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Teamsters 117

How Department of Corrections and municipal employees can opt out of paying dues to Teamsters Local 117

Teamsters 117 is the designated union for Department of Corrections employees and certain county, city, school district and other local government employees.

For years, public employees in Washington have been forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment, allowing unions to take their members for granted. However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that public employees can no longer be required to financially support a labor union against their will. (Janus v. AFSCME, 2018). Janus v. AFSCME, 585 US (2018)

The decision found,

“The First Amendment is violated when money is taken from nonconsenting employees for a public-sector union; employees must choose to support the union before anything is taken from them. Accordingly, neither an agency fee nor any other form of payment to a public-sector union may be deducted from an employee, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”

Consequently, public employees may decline to pay these private organizations without losing their jobs or employer-provided benefits.

It is important to know that Teamsters 117 may continue to automatically withhold dues from employees pay even if they never signed up for membership in the first place. The best way to ensure the deductions stop is to submit a request to the union in writing.

To stop the union from deducting dues from your pay:

  1. Enter your information into the form below and click “submit.”
  2. On the resulting page, click the link to open your customized form. You will also receive an email with a link to your form.
  3. Print the form. If you check the appropriate box requesting a printed version, we’ll mail you a copy of the form.
  4. Sign and date the form.
  5. Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.
  • We will not contact you unless you choose to receive updates from us
  • e.g. State of Washington, King County, City of Tacoma, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after I send my resignation to the union?

You should receive some acknowledgement of your request from the union within a few weeks.

Because it has a financial interest in continuing to withhold dues from your pay, the union may contact you and attempt to persuade you to keep your membership. Their sales pitch may include untrue claims and scare tactics. It is a good idea to try to document any questionable claims made by union representatives. Do not be bullied! If you stand your ground, there is nothing the union can do to retaliate against you for opting out.

Monitor your paychecks to make sure the dues deductions stop. Contact the union if the deductions continue more than a couple paychecks after you submit your resignation request.

Teamsters 117 has tricked some employees into signing membership forms with fine print waiving their right to resign except during a short annual window period. If the union claims you signed such a form and therefore cannot cancel the dues deductions from your pay, ask to be provided with documentation that you ever signed such an agreement and contact OptOutToday.com for assistance.

How much are Teamsters 117 dues?

On average, a member of Teamsters 117 pays about $677 per year in dues.

Teamsters 117 monthly dues are two and one-quarter (2.25) times the hourly earnings rate. (Constitution Article X Section 3 (d) (ii) Pg. 78) Essentially, 2.25 times your hourly rate is approximately 1.3 percent of your monthly pay.

Of those dues received by the union, 22 percent goes to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, $1.60 per month goes to Joint Council 28 (JC28), and the rest is retained by Teamsters Local 117.

For example, if you earn $50,000 a year you pay about $650 in yearly dues. $143 is going to IBT, $19.20 to JC28 and the remaining $487.80 goes to Local 117.

 

Dues
International Brotherhood of Teamsters $143
Joint Council 28 $19.20
Local 117 $487.80
Total $650

Source: Teamsters 117 “Hudson Report” 2017

Will the union continue to represent me if I opt out?

Yes. Teamsters 117 is the union designated to represent employees in your workplace. Employees are not allowed to negotiate their own compensation or handle their own grievances with their employer, nor can they hire another person or entity to represent them.

In exchange for this unusual benefit, Teamsters 117 is legally obligated to represent all employees in the workplace, including those who choose not to join the union as members.

Consequently, the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union and your employer will continue to set the terms and conditions of your employment and the union will continue to represent you in grievances, contract enforcement, discipline assistance or other proceedings governed by the collective bargaining agreement.

Will I lose wages, health care, retirement or other benefits if I opt out?

No. All provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between the union and your employer will continue to govern your employment. Your wages, health benefits, retirement and anything else governed by the collective bargaining agreement will remain unchanged if you opt out of Teamsters 117.

How will my relationship with the union change if I opt out?

While the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will still govern your employment, as a nonmember, the union may choose to prevent you from participating in internal union affairs, such as attending union meetings or voting in union elections, including contract ratification votes. Unions also commonly withhold any special “members-only” deals or discounts the union has arranged for with businesses. You may no longer receive the union newsletter or similar publications.

Why do people opt out of the union?

People have many reasons for not wanting to support the union. Some simply do not believe the services the union provides are worth the dues it charges. Others may find the union’s one-size-fits-all agenda does not serve them well because they are new to the profession, have a specialty that is not acknowledged in bargaining, or they believe their effectiveness is undercompensated. Some resent the union’s role in enabling and defending underperforming employees. Many find the union’s political activity and use of dues to advance partisan causes, candidates and ideology distasteful. Other people have a faith-based objection to unions’ expenditures on causes like abortion advocacy and attacks on values. Additionally, the core union philosophy of conflict, oath-breaking, disrespect and greed also can be contrary to many religious beliefs. Still others believe that union officials are corrupt and unaccountable to their membership.

Unions representing public employees are not governed by the usual consumer protection or anti-trust laws, so abuses are common. Unions can charge whatever they wish. They can spend dues money on anything they want. Often, they do not have to disclose how dues money is spent to members. They can speak for employees without consulting or informing them. They can injure some members’ interests while advancing the interests of others. Unions even have the ability to prevent employees from getting help in their workplace from other sources. They are not governed by any obligation to provide quality service, and almost never have to seek approval of the people they represent in an election to continue as the exclusive representative.

How does Teamsters 117 spend my dues money?

Any union representing any private-sector workers, including Teamsters 117, is legally required to file annual financial reports with the U.S. Department of Labor. According to Teamsters 117’s LM-2 reports:

  • In 2019:
    • The union collected $12.2 million in dues
    • It had a paid officers and staff of nearly 60
    • Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy was paid $186,784 plus other forms of compensation
    • 30 Teamsters 117 employees were paid six-figures.
    • $363,338 was spent on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying
    • $233,700 was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations, including:
    • $47,447 went to provide food and lodging for union insiders to lobby
    • $71,250 was spent on Safeway gift cards for union insiders
  • Between 2017 and 2018, Teamsters 117 contributed $63,750 to Puget Sound SAGE, which “join[s] in the call to defund the Seattle Police Department.”
  • The union contributed $6,250 to the Washington State Budget & Policy Center in 2017, which wants to, “Redirect funding for prisons and policing… to reparative investments that directly benefit communities of color and communities with lower incomes.”

Sources:

Teamsters 117’s 2019 LM-2 report
Teamsters 117’s 2018 LM-2 report
Teamsters 117’s 2017 LM-2 report
Teamsters 117’s 2016 LM-2 report
Teamsters 117’s 2015 LM-2 report

 Teamsters 117’s 2018 tax return
Teamsters 117’s 2017 tax return
Teamsters 117’s 2016 tax return

Teamsters Joint Council 28

Part of the dues Teamsters 117 members pay go to support Teamsters Joint Council 28. According to its 2019 LM-2 report:

  • Council 28 collected $1.4 million
  • $272,034 was spent on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying
  • $55,835 was spent on hotels and airfare
  • $13,000 was spent on Argosy Cruises
  • $8,884 was spent on caterers for a holiday dinner
  • $6,000 was provided to Ted Bunstine
  • $100,000 was transferred to the WA Teamsters Legislative League political action committee
  • $5,000 was given to Citizens for Better Transit
  • $5,000 was given to Every Ribbon Counts in Pennsylvania
  • Teamsters Council 28 had 15 paid officers and staff
  • The highest paid employee, political action director Shaunie Wheeler-James, was paid $125,352

Sources:

Teamsters Joint Council 28’s 2019 LM-2 report
Teamsters Joint Council 28’s 2018 LM-2 report
Teamsters Joint Council 28’s 2017 LM-2 report
Teamsters Joint Council 28’s 2016 LM-2 report
Teamsters Joint Council 28’s 2015 LM-2 report

Teamsters Council 28 tax return for 2017
Teamsters Council 28 tax return for 2016
Teamsters Council 28 tax return for 2015

International Brotherhood of Teamsters 

In 2019, about $2.9 million of the dues paid by Teamsters 117 members went to support the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) headquarters in Washington, D.C. According to its 2019 LM-2 report:

  • The IBT collected $213 million
  • $10.1 million was spent on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying
  • $2.2 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations.
  • IBT had at least 615 paid officers and staff
  • IBT president James Hoffa was paid $408,942
  • About 238 employees were paid six-figures

Sources:

International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ 2019 LM-2 report
International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ 2018 LM-2 report
International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ 2017 LM-2 report
International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ 2016 LM-2 report
International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ 2015 LM-2 report