Teamsters who work at Impark celebrate their new four-year contract.
We all came together as Teamsters. For Awgaw Fanta, a Local 117 parking attendant, who operates two garages in downtown Seattle, that was the highlight of this weekend's contract win.
Fanta is a shop steward who serves on our union's negotiations committee that has been meeting with the employer since April.
This Saturday, Fanta and his co-workers had the opportunity to vote on a fully-recommended settlement offer. The four-year agreement was overwhelmingly ratified by the group.
Members will see wage and pension increases in each year of the contract, maintenance of their health and welfare benefits, and a new shoe allowance for some classifications.
"Everybody is happy to get a raise," Fanta said. "It's an important thing for us. It helps our families."
"Everybody is happy to get a raise... It helps our families."
For Fanta, the group's unity was key to their success. Members stuck together, attended union meetings, and supported their negotiations committee that worked long hours to achieve improvements to the contract.
"Takele and Paul fought really hard for us," Fanta said, referring to the union negotiators assigned to the group.
"Our members at Impark provide essential services to commuters and tourists coming to park in the downtown Seattle core," said John Scearcy, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer. "They deserve fair pay to support their families, just working conditions and a secure retirement. By sticking together, they have achieved a contract they can be proud of."
Teamster union rep Takele Gobena (l) together with Local 117 members who work at ABM Parking.
Congrats to Local 117 members at ABM Parking who voted unanimously to ratify a new 3-year contract last week.
The group, which provides valet and cashier services at the Virginia Mason Medical Center, will see wage increases, improved vacation leave, along with a number of other improvements.
"This was my first time negotiating with the company," said Abiy Derseh, a shop steward and 9-year employee. "I learned a lot about the union - it was a good experience for me. And we got a good deal - we improved a lot from the last contract."
Despite the gains, Derseh expressed some concerns about possible layoffs as a result of increased automation in the garage. "We're not sure if they are going to try to surprise us and say, 'Next week you guys aren't here anymore.' We don't want that because we need to prepare for it. They have to negotiate a time frame for us."
Derseh took his concerns to union rep Takele Gobena, who helped the group negotiate a severance package, seniority rights, and relocation opportunities in the event of layoffs. The ability to mitigate the impact of layoffs is another advantage to being part of a union.
Whatever happens next year, the group is excited about the improvements they've made in their new contract. "Everyone is happy," Deresh said.
A small group of Teamsters who work for Republic Parking in downtown Seattle voted to ratify a new three-year contract last week.
It was unanimous – all members voted in favor of the agreement. Members will receive wage increases in every year of the contract and increased contributions to their retirement plan.
"The group felt that greater retirement security was an important goal for this contract and they accomplished that," said union rep Takele Gobena.
Another huge improvement for members was the addition of vision coverage to their health and welfare plan.
The Teamsters covered under the new contract work at the Puget Sound Plaza building and in the garage of the IBM building. They greet customers, help them process their tickets, and assist with building maintenance.
Takele Gobena joined our Local 117 staff as a Union Representative on January 23.
We're excited to welcome Takele Gobena, a new Union Representative for members of Teamsters Local 117 working in the private sector.
Takele has dedicated his life to fighting for workers' rights. He advocated for working families in his native Ethiopia; he worked on the campaign to raise the minimum wage in the city of SeaTac; and he has fought to improve conditions for drivers in Seattle's for-hire industry.
Takele will be representing many of our members at Seatac airport, in the parking industry, and in several other private sector jurisdictions.
Takele describes some of his work and life experiences below: