History and Purpose of TEA

An introduction to the Technical Employees Association


Who we are

The Technical Employees Association (TEA) is an independent professional union representing the professional and technical staff in King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division and Transit Division (Metro).

TEA members are responsible for planning, designing and building capital facilities for the conveyance and treatment of wastewater and for the Metro transit system throughout King County. Our members include project managers, engineers, designers, construction managers, facilities inspectors, right-of-way/permit agents, water quality planners, environmental planners, and information technology and project control staff. TEA members include both professional and technical staff. TEA has 321 members as of  November 2019.

Purpose of TEA

The purpose of the Technical Employees Association is to promote solidarity and professionalism among our members. Our effort will improve the economic, professional and employment status of our members through collective bargaining, contract enforcement and employee advocacy. TEA members often work on project teams to provide effective and efficient delivery of services that benefit the residents of King County in the areas of water quality and mass transportation.

History of TEA

The Technical Employees Association was formed in 1994 by professional and technical employees of the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro) before the Metro-King County merger. At this point, TEA was composed of employees of Metro’s Technical Services Department, consisting of professional, technical and administrative employees providing services to the Water Pollution Control and Transit Departments. These Metro employees were previously nonrepresented. During the government merger with King County, Metro employees decided that representation was warranted and began a process that led to creating an independent professional union.


TEA is a nonprofit corporation in the state of Washington. On April 13, 2001, TEA gained the right to represent professional and technical employees in the Wastewater Treatment Division of the King County Department of Natural Resources & Parks and the Transit Design and Construction Section of the King County Department of Transportation. After protracted negotiations with King County, TEA Wastewater members ratified their first contract in late July 2004.

Services provided by TEA

The services provided by the Technical Employees Association focus on the following areas:

Collective bargaining – Negotiating labor contract terms for its members including wages and working conditions.

Contract enforcement – Problem solving, grievance handling and representation, legal counsel support and arbitration.

Special services/communications – Reaching out to members for comment on policy and other decisions; providing transparency through open meetings for members; communicating through periodic online publications and our Web site; coordinating with other unions on issues of common interest; and conveying the interests of members through discussions or lobbying with management and the County Council.

Productivity improvement – Working with management to provide productivity enhancements in services that benefit both our members and our customers, and resolving nongrievance interpersonal issues through formal and informal mediation.

Training – Subsidizing or providing training for members on labor law and other union topics.

TEA’s Structure

TEA differs from modern unions in many ways, but most significantly, volunteer members run TEA. The Board of Officers is elected from the membership and runs the organization without compensation, as do other volunteer members filling various support functions. Legal services and other specific professional services are contracted.

The TEA membership directs the union through various elected representatives. Each work group within TEA selects a member to participate on the Council of Representatives; this representative simplifies the flow of information within the membership. The representatives elect a chairperson of the council every two years. The Council of Representatives meets at least quarterly to discuss issues of interest to the membership and communicate with the Executive Board.

Members of an Executive Board of Officers–are elected on staggered terms for two years terms. The board holds monthly general membership meetings to conduct association business. The president leads and is the spokesperson for TEA. The vice president is the chair of the Grievance Committee, which evaluates grievances and works toward their resolution.

 There are two bargaining teams, one for Transit and one for Wastewater.  They chair bargaining committee team(s) and the bargaining team(s). The secretary and treasurer, provide important recording, communication and financial services.

Board Members

President– Mike Sands

Vice President–Alton Gaskill

Secretary– JR Meksavanh

Treasurer– Celeste Bryant

Transit Bargaining Chair- Jennifer Ash

Council of Reps. Chair- Velma Valdez

WW Bargaining Chair–Mark Slepski

TEA Times

The central communication tool of TEA is an electronic newsletter, The TEA Times, which is sent to all TEA members who have a King County e-mail address. The TEA Times includes the upcoming meeting schedule, highlights on subjects of interest for the TEA membership, current officers and TEA Web site address. Members can choose to list classified ads in the TEA Times.

Get informed. Get involved!

TEA has many ways to keep you informed about work being done for you. You can:

  • Read the TEA Times and special announcements that apply to your bargaining unit (contact the secretary if you do not already get this).
  • Attend the monthly member meetings, scheduled for the third Wednesdays of the month at noon in the King Street Building. (see the Events Calendar for exact location in the building)
  • Attend the monthly Executive Board meetings, held at noon (see TEA Times for schedule).
  • View the Web site and linked documents there, including past meeting minutes.
  • Talk to your council representative, or come to the periodic Council meetings.
  • Contact any TEA Board member by phone or e-mail or in person.

TEA is always interested in your energy and interest, and we have many ways to involve you. Consider:

  • Attending the member and board meetings.
  • Volunteering for council representative for your work unit.
  • Joining the working groups and committees like the Grievance Committee, Negotiations Committee, Salary/Wage survey working group, Political Action Committee, and Wastewater Productivity Incentive Fund Committee.
  • Asking a question of the board or sending one to the Web site.

Contact us!

Page Last Updated: Jan 18, 2021 (07:54:43)
Contact Info
Technical Employees Association
PO Box 4353
Seattle, WA 98194

Top of Page image
Powered By UnionActive - Copyright © 2022. All Rights Reserved.