Local 117 Shop Stewards showing unity, strength, and purpose - Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day 2019.
The collective strength of our union was on full display on Saturday as hundreds of rank-and-file leaders from across the state gathered together at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle for our annual Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day.
The theme for this year's event was Power, Unity, and Progress - elements that have shaped our union as we've built it into a transformational force to lift up working families.
The event kicked off with a short video that captures who we are as Teamsters and our goals for a better future. Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy followed with his State of the Union address.
"As Shop Stewards, you are the backbone of this union," he said. "You strive every day on the shop floor to organize your co-workers and to build power. Your work is indispensable to making Teamsters 117 one of the strongest, most dynamic unions in the Pacific Northwest."
"Your work is indispensable to making Teamsters 117 one of the strongest, most dynamic unions in the Pacific Northwest."
Highlights of the day included the attendance and remarks of three special guests: Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa, IBT Vice President At Large Steve Vairma, and newly-elected Washington State Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer April Sims.
General President Hoffa, who also met with DOC Stewards the day before, praised the work of our Local Union.
"What you're doing here at Local 117 is what we've got to do all over the country," he said. "We've got to have powerful unions and we've got to have people who are forward looking. We've got to build what we're talking about - Power, Unity, Progress. And you're doing it here."
After Hoffa's remarks, members gathered for a group photo before heading off to two 50-minute training sessions. The breakouts focused on the work of Stewards beyond grievances to organize and mobilize members to take action and to reflect on lessons learned in a post-Janus environment.
The group reassembled for lunch, where Steve Vairma spoke about how our International Union has achieved a string of victories in the IBT's Warehouse Division by harnessing the unity of multiple Teamster Locals and by showing adversarial employers a united front.
April Sims of the WSLC ended the day with a story about how her mother's union job lifted her family out of poverty. Her inspirational words moved the group to a rousing ovation.
Thank you to all Shop Stewards across Teamsters 117. Your tireless work on the shop floor, at the negotiations table, and in our communities makes our union resilient and strong.
Our annual Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day is slated for this weekend when hundreds of rank-and-file leaders from across our Union will be gathering at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle on Saturday.
DOC Stewards will be meeting on Friday at our Union Hall in Tukwila starting at 11:30 A.M. for an afternoon of training before Saturday's main event. See the agenda for the DOC meeting here.
All Stewards will meet at the Convention Center starting at 7:30 A.M. for breakfast followed by workshops and training on Saturday. The event will wrap up at 1:30 P.M. after lunch. View an agenda for Saturday's Seminar here.
Over the course of the two days, we'll be talking about building union power and unity and ways to lift up our communities so that all workers have a strong voice.
It's looking to be an exciting event. Special guest James P. Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, will be on hand to welcome the Stewards.
Over lunch, Steve Vairma, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Vice-President at Large, and April Sims the newly-elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will address the group.
If you are a Shop Steward, you should have received an invitation to the Seminar with information about what to expect at the event. If you have not yet confirmed or need to cancel, please contact Madeline Shumate at 206-441-4860 x1225.
If you have questions about logistics, please reach out to your Union Representative.
Local 117 shop stewards meet at our Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day at the convention center in downtown Seattle.
In an impressive display of unity and strength, hundreds of rank-and-file leaders of our union assembled together at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle on Saturday.
Our annual Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day brings all of our stewards across the state under one roof for training, discussion, and the opportunity to learn from each other.
"It's exciting," said John Scearcy, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer. "Our stewards bring incredible talent, energy, and dedication to our union. When all of us gather together in one room, it's hard not to feel empowered."
This year's seminar focused on the challenges the labor movement faces today while recognizing the struggles and sacrifices of the past.
The event kicked off with three Local 117 members – Cheryl Miller, Eric Sachs, and Van Huynh – giving their accounts of how the union has brought more freedom to their lives. They had participated in last year's essay contest, which brought out a number of powerful union stories from Local 117 members.
Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy followed with his "state of the union" address, which reinforced our collective mission. "Our work as stewards - the work of this union - is to build power and unity, improve lives, and lift up our communities. Together we can accomplish those goals," he said.
"When all of us gather together in one room, it's hard not to feel empowered."
To fulfill that mission, Scearcy outlined the four pillars of our strategic plan: organizing, leadership development, political action, and fortifying our ranks. Many of our achievements over the last two years, he emphasized, have come because we have focused on those priorities.
"Since 2016, we've brought hundreds of new members into our union; we've launched a Teamsters Leadership Academy for member leaders; we've continued to build a powerhouse political program; and we've developed our Family-Strength-Community program to strengthen the union from within given the threat presented by the Janus court case."
Next up was Marie Duarte, our union's Associate General Counsel, who delivered an impassioned legal analysis of Janus and spurred stewards to engage in member-to-member education. Our Legislative Affairs Director, Brenda Wiest, talked about a series of legislative victories for labor this legislative session in Olympia.
In the breakouts sessions, we discussed the importance of welcoming new members into the union and how to use workplace culture to build unity.
The event wrapped up with lunch and a presentation by our in-house historian, Director of Organizing Leonard Smith. Smith walked us through the struggles and achievements of our predecessors in the labor movement from the advent of the Teamsters union, to the Triangle Fire in 1911, to the passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 and beyond.
"I'm enjoying every bit of it," said Robin Robinson, a shop steward at King County. “Being in a union is important to me because our jobs need to be strong, our community needs to be strong. We need to have rights and protections as we build our careers."
It’s always an impressive display of Teamster unity and pride – hundreds of Local 117 shop stewards joining together for our Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation day.
“Our stewards are the backbone of this union,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “They enforce our contracts, defend the rights of their co-workers, and sit face-to-face with the employer to improve conditions in the workplace. It’s an honor to work with them to improve lives and lift up our communities.”
"Our stewards are the backbone of this union."
The annual event will kick off this Friday with our Department of Corrections stewards gathering for training and dinner at the union hall in Tukwila. On Saturday all stewards will convene at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle for the main event.
The theme of this year’s seminar is the Janus v AFSCME court case that threatens our freedom to stand together and bargain strong contracts in the public sector. The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case last month and a ruling is expected this spring.
“With the Janus decision on the horizon and the continued degradation of our middle class, it’s more important than ever to protect our ability to fight for our rights, benefits, and wages,” said Chris Franco, a Local 117 member who works at King County.
At the seminar, we’ll hear a legal analysis of the case from Marie Duarte, our associate general counsel. Our breakout sessions will focus on how we can best prepare for the change in rules we anticipate in the public sector.
If you have questions about this event, please touch base with your union representative.
It was an impressive show of union power: Hundreds of Teamsters 117 Shop Stewards filling a massive auditorium at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle.
The occasion? Our annual Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day, which was held on Saturday. View photos from the Seminar here.
"As Shop Stewards, you are the backbone of this Union," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117, as he welcomed the group. "Your work on the shop floor and in the community is essential to our success at growing our Union and building power and unity for working families across the Pacific Northwest."
The theme of this year's Seminar was United for the Future. "Our strength is our pathway to unity," Scearcy said, as he laid out his vision for the future and unveiled a new mission statement for our Union:
The new mission, Scearcy said, was inspired by input from over 2,500 membership surveys collected over the past few months.
Scearcy was followed by Senator Rebecca Saldaña (37th LD), this year's keynote speaker. Senator Saldaña has been dubbed a rising star in Olympia who is able to reach across the aisle to get things done.
The breakout workshops focused on developing our Union's strategic plan, building power in the workplace, and forging our future through family, strength, and community.
During lunch, members tried their luck at stumping four attorneys, including three from the labor-side law firm, Schwerin Campbell Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt LLP, along with our new Associate General Counsel, Marie Duarte.
Thank you to our members who attended the event and to all Local 117 Shop Stewards. You make our Union strong!
We are welcoming seventy DOC Shop Stewards today for our annual meeting here at the Union hall.
The meeting with our DOC members precedes our Shop Steward Seminar at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle tomorrow.
Members are rolling into town now. Our meeting will kick off at 12:30 P.M. after registration and lunch.
Today's agenda involves a presentation by Karen Estevenin, our Membership and Staff Development Coordinator, on how to exercise power in the workplace. We'll also be discussing how we can use Labor Management Communication Committees to engage members toward collective action.
Finally, our new Associate General Counsel, Marie Duarte, will lead the group on the Steward's Role in investigatory interviews.
Dinner will be at 6 P.M. when we will be presenting the award for the annual DOC Shop Steward of the Year. Stay tuned!
This weekend, hundreds of Teamster Shop Stewards from across the state will be gathering in Seattle for our annual Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day.
The theme of this year's Seminar is United for the Future. We'll be discussing our Union's strategic planning process and how we can build strength, unity, and purpose as we confront the many challenges facing organized labor.
The event kicks off on Saturday, March 11 at 7:30 A.M. at the Washington State Convention Center (3rd floor conference center) in downtown Seattle with a full breakfast.
Because so many of our DOC members will be traveling from out of town, they will be gathering the day before the Seminar, on Friday, March 10, at our Union hall for a separate meeting.
On Saturday after breakfast, our Union's Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy, will give a State of the Union address. He'll touch on organizing, political action, training and development, and the need to fortify our Union through member involvement.
Former labor organizer Senator Rebecca Saldaña (37th LD) will be this year's keynote speaker. Senator Saldaña has already been dubbed a rising star in Olympia who is able to reach across the aisle to get things done.
The breakout workshops will focus on developing our Union's strategic plan and discussing how to build power in the workplace through member involvement.
All Shop Stewards should have received a letter in the mail with information about the event, including parking and registration. If you are a Shop Steward and did not receive this information, please contact your Union Rep or call the Local at 206-441-4860.
You can also view more information below:
If you are not attending the Seminar, be sure to touch base with your Shop Steward next week for an update or check in at our Union's website and Facebook page for photos and more details.
It was a show of unity and force this weekend as hundreds of our rank-and-file leaders assembled for our annual Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day.
The event kicked off with a gathering of our DOC Stewards on Friday afternoon here at the Union hall. Topics for discussion included upcoming DOC contract negotiations, the passage of our assault benefits bill, and our newly-won interest arbitration rights.
The main event was on Saturday, when over 300 Stewards met at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle to build union strength and solidarity and for training and strategy sessions.
Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy welcomed members and laid out the State of our Union - the second largest Teamsters Local in the country. He discussed member engagement, financial stability, political action, staffing, and our "members first" membership model.
"My biggest priority is to make sure that we are always putting members first," Scearcy said. "This is your union. Members built it and members will sustain it and continue to make us strong. Thank you for being an essential part of that."
Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy was followed by the day's keynote speaker, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who addressed the many steps his office has taken in protecting workers' rights.
Next up was our very own Spencer Thal, Local 117's outstanding General Counsel, who gave an illuminating talk on various aspects of leave laws and regulations.
Throughout the day, we collected hundreds of signatures in support of a statewide citizens' initiative (I-1433), which, if passed by voters this November, will boost the minimum wage and provide all Washingtonians the ability to earn sick and safe leave.
We also signed up shop captains to collect peanut butter donations to benefit hungry families through the Emergency Food Network and solicited members interested in starting a new Climate Caucus at the Local.
After some lively discussions in our breakout sessions, the event concluded with lunch and a presentation on our long, proud history as Teamsters by Karin Jones, a historian from the IBT's Training and Development division.
Thank you to the Stewards who were able to attend and to ALL of our Local 117 Shop Stewards for the incredible work you do every day to serve our union and make us strong.
You are the backbone of this union!
It's a big weekend for Teamsters! Shop Stewards from across our Union and all across the state will be gathering for our annual Shop Steward Seminar and Appreciation Day.
This is an opportunity to recognize the hard work, commitment, and sacrifice of the hundreds of rank-and-file leaders of our union. It's also a chance to demonstrate our collective power, discuss challenges facing labor, and strategize for the coming year.
The event kicks off on Friday morning with a gathering of our Department of Corrections Stewards here at the Union hall in Tukwila. At that meeting, we'll be gearing up for DOC contract negotiations later this spring, talking about our political work in Olympia, including the successful passage of our bill to extend assault benefits, and discussing our newly-won interest arbitration rights.
Friday's program concludes with a dinner and the announcement and recognition of our DOC Shop Steward of the Year. (More on that coming later!)
The main event, for all Stewards, takes place on Saturday at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Over 300 Local 117 Shop Stewards are expected to attend the 6-hour seminar, which gets underway with a buffet breakfast at 7:30 a.m.
The agenda includes a look at our proud history as Teamsters, a legal review, breakout sessions on member mobilization and engagement, as well as a few juicy surprises.
In case you are missing yours, here are the documents that were mailed out to all Stewards in advance of Saturday's seminar:
We hope those who are able to attend enjoy the event and take the time to connect with the many talented members on hand.
Thank you again to our incredible force of Stewards who serve our union so well and work everyday to make us strong!