After enduring poor conditions at non-union warehouses, Malique Marrero has found a home with his Teamsters job at Martin Brower.

Teamsters 117 drivers and warehousers at Martin Brower are celebrating two of the strongest contracts with the company in the country as the groups voted overwhelmingly to ratify their agreements on Sunday.

Lifting the wage line and pension rates were major priorities for the workers, and on those points the union delivered.

Malique Marrero, a 29-year-old order selector, expressed his excitement about the deal. "The wages are great. I don't have to live paycheck to paycheck. It creates a different environment when you have people coming to work, and they don't have to worry about how they're going to pay their bills," he said.

Marrero, who supports his 7-year-old son, was happy to see no additional out-of-pocket costs on his healthcare over the term of the agreement and the inclusion of the Teamsters RWT-XL Plus retirees medical plan.

"My son's teeth are starting to fall out," he said. "We've been bringing him to the dentist and don't have to worry. It's cool - you just slap your card on the table and it's all done."

Francisco Nauta, another young Teamster warehouser with only eight months at the company, says the contract makes him want to stick around for the duration of his career. "I really like the job protections I get. I'm planning to retire here," he said. Sitting across from him in the breakroom, Marrero agreed, joking: "Unless I become a movie star, I'm planning to be here for the next 30 years."


30-year Teamster Ron Huff looking forward to retiring on his Teamsters pension at the end of the year.

The two contracts hit the mark for old school Teamsters as well. Ron Huff, a 30-year member and longtime shop steward who has been at the bargaining table multiple times over his career, said the contract was one of the best he has ever seen. "Negotiations was a little rough at the beginning, but they came around with the money we needed," he said.

Huff, who will be retiring at the end of the year, appreciated the support of Union Rep Jacob Westerlund and Secretary-Treasurer and lead negotiator Paul Dascher. "I loved having Paul in there. He knows his stuff. He's quick witted, and he knows how to get the job done," he said.


Secretary-Treasurer Paul Dascher presents the new proposal to the group at a meeting in Puyallup.

"Our members at Martin Brower deserve the very best for themselves and their families," Secretary-Treasurer Dascher said. "They work hard in a fast-paced environment to receive, house, and push the company's product out the door and deliver to their customers. This contract is a good step toward recognizing the value of their labor."