Have you ever been harassed by an individual who obtained your name or contact information through public disclosure?
It’s a common problem facing our members in public safety professions, and our Union has been working on a remedy.
This week, we helped introduce a bill (SB 5326) that would give Local 117 members at the Department of Corrections and other law enforcement agencies the ability to seek legal damages if their personal information, obtained through public disclosure, is used to harass or intimidate any person or for commercial purposes.
“This bill is designed to protect our members at the DOC and other public safety professionals who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe,” said John Scearcy, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer.
The proposed law is sponsored by three Senate Republicans and was referred to the Senate Law and Justice Committee on January 20 for further consideration.
A team of eight cheerleaders from Walla Walla High School has been invited to attend the USA Spirit Nationals competition held in Anaheim, CA this March.
Among the teammates on the squad is Kaytlyn Dahlin, the daughter of Local 117 member at the Washington State Penitentiary (WSP), Officer Erin Dahlin.
Officer Dahlin, who has been at WSP for fifteen years, applied to our Local Union's Executive Board for a community sponsorship to help provide financial support to the team. The Local's E-Board agreed to make a modest donation.
"They're really excited about it, but they've got a lot more fundraising to do," Dahlin said. You can learn how to support the team in this article published in the Walla Walla Union Bulletin on January 15.
"The girls are planning to send a photo of appreciation to all of the funders from Disneyland," Dahlin said. "My wife will be accompanying them. I'll be staying back at work."
Terrie Matsen works at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center and has served the state for 25 years. She started out as an AC Cook at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center, transferred to the Olympic Corrections Center in Forks for a year, and now works in the mailroom at Stafford Creek. She talked about why she’s attending our upcoming Legislative Reception and Lobby Day event on February 13-14.
Why do you think it’s important to go to Olympia and talk with your legislators?
I think it’s important because I don’t think legislators have a total understanding of what we do in corrections. It gives us the opportunity to explain our duties and the things we go through on a day-to-day basis. We need to get them to understand that there’s risk every day when we walk in here.
How many times have you been to Olympia to speak about issues that you face?
I’ve been there numerous times. I’ve done the Day of Action and several other times – I think eight times total.
How would you describe the experience of meeting with your legislators?
Some legislators are more open and receiving to us than others. You’re going to have some who think that state workers are already overpaid, but that’s not the case. They don’t see the whole picture of what we do.
What’s the most important thing to convey when talking with them?
The risk involved. We provide a service – not just for us – but it effects the whole community and the state as a whole.
What would you say to your co-workers who have never been to Olympia and are thinking about attending Lobby Day?
I would say go. It’s eye opening. You get the opportunity to have your voice heard and it’s imperative that your voice gets heard. The more participation, the stronger we stand.
I am excited to announce the hiring of two new Business Representatives for members at the Department of Corrections.
Matthew McGetrick and Jared Frerichs began their positions at our Local Union effective January 3, 2017.
Matthew is assigned to the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell, while Jared will represent members at the Airway Heights Corrections Center in Spokane. Tawny Humbert will continue to represent members at the Washington State Penitentiary.
Both Jared and Matthew have extensive experience as correctional professionals and in representing Union members.
Matthew has worked in custody and non-custody roles at two DOC facilities and has worked in the Community Corrections Division, where he served as a Shop Steward for the Washington Federation of State Employees.
Jared has experience as a Teamster Shop Steward at WSP, where he worked in several custody and non-custody positions.
Both Jared and Matthew will be a great asset to our Union. Please join me in welcoming them to our team.
The 2017 legislative session kicked off in Olympia today, and with it comes serious challenges facing working families across our state.
Our top priority is to ensure that legislators invest in those who keep our communities safe.
Corrections employees put their lives on the line to serve and protect our communities, but are significantly underpaid for the important public safety work they perform.
Correctional officers, for example, are paid 37.44 percent less than those at county corrections after ten years of service. Other classifications at DOC are similarly underpaid.
It is common for DOC employees to leave state service for higher-paying positions after DOC has invested in training them. When corrections employees leave because they are underpaid it creates a safety risk for the remaining prison staff.
A neutral arbitrator has awarded our DOC members a minimum 10.5 percent wage increase over the coming biennium. The state’s Office of Financial Management has deemed the award financially feasible and the Governor has included our contract in his budget.
Now it’s up to the state legislature to ensure that our contract gets funded and corrections employees get the respect they deserve.
We’re calling on all Teamsters to support our DOC brothers and sisters in this effort. We’ll be meeting directly with legislators to urge them to fund our DOC contract on February 13 and 14.
That’s when we’re holding our DOC Legislative Reception and Lobby Day.
You can register for the event here.
Throughout the legislative session, we will be tracking bills and other issues that impact all members of Teamsters Local 117. There will be many opportunities to testify at legislative hearings and speak directly with lawmakers. We will let you know when those opportunities arise.
It's critical that Teamsters get involved down in Olympia so that we can hold our representatives accountable and ensure that our state invests in working families.
For more information or if you want to get involved, please contact our Political Coordinator Dustin Lambro at 1-888-872-3489.
Members have a right to attend Union meetings without interference and without getting snooped on by management.
That’s what the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) ruled in an Unfair Labor Practice case brought on behalf of members at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center.
The case centered on the disruption of our holiday membership meeting in 2015. The meeting was organized by shop stewards and union rep, Talisa Boad, who had reserved a room at the facility and notified the superintendent well in advance.
But when Boad and fellow rep Eric Smith showed up on the scheduled day, management tried to derail the meeting.
Over the last two years, over a thousand new members have joined Teamsters Local 117 and our numbers continue to grow.
Today we just received word from the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) that the agency has officially certified a petition filed on behalf of 18 employees in DOC's Marine Department to become Teamsters.
These new members operate the ferries that service McNeil Island. They are Ferry Operators, Ferry Operator Assistants, Marine Engine Mechanic Supervisors, and Shipwright Supervisors.
They came to our Union seeking competent, professional representation and a voice.
They will add strength to our DOC bargaining unit and to our Union as a whole. Please welcome these new Teamsters!
Officer Patrick Collecchi at our Holiday Membership Meeting at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center.
Officer Patrick Collecchi of the Stafford Creek Corrections Center talks about why he plans to attend our DOC Lobby Day on February 13 and 14. Officer Collecchi is new to DOC and has been at SCCC since March.
Why are you planning to attend our DOC Lobby Day?
I've seen a lot of other state agencies who haven't had very good representation. I'd like to go down with my Union that has shown more support for me and my co-workers.
What do you hope to achieve by going to Lobby Day?
I want to make sure we get our contract funded. I want to build that level of camaraderie with my co-workers and show that we can be involved in decisions like this that affect us in the workplace.
Have you ever been down to speak with your legislators in Olympia before?
No. I spoke with my Congressman once when I was in the Marines but that is about it.
How do you expect that it will go?
I'm not too nervous about it. I've got plenty of support with me.
What would you say to encourage your co-workers to attend Lobby Day with you?
If you are unseen and unheard, you are not cared for.
Anything you'd like to add?
I'm glad that we have interest arbitration in our contract so that we have that third party. So that it's not just us against them. We now have a mediator in there. From the taxpayers' standpoint, there is now someone neutral coming in there saying this is feasible.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and Happy New Year. Regardless of how you celebrate, this is a time to give thanks and be around loved ones.
The holidays are typically a time to get away from work. This is not the case for many of us who work in corrections. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had Christmas Day off.
This year, our DOC bargaining committee made history. For the first time, we were able to negotiate interest arbitration rights into our DOC contract.
This is a major victory for the men and women who work in corrections.
Having interest arbitration means that if we are unable to reach agreement with the State during contract negotiations, we can move mandatory subjects of bargaining to a third-party arbitrator who will make an unbiased ruling based on objective information.
It means that we have greater leverage at the bargaining table and a chance to make meaningful improvements to our DOC contract.
We owe our gratitude to the incredible work of our Union's DOC bargaining committee for making this a priority.
You can view a short video about our Union's long path to achieving interest arbitration below: