Members of Teamsters 117 on our King County Coalition of Unions negotiations team.
Our union coalition team was back at the negotiations table with King County yesterday as we continue to bargain over your wages and health care for 2019-2020.
These so-called “Total Comp” negotiations have been ongoing since February with a group of dozens of rank-and-file union members, including more than 20 Teamsters, representing your interests in bargaining.
We have entered the challenging period in these negotiations when we are relatively close to an agreement but still have a few critical issues to resolve.
The County made a proposal in the last session that involved many moving parts including general wage increases and other economic elements of your contract. Our group spent much of yesterday’s session identifying the highest priority items that will have the greatest benefit to the largest number of represented members at the County.
The good news is that the fund that safeguards our health care benefits is in excellent shape. The Protected Fund Reserve (PFR), which was established in 2013 by the Joint Labor Management Insurance Committee (JLMIC), has grown from $25 million to a projected $66 million in 2018.Read more
Last week in total comp negotiations, our King County Coalition team reviewed the counterproposal by the County as we continue to negotiate over wage increases for 2019 and 2020, enhancements to your health and welfare while maintaining zero costs to the members, and other improvements in your contract.
With the passage of the new WA State Sick Leave and Paid Family Leave laws in the legislature, there was a discussion on definitions and provisions related to paid leave. There was also progress made on the short and long-term disability provisions of your contract.
In regards to early retirement, the Coalition is pushing to bring back the retiree medical program which was previously phased out with the advent of the Affordable Care Act. Another aspect of the talks included encouraging green travel for King County employees and potential help with childcare.
“We’re getting closer and it’s a cause for hope,” said Vicky Moore, a shop steward and a member of the bargaining committee. Listen to her give an update of this bargaining session.
The Coalition team will be meeting on July 26 to work on a counterproposal to the County.
For any questions, please talk to a bargaining committee member or your union representative.
Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case, Janus v AFSCME, which threatens our ability as union members to stand together for strong contracts and strong communities.
As expected, the Court overturned a 40-year precedent that protected our freedom to have a united voice at work and ensured that all of us contribute our fair share for the improvements we win together.
Despite the Court’s ruling, our union is resilient and remains strong. We have been preparing for this outcome for over a year with our Family – Strength – Community program. By sticking together, we can continue to improve our wages and protect our rights at work.
The Court may have ruled against us in the Janus case, but as Teamsters we decide how strong our union will be. We will not let the Court or anyone else break our commitment to each other.
WHO’S ATTACKING OUR UNION?
It’s important to remember who is behind this attack on our freedom. For years, wealthy special interests like the so-called “Freedom” Foundation have been trying to destroy our union.
The "Freedom" Foundation lobbied against wage increases for state employees. They oppose our right to paid sick leave and our right to a secure retirement through defined benefit pension plans. We fought their attempts to obtain your personal information through public disclosure.
In the coming weeks, the "Freedom" Foundation may try to convince you to abandon your union membership by saying you can "opt out". They may send mail to your home, contact you on the phone, or even knock on your door.
They'll say you have nothing to lose. The truth is you have everything to lose – your contract, your health benefits, and your rights at work.
But if we stay united, we can continue to win improvements in our workplaces and for our families.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STAY STRONG!
- Wear your "We Decide" solidarity stickers this week at work - you can get them from your shop steward;
- Sign a card committing to your co-workers;
- Attend a Janus Decision Day Solidarity Rally in Tacoma or Seattle;
- Share a post on Facebook or Twitter about why you support our union using the hashtag #UnionStrong;
- Talk to your co-workers about the “Freedom” Foundation's anti-union agenda;
- Visit our union’s website at FamilyStrengthCommunity.org for more information.
Thank you for your service to our communities and for your membership in Teamsters 117.
Check out this video of Shannon Rich talking about the need for union members to stay united. Shanoon is a Local 117 member at the Tacoma Public Library:
If you ask a credential specialist at SeaTac Airport whether the Janus v. AFSCME case will threaten their union’s strength, they would chuckle and shake their head. Not on their watch.
This U.S. Supreme Court decision is expected to drop anytime between now and the end of June and set restrictions on the freedom and unity of working people. Yet this intrepid group that works on the mezzanine level of SeaTac Airport and handles the task of ensuring trustworthiness of airport employees has already made their decision.
"We will remain union members. We refuse to be divided."
“We will remain union members. We refuse to be divided,” said Maryanne Davis who has worked at the airport for over 18 years.
The credential specialists have fought hard for their current wages and benefits. Many of them remember when their entire group was fired several years ago and stayed out of work for months. They persevered until everyone was reinstated. This diverse group knows how important every person is to the security of the team, so every member has committed to remain a Teamster regardless of the Supreme Court ruling.
Now they are the middle of contract negotiations and Marilee Fisher, who is a shop steward and part of the negotiations committee, shared her opinion. “I believe in my union. I will always be a union supporter. As unions fight for better wages and better conditions, workers’ lives and pay improve even in non-union workplaces. If it weren’t for the unions, we would have no middle class.”
Get caught up on what's happening in total comp negotiations with King County! Two Shop Stewards on the bargaining committee - Brian Pinney and Lisa Huntley - provide a short video update from the last bargaining session below.
For a more comprehensive look at negotiations, you can link to all of our total comp updates so far.
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.
Rick Reinlasoder, a Teamster who works in the County's Water and Land Resources Division, asked tough questions in total comp negotiations on March 29.
“I was not satisfied with their response,” said Rick Reinlasoder. Reinlasoder, a Local 117 shop steward on our union bargaining team, had just finished grilling King County negotiators on why wage increases had been processed for non-represented employers but not for Coalition members.
“We’ve earned it, we deserve it, and we have a right to it, but we can’t do anything with that money for close to six months.”
"We can’t do anything with that money for close to six months."
Reinlasoder echoed the frustration of others on the bargaining team after hearing in last week’s total comp negotiations that the Master Labor Agreement (MLA) was still winding its way through the County’s legislative process and members wouldn’t see their wages increases and retro pay until June.
It is strong unions, collective bargaining, and political power that drive wage increases for all King County employees, yet non-represented employees are enjoying the bump in their paycheck that the Coalition had worked for nearly a year to negotiate. “That’s quite frustrating for the membership,” Reinlasoder said.
Reinlasoder's pointed questions came in the context of a presentation by the County’s Budget Director, Dwight Dively, on the financial health of the County. Dively reported a revenue shortfall despite the strong local economy.
The March 29 negotiations started with Coalition chairs, Michael Gonzales and Cecilia Mena, outlining our union’s initial economic proposal, which addresses the high-priority compensation elements in your contract, including wage increases for 2019 and 2020.
The next negotiations sessions are scheduled for April 19 and 26. We expect the County to present its initial proposal in those sessions. If you have questions, please talk to a bargaining committee member or your union representative.
Shop Steward Dan Fernandez (l) and Union Representative Brian Perreira after Total Comp bargaining session on March 22.
Our Coalition of Unions has been working overtime on behalf of Teamsters at King County, and the results speak for themselves.
Last year, the Coalition achieved a first-ever Master Labor Agreement (MLA), which was overwhelmingly ratified by all participating Teamster bargaining units. Our Coalition team bargained a 3.25% wage increase for 2018, one of many improvements in the MLA.
With MLA bargaining wrapping up last fall, the Coalition has already launched into a new round of negotiations with the County, which started earlier this month. “Total Comp” negotiations considers all compensable elements of your contract.
“Total compensation has everything to do with your overall compensation package,” explained Brian Pinney, a bargaining committee member who works in the County’s Solid Waste Division. “A general wage increase, your medical coverage, a lot of other benefits - they’re all covered under Total Comp.”
Negotiations kicked off on March 1 with our Union and the County establishing ground rules for bargaining. Yesterday, the Coalition met independently from the County to map out our priorities for negotiations and to develop a comprehensive initial proposal.Read more
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