Superheroes have captivated Halem since childhood.
Halem Hasan is a Teamster who works the night shift at Safeway Beverage Plant in Bellevue. A machine operator, he oversees the production of beverages that are shipped to stores across the country. He does that work by night, but at daybreak his steel-toed boots, the chemical resistant smock, mask, and goggles come off, and he puts on his cape. Now, Halem is on a mission. He walks the sunlit streets unnoticed, but the object of his search is always the same: toys.
Halem buys toys in bulk. He walks out of the stores with bags full of superheroes in boxes, complete with little shields, masks, stars, and above all, a dream at heart. When he gets home, he is cautious. His sidekick, his soon-to-be three-year-old daughter Addison -- an aspiring batgirl, mustn’t find out.
Halem with his family. He has been collecting comic book characters for years.
Every month of the year, Halem buys and puts away toys. In December, he gathers them all into one giant box and donates them to Toys for Tots. Before Safeway, he worked at Toys R Us and took part in the toy drive. That’s when he developed a collector’s taste. Today, Halem remains a toy collector and a devout comic book fan.
"Now, it’s my time to give back to the community this way."
Like every superhero, Halem has a backstory. He was raised by a single mother who struggled but provided the family with the best she could. Toys weren’t high on the priority list. Halem remembers waiting for that special time of the year when he would get gifts through toy donation programs. “We had programs like that for Christmas,” he recollects. “Now, it’s my time to give back to the community this way.” He hopes his daughter will join him on his mission someday.
Here is just a small sample of his collection.
Scott Anderson giving the gift of life in the Safeway breakroom in the Auburn warehouse.
Scott Anderson, a Teamster of 43 years in the grocery industry, is soft-spoken, but don’t let his demeanor fool you.
Under the quiet exterior lies a man of great compassion and conviction who exudes a moral authority and a desire to help others through his actions.
Scott has served our Local 117 membership as a trustee on our union's executive board on and off for 20 years.
Since the mid-1980s, he has organized semi-annual blood drives for his co-workers in the Safeway warehouse. Over that time span, thousands of Teamsters have donated their blood to help save lives in our community. Their donations complement our union’s annual blood drive that takes place at the Teamsters hall each November.
"The Teamster blood drives come at a really important time of year for us."
“The Teamster blood drives come at a really important time of year for us,” says Robin Lulich, a donor resource consultant with Cascade Regional Blood Services. “There is usually high blood usage before and after the holidays. The Teamsters help boost the inventory back up.”
That means ensuring that there are ample blood reserves when disaster strikes, like when an Amtrak train derailed in Dupont last month. Cancer survivors, burn victims, surgery patients, sick kids – they all benefit from donated blood.
For Scott, the impetus to enlist his co-workers touches close to home.Read more
It was a celebratory moment. Rank-and-file member leaders on the Safeway bargaining committee lined up at the front of our union hall while their co-workers greeted and thanked them for a job well done.
The committee had helped produce an outstanding new contract, which was overwhelmingly ratified yesterday by the membership.
“This is one of the best contracts we’ve had in a long time,” said Billy Barnett, a Teamster shop steward, who has worked at the company for 38 years. “I’m feeling really good about it. There are good raises, good pension, and the medical is real huge.”
"This is one of the best contracts we’ve had in a long time."
The Safeway agreement provides wage increases of more than two dollars an hour over four years and pension increases of a dollar an hour. Our committee successfully achieved improvements to sick and bereavement leave, and break-in rates for new hires have been cut in half.
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment in the contract is that it maintains the outstanding health and welfare benefits for members and their families.
Our union’s vice-president, Marcus Williams, took the lead in negotiations, with the support of union representative, Ryan Jarman, and Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy.
“This contract is testament to all of the Teamsters in the grocery industry,” said Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy. "Our members perform backbreaking work in difficult conditions. They work hard to ensure that our economy remains strong and that food products arrive safely and securely to the dining tables of families across our region. I want to thank and congratulate our bargaining committee for their excellent work.”
Check out photos from the Safeway contract vote here.
Safeway Shop Stewards in bargaining: Jose Madrigal and Bryan Vangstad.
Last night at the Tukwila Hall we reach a fully-recommended offer for over 300 members working under the Safeway Grocery agreement.
“The bargaining committee was focused and determined to achieve the top priorities of the membership. This offer meets those demands,” mentions John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 117.
"The bargaining committee was focused and determined to achieve the top priorities of the membership. This offer meets those demands."
Going into the bargaining, members' concerns included improving their pensions, protecting their family’s health and welfare benefits, and many were hoping to extend the leave of absence such as funeral leaves.
“We were looking for more ethical treatment. A employee’s job cannot be jeopardized if he or she is there for their family during a troubling time like that,” says Jose Madrigal, the youngest Shop Steward in the crew. His first bargaining resulted in a big win for him and his coworkers as he is expecting to welcome a third child into his family.
Marcus Williams, the union representative coordinator who took the lead on this challenging negotiation mentions:
“This contract would not have been achievable without the strong membership participation and our collective efforts with Local 174. Teamster Strong!”
Teamster contract wins are even more crucial for workers in the tough reality of our changing economy.
Thank you so much to everyone who helped make our annual Local 117 Soccer Tournament a big success.
This is out 7th year running and the action was as exciting as ever. Check out photos from the tournament here.
The event took place on Saturday at Valley Ridge Park in Seatac. The championship match pitted a highly skilled Safeway Azteca (liquor distribution) team up against our Taxi members, with Safeway coming from behind to win an intense game in overtime 3-1.
The Safeway group had won the tournament in previous years, but not in the last two, and were excited to have the trophy back in the warehouse.
Members from Fred Meyer, Supervalu, a Safeway Ice Cream team (last year's champ!) along with a determined, but severely challenged Local 117 staff team also participated in the event.
"It's great to have our members and their families come together for an event like this and enjoy themselves," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "This is what union solidarity building is all about."
If you're interested in putting a team together for next year's tournament, it's never too early. Contact the Local 117 office at 206-441-4860 for more information.