(TUKWILA, Wash.)—In an incredible and hard-won victory, a group of 90 fuel delivery truck drivers at APP/World Fuel Services voted on Saturday night to approve a new 3-year agreement with their employer.
The contract victory comes over a year after the drivers first voted to join Teamsters Local 174. The group voted unanimously to authorize a strike action on October 1, and gathered to make picket signs for a potential strike on November 12.
“The agreement is groundbreaking in its breadth, and includes several contract articles that are rare to achieve in a first contract,” said Local 174 Director of Negotiations Patty Warren. “We were able to get contract provisions such as dues check-off, DRIVE, and most importantly to these drivers, union pension contributions through the Pacific Coast Benefit Trust. That was a major accomplishment that could not have been achieved without the courage and solidarity of this new group of Teamsters.”
The agreement also includes a signing bonus, improved health care at a lower cost, additional holidays, improved weekly overtime rules and new provisions requiring the company to pay for necessary certifications for the drivers. Previously, those certifications were paid for out-of-pocket by the drivers themselves.
In addition, the employees’ wage structure will be simplified and improved across the board. Every employee under the new contract will receive a wage increase, with an average increase of 6.1 percent overall.
“The strength of this contract is a direct reflection of the strength of this group of drivers,” said Rick Hicks, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 174. “These drivers showed what a great Teamster looks like, even before they became full union members. Now that they have ratified this agreement, they can stand together proudly and take their oath of obligation to become full-fledged members of Local 174. We are glad to have them as members.”
“This victory was a team effort,” said David Jacobsen, Teamsters Western Region Tankhaul Division Director and the Local 174 senior business agent representing this group of new Teamsters. “It started with an incredible organizing drive spearheaded by Local 174 Director of Organizing Meaza Ogbe, along with help from Local 174 Trustee Adam Murphy, Business Agent Michael Walker, IBT Organizers Tom McKibbin and Sal Abrica, and the entire staff and leadership of Local 174. Once the group was organized, they had masterful negotiators Rick Hicks and Patty Warren fighting for them at the bargaining table. But above all, they need to thank themselves and each other for standing together to get this done. This is a great contract we can all be proud of.”
The new contract victory is not just groundbreaking in its own right—it’s the first organizing victory at APP/World Fuel Services.
“This contract will open up new organizing opportunities in this industry,” Hicks said. “The agreement sets a standard, and other tankhaul companies, especially AmeriGas, should take note.”
AmeriGas drivers voted to join Teamsters Local 174 in September 2016, and have been fighting for a first contract ever since. They voted unanimously in favor of a strike action in March 2017.
“We are thrilled with this outcome,” said Darren Foreman, who has worked at APP for over 18 years. “Through this whole process, we had one goal in mind: to become members of Teamsters Local 174 and get one of Teamsters Local 174’s industry-leading contracts. We did that, and we couldn’t be happier.”
Founded in 1909, Teamsters Local 174 represents 7,200 working men and women in the Seattle area. “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamstersLocal174.