teamsters 117, will lose their freedom to negotiate union security clauses in their contracts.
Members will be able to “opt-out” of paying their fair share in dues but will be able to continue to reap all of the benefits of their union contract and union representation. Our ability to stand together and bargain strong contracts, provide quality representation, and protect each other’s rights at work is at stake.
"I want us to continue having a strong union," said Robin Robinson, a Teamster who works at King County. "We need to make sure everyone is aware of what's happening so we can keep our communities strong."
"We need to make sure everyone is aware of what's happening so we can keep our communities strong."
Wealthy special interests like the “Freedom” Foundation that are backing the Janus case are banking on a ruling against unions. They may call, email or even visit you at home to mislead you into abandoning your union sisters and brothers.
Make no mistake — their goal is to cut or privatize public services, drain unions of resources, and outsource public sector jobs. The Freedom Foundation fought against funding our Department of Corrections contract. They have sponsored numerous initiatives to undermine the ability of workers to organize for higher wages, strong benefits, and safe working conditions.
To draw attention to the threat presented by Janus and the Freedom Foundation, Teamsters 117 members and public service workers across the country have called for a day of action.
Local 117 members who work at the Department of Corrections, King County, and in the South Sound are wearing solidarity stickers today to spread awareness about the case and the importance of committing to each other so that we can continue to have a strong union.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Wear your sticker today and talk to your co-workers about Janus and the threat of open shop.
- Educate fellow Teamsters about the Freedom Foundation and encourage each other to sign a card committing to your co-workers and your union.
- Read about the trail of dark money that is backing the Janus case.
- Learn about our shared values as union members at www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.
By sticking together, we can stand up to the Freedom Foundation’s anti-worker agenda and continue to improve our workplaces and our lives.
On Monday, February 26, the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing a case (Janus v AFSCME) that will likely harm our ability as union members to stand together and negotiate strong contracts.
Public service workers across the country have called for a Day of Action on Feb. 26.
On Monday, Teamsters 117 members will be wearing solidarity stickers to spread awareness about the case and the importance of committing to each other so that we can continue to have a strong union.
Your union rep or member leader will be distributing stickers to you on Monday. Please wear your sticker and talk to your co-workers about why it's important to show solidarity in the face of this impending threat.
For more information about the Janus case, visit www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.
Thank you for your service and for all that you do to make our union strong.
Members at the Monroe Correctional Complex gather at a union meeting last December to discuss keeping the union strong in an open shop environment.
Changes are coming in the public sector, and Teamsters across our union are getting ready.
The U.S. Supreme Court will be ruling on a case this spring that will almost certainly eliminate the freedom of public employees to negotiate union security clauses in their contracts.
That means people will be able to abandon their union membership, but continue to receive all of the benefits without having to pay their fair share.
Teamsters across our union are pushing back. Members are talking to members about the importance of continuing to have a strong union in an open shop environment. Thousands of members have signed cards committing to each other and their union.
As Teamsters, we refuse to allow wealthy special interests like the so-called "Freedom" Foundation to defund our union and weaken our ability to stand together and negotiate strong contracts.
At the Monroe Correctional Complex, member leaders and staff are in the midst of a three-day blitz to inform members about the the rule changes.
On Thursday, the facility was buzzing with members talking about the value of a strong union. Over 100 members signed commitment cards on a single day.
One of those members was Shaun Watson. Watson is new on staff, but had previously worked as an officer in Missouri. "I came from a place that wasn't union," he said. "I tell people that if the union goes away, they're going to miss it when it's gone."
"We need to keep unions strong, for better wages, better health care, and to keep DOC honest."
Watson described poor conditions and a place where everyone was paid the same low rate no matter how long they had worked there. "It was sad," he said. "If you put in your time, you should be rewarded."
Both Paul Moore, an RN3 at MCC, and Kim Cook, an officer at the Washington Corrections Center for Women, took the day off to help with the outreach.
At shift change, Cook and Moore handed out information about the case. "We'll be swinging by later to talk with you about open shop," Cook said, as members headed toward their posts.
Doug Trudeau, an officer in the intensive management unit at MCC, is also helping out with the blitz. "Unions are getting hit hard," he said. "We need to stay strong, for better wages, better health care, and to keep DOC honest."
To sign in support of your union, talk to your shop steward or union representative, or visit www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.
Brothers and Sisters -
Many of you have requested that we continue to provide updates on the Janus v AFSCME case that threatens the resources that support our ability to continue to stand together and negotiate strong contracts.
The US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on February 26. We are expecting a decision sometime this spring.
If the court rules as we expect, you will no longer have the freedom to negotiate union security clauses in your contract. This means that public workers would be able to abandon their union membership, but continue to receive all of the benefits of representation without having to pay for it.
It may sound appealing – no union dues – but the reality is that your wages and health benefits could be cut and your contractual rights weakened in an open shop environment if we don’t stick together and defend our union.
Wealthy special interest groups like the "Freedom" Foundation may even try to trick you into “opting out” of paying your fair share.
We’ve launched a campaign called Family – Strength - Community to prepare for the Janus ruling and to defend against these attacks. Members are talking to members about how we can get ready for open shop. Over a thousand Teamsters have already signed cards committing to each other and their union.
In Washington State, workers must not experience the same erosion of rights that workers in Wisconsin have been suffering. Wages and health care benefits plunged after that state passed laws that attacked public workers’ right to collectively bargain.
If you have any questions about open shop or about the Janus case, talk to a shop steward or your union representative. You can also email me directly.
Thank you for all that you do. And thank you for your membership in Teamsters 117.