DOC GUARDIAN #V6 N2: Union Strength
Quote of the month: "Union strength comes from our participation and civic commitments to public safety." Cheryl Steele, AHCC



A message from your Director of Corrections, Michelle Woodrow

Brothers and Sisters:

With regular session in Olympia winding down, the State Legislature and the Governor are hammering out a budget deal that will directly impact Teamsters at the Department of Corrections.

We’ve been tracking the budget negotiations closely, and from what we’ve seen so far, the Senate and the House budget proposals are a mixed bag as far as Corrections is concerned. Read more

DOC Teamsters win interest arbitration
On Friday, April 19, your Local Union’s Secretary-Treasurer Tracey A. Thompson resolved the pending bad faith bargaining Unfair Labor Practice charge against the State and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that secures full interest arbitration rights during the term of your 2013-2015 collective bargaining agreement.

This MOU represents a significant victory for all Teamsters Local 117 correctional employees. It recognizes the critical nature of corrections’ work, and it honors the men and women who staff our State’s prisons who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe. Read more

AHCC member recounts Day of Action! event
By Cheryl Steele, Classification Counselor 2, AHCC
Recently I attended the “Day of Action” in Olympia. This was an amazing event I wish all Teamster Local 117 DOC members would have attended.

Our Brothers and Sisters came from all over the State and joined in a rally to let our elected officials know our presence and our needs matter to the daily operations of public safety.

We lobbied individual legislators discussing our safety and the need for “Interest Arbitration”. We talked and they listened. Many voiced their support and appreciation for our work. Read more

DOC Shop Stewards meet, strategize
Over 65 DOC Shop Stewards met on Friday, March 15 in Seattle to plan, prioritize, and train for the coming year.
Members received a political update, a legal report, and an overview on the Union’s work to achieve interest arbitration rights for Teamster correctional employees.

Caterina Spinaris, PhD, led the group in a discussion about the high prevalence of PTSD among corrections’ professionals and how best to address the extremely stressful nature of the job.

According to Dr. Spinaris, a recent study found that the average PTSD rate for correctional workers is an astounding 27%. This compares to a rate of just 3.5% for the general population. Read more

Walking Time Settlement
The Local 117 Legal Department has achieved a significant settlement with the DOC that will provide retroactive compensatory time to members who have been regularly required to walk at least nine minutes or more from master control to their posts.

The agreement also requires that the Department reduce travel time to work stations to ten minutes or less for all employees by April 1, 2013, or begin paying a premium to members if the walk to their posts takes them in excess of the 10-minute threshold. Read more

Welcome New Business Reps!
Your Union is excited to announce the hiring of Tawny Humbert, a former Administrative Assistant at WSP who spoke at Local 117’s Day of Action! event in 2010, and Gar Rodside, a former Construction Maintenance Supervisor at Mission Creek, as new Business Representatives for members at the DOC.

Tawny, who started on March 11, will represent members at AHCC. Gar started on April 15 and will provide representation to members at SCCC, MCCCW, and LCC. Both Tawny and Gar have experience as Shop Stewards; they have strong leadership skills and are committed unionists.

Tawny has rallied in Olympia for interest arbitration, attended the Teamsters’ Women’s Conference, and provided representation support to both custody and non-custody staff in her role as a Shop Steward. “I’ve been a huge advocate for speaking out for workers’ rights,” she said. “Members need to have their voices heard.”

Gar was a Local 117 Shop Steward for 10 years and has been on three contract negotiations teams. “I’ve been a part of every representational activity I can think of,” he said. “I know the value of a good strong union and I want to show the benefits of that.”

BFOQ case heads to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
The Union is appealing a Federal Court decision that came out on March 8 in the BFOQ case. The DOC and Columbia Legal Services sought dismissal of the case before trial.

The trial court granted the DOC’s motion to dismiss based on two theories. First, the Court ruled that the Union did not present sufficient evidence of actual injury. In other words, general evidence of members’ displacement from bid posts, layoffs and excessive overtime was not specific enough as to any particular individual harmed by the BFOQ designations. The Union’s legal team believes we have a strong case for appeal on this theory.

The Court also dismissed the case because it gave substantial deference to the DOC’s determination of whether BFOQ designations were really necessary. This has always been a fundamental argument in this case. How much leeway does the law give an Employer when it comes to the narrow BFOQ exception to federal anti-discrimination laws? It is an important question in this case and one that will now have to be answered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Union filed the appeal on April 19, but the busy Ninth Circuit is unlikely to actually hear arguments until sometime in 2014 or 2015.

New uniform rollout schedule
For the latest on uniforms including a new rollout schedule, please visit the DOC News Ticker of your Union's website at



Spring 2013

June 20 - Membership Mtg.

June 22 - Car & Bike Show

Membership Meeting - June 20, 2013
Join fellow members for Local 117's general membership meeting starting at 7 p.m. at the Union hall in Tukwila.

Dinner will be served before the meeting starting at 5 p.m.

Local 117 Car & Bike Show - June 22, 2013
Rods, customs, classics, and choppers all welcome for your Local Union’s first annual Car & Bike Show on Saturday, June 22, 2013.

This event is sponsored by the Local 117 caucuses to benefit your Union’s Solidarity Scholarship for continuing education.

Roll in at 9:30 a.m. Show starts at 10:30 a.m. Register online at

Scholarships Available!
Are you a member of Teamsters Local 117 and the parent of a graduating high school senior or a student who is currently enrolled in a college or technical school and is in need of money for college?

The Local 117 Jeff Alfieri Scholarship of up to $2000 is awarded to outstanding students whose parents are members of Teamsters Local 117. The deadline for the 2013 Alfieri Scholarship is May 10.

An application for the scholarship and eligibility requirements are available at




* DOC Guardian: News for the hardworking men and women of DOC *

Unsubscribe from this list

Mailing address:
14675 Interurban Ave. S., Suite 307, Tukwila, WA 98168

206.441.4860 * toll free 1.888.872.3498

Copyright (C) 2013 * Teamsters Local 117 * All rights reserved.