Justin R. Shaffer, a Trooper with the Washington State Patrol, was killed in the line of duty on Tuesday.
With the coronavirus outbreak, these are incredibly stressful and challenging times for all of us.
Many Teamsters have lost their jobs or seen their hours cut because their industries have been decimated by the virus.
Others, including those of you working in public safety professions, have been called on, as you so often are at a time of crisis, to report to duty despite the constant threat of infection. Indeed, many of you are putting in long hours to cover for your sisters or brothers who are out sick.
The stress on you and your family during a national emergency is tremendous.
When tragedy strikes at a time like this, that stress is compounded.
Recently, we witnessed the tragic, premature death of Justin R. Shaffer, a Trooper with the Washington State Patrol. Trooper Shaffer was killed in the line of duty while placing spike strips on I-5 in Chehalis on Tuesday.
Because law enforcement and corrections is such a close-knit community, this tragedy touches all of us.
Through his work, Trooper Shaffer dedicated his life to public service and made the ultimate sacrifice as he worked to keep our communities safe. We mourn his passing, commemorate his life, and cherish his memory. He will not be forgotten.
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.
It’s political season again, as lawmakers in Washington State have headed back to Olympia for the start of the 2019 legislative session. This is a budget year, which calls for a long session – 105 days, running from January 14 through April 28, 2019.
Over the last few years, our union has built a strong voice in Olympia. Participation at our annual lobby day has grown from a few dozen a decade ago to over 200 members and their families at last year’s event. With a stronger voice, we’ve been able to achieve legislative change that has benefited workers across our state. We’ve funded contracts for state employees and passed bills that have made our workplaces safer and more secure.
Our collective power is a direct result of member involvement, and in 2019 there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved.Read more
Our friends at Safe Call Now have sent over information about an important service available to members of Teamsters Local 117 working in the corrections and law enforcement field.
The Institute for Responder Wellness 877-597-1136 have dedicated their lives to the health & wellness of first responders. They provide critical services to public safety employees struggling with issues that impact their personal and professional lives.
In an email asking us to promote the service, they write:
"Building partnerships and connecting our members to important resources is an important priority of our union," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "I hope members will make use of this service and seek assistance when needed."
For more information, please call 877-597-1136 or visit the Institute for Responder Wellness Facebook page.
Mark Hackett, Kimberly Braun, Tanesha Van Leuven, and Roger Gale at the Emergency Food Network's Breaking Hunger event.
Teamster members took aim to fight hunger last week at the 5th annual Trap Shooting and Archery Tournament sponsored by Tacoma's Emergency Food Network.
The contest, held at the Gig Harbor Sportsmen’s Club on August 11, raised thousands of dollars to help feed hungry families throughout our region.
"We were doing what we like to do, having fun, and doing it for a really good cause."
"There are a lot of ways to raise money but we were doing what we like to do, having fun, and doing it for a really good cause," said Tanesha Van Leuven, a member who participated in the event.
Van Leuven, who is an officer of ten years at the University of Washington Police Department, talked about the importance of our union giving back to the community.
"It's important to partner with various organizations in the community. Anything we give, donate, or sponsor can help people who need help right now."
Our Local Union’s Executive Board sponsored the team at the $600 level. All proceeds from the event went to benefit the Emergency Food Network.
Thank you to the members from the Teamsters Law Enforcement & Corrections Division and their friends who participated in the tournament.
- Tanesha Van Leuven, University of Washington Police Dept.
- Mark Hackett, University of Washington Police Dept.
- Roger Gale, City of Pacific Police Dept.
- Kimberly Braun, Friend
The Pierce County emergency food system includes 67 food banks providing over 15 million meals annually to over a hundred thousand families in need. Teamsters Local 117 is a generous supporter of EFN and has participated in a number of volunteer events to benefit the organization.
Brothers and Sisters:
Every year at this time, we honor the men and women who work in critical public safety roles through a series of events and activities across the country.
With so many of our members working in these professions, I want to take this opportunity to thank you and your co-workers for the tremendous work you do to serve and protect the public.
Our Telecommunicators are the first point of contact when the public seeks relief in the event of an emergency. They work behind the scenes to protect our police officers and firefighters by providing them with vital information.
Our Correctional Employees risk their lives to oversee, nurse, train, counsel and protect convicted felons. They perform their jobs valiantly, armed only with OC, their tactical verbal skills, and their wits.
Like Correctional Employees, our Police Officers put their lives on the line to serve and protect our communities. The dangers they face and the heroic acts they perform often go unrecognized by the community.
I want to let all of you who work in these professions know how much we value your contributions. Your commitment to public service and the risks you take every day to serve and protect our communities are a testament to your character and your sacrifice.
Thank you again for the amazing work you do on behalf of the public. Please stay safe.
Brothers and Sisters -
I'm sure many of you have been following the terrible hostage crisis that has been unfolding over the last few days at the Delaware Department of Corrections.
Four corrections employees were taken hostage at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware on Wednesday. Authorities were able to negotiate the release of two officers on Thursday. One corrections staff member was ultimately rescued, and one officer was found dead at the facility early this morning.
This tragedy is another stark reminder of the risks you and your co-workers take every day to serve and protect the public. The timing of this incident is especially troubling given its proximity to the 6th anniversary of the death of our fallen Sister, Officer Jayme Biendl, who was murdered on January 29, 2011 at the Monroe Correctional Complex.
Remember that Safe Call Now is an excellent resource if you are looking to have a confidential conversation with a public safety professional who is familiar with your line of work. Their number is 206-459-3020; you can learn more about that organization here.
The public may not understand the risks you face as you perform heroic work to keep our communities safe. That's why it's so important to know that we can lean on each other at times like these and always have each other's backs.
Thank you for your incredible service to our communities. Please remember to support each other and always stay safe.
Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement
Have you ever been harassed by an individual who obtained your name or contact information through public disclosure?
It’s a common problem facing our members in public safety professions, and our Union has been working on a remedy.
This week, we helped introduce a bill (SB 5326) that would give Local 117 members at the Department of Corrections and other law enforcement agencies the ability to seek legal damages if their personal information, obtained through public disclosure, is used to harass or intimidate any person or for commercial purposes.
“This bill is designed to protect our members at the DOC and other public safety professionals who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe,” said John Scearcy, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer.
The proposed law is sponsored by three Senate Republicans and was referred to the Senate Law and Justice Committee on January 20 for further consideration.Read more
By Michelle Woodrow,
Teamsters Local 117 President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement
As a Local Union representing over 6,000 Law Enforcement and Corrections professionals, we are grieving with the entire Tacoma Police Department on the tragic death of one of their officers who was killed in the line of duty last night.
We extend our condolences to the entire Department and to the friends and family of the fallen officer.
This kind of tragedy strikes a deep chord in all of us and reminds us of the tremendous risks that our brave men and women in law enforcement and corrections take every day to protect us and keep our communities safe.
We express our gratitude to the community that is showing its support to law enforcement and to our members at South Sound 911.
Brothers and Sisters:
As the holidays approach, I am reminded once again about the tremendous sacrifice our members working in the corrections and law enforcement professions make as they serve and protect our communities.
While most families will be celebrating the holiday season together, many of us will be on-duty, away from our loved ones, often in harm’s way, as we fulfill our obligation to keep the public safe.
Too often that sacrifice goes unnoticed and is taken for granted.
Unlike our schools, libraries, courts, or offices of state or local government, the prisons never close, and the work of our officers on patrol and the vast network of personnel supporting them never ceases. In fact, crime often spikes during the holiday season, especially in the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, and our 911 dispatchers are busy as emergency calls increase.Read more