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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.


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?

According to reports the union must file annually with the U.S. Department of Labor, Teamsters 117 collected $11.5 million in dues and fees from its members in 2017 and had a paid staff of at least 53.

  • $2.8 million went to Teamsters national headquarters in Washington, D.C., to support its massive political, economic and social agenda.
  • $318,000 was spent on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying.
  • $201,000 was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations.
  • $126,000 was spent on food and travel.
  • Teamsters 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy was paid $176,442 in 2017.
  • 22 Teamsters 117 employees were paid six-figures in 2017.

Teamsters 117’s 2017 LM-2 report is available here.
Teamsters 117’s 2016 LM-2 report is available here.
Teamsters 117’s 2015 LM-2 report is available here.

A portion of the dues Teamster’s 117 member pay goes to support Teamsters Joint Council 28 which received $1.4 million in 2017 and had six paid staff.

  • $318,000 was spent on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying.
  • $56,471 was spent on hotels and airfare.
  • The highest paid employee was Lily Wilson-Codega, the political action director, who was paid $116,310 in 2017.

Teamsters Joint Council 28’s 2017 LM-2 report is available here.
Teamsters Joint Council 28’s 2016 LM-2 report is available here.
Teamsters Joint Council 28’s 2015 LM-2 report is available here.

Lastly, a portion of the dues Teamsters 117 members pay goes to support the International Brotherhood of Teamsters headquarters in Washington, D.C., which collected $176 million in 2017 and had a paid staff of at least 597.

  • $8.5 million was spent by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying
  • $2.2 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations.
  • Almost $6 million was spent on airfare, hotels, travel, food and catering. Another $535 thousand was spent in Las Vegas alone.
  • Teamsters President James Hoffa was paid $390,583 in 2017.
  • About 200 employees were paid six-figures in 2017.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ 2017 LM-2 report is available here.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ 2016 LM-2 report is available here.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ 2015 LM-2 report is available here.