Tammy Kimball hopes her story will bring awareness to the dangers of working in a prison and help prevent a future assault.
On the morning of June 14, 2014, Tammy Kimball’s life changed forever. She arrived at work early in the morning as she did every day. Tammy works as an AC Cook at the Washington State Penitentiary where she supervises inmates working in the kitchen.
Working in a prison carries constant risk. Tammy had been on staff at WSP for four years. She has the instincts of a trained prison employee.
Well over a dozen Teamster volunteers spent the afternoon on Saturday talking to voters in and around Walla Walla.
Our group was getting out the vote for Jared Frerichs, a Local 117 member who is running for County Commissioner.
Jared is a military veteran and a Correctional Specialist who works at the Washington State Penitentiary.
"I’ve always felt a deep love and commitment to my community," Jared says. "Many of my values and lessons were formed in the fields, hills, and along the riverbanks of the Walla Walla Valley."
Jared's running on a platform of bringing more living-wage jobs to Walla Walla county, ensuring that residents of the county feel safe, and protecting the environment.
Your Union is currently recruiting for two business representative positions for the Department of Corrections.
We are in need of a representative on the east side of the state as well as the west side of the state. If this interests you, please find the attached job description that includes instructions on how to submit your cover letter and resume. The deadline to apply is September 30, 2016.
If you do apply, please include whether or not you are willing to relocate. At this time, the specific jurisdictions have not been determined.
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement
We're pleased to report that today our Coalition of Unions achieved an agreement with the State on health care for State employees. Under RCW 41.80, state employee health care negotiations must be conducted at the coalition level.
The agreement provides for a maintenance of the status quo percentages of the prior agreement. The 85% / 15% split between the employer and the employee on the weighted average of the premium is therefore maintained for the 2017-2019 biennium.
The only change under this agreement is that a $25 gift certificate is available for eligible members who participate in the State’s WELL BEING assessment.
We’re still waiting to receive our interest arbitration award from Arbitrator Howell Lankford, which deals with the other compensation elements of your contract, but this agreement on health care will be incorporated into your collective bargaining agreement as required under the law.
We’ve come a long way since the last issue of our Guardian newsletter. We completed the bargaining process and achieved some meaningful improvements to our DOC contract. We also made a strong case to significantly raise wages at our interest arbitration hearing.
We expect the arbitrator to issue a decision on a general wage increase as well as on other compensation elements of our contract by the end of this month.
With so much to report, I'm excited to announce the fall issue of our Guardian newsletter.
In this issue, you'll find a report from the interest arbitration hearing, a story about a WSP member who is running for office, and an editorial piece by our Union’s Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy.
You can access a PDF of the newsletter here. For print copies, talk to your Shop Steward or Business Representative.
Thank you and stay safe!
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement
Former Local 117 ST Tracey Thompson Presents our Closing Argument to the Arbitrator
Last Friday was the final day of our interest arbitration hearing. We used the opportunity to emphasize our main argument in the case: Washington State corrections employees are dramatically underpaid as compared to their counterparts who work at the county-level and in other Western states. The arbitrator must issue an award that rectifies this injustice.
Our Union’s former Secretary-Treasurer, Tracey Thompson, who we retained for the arbitration, presented our closing argument. Click here to watch a video of Tracey’s entire presentation.
Tracey laid out our proposal for an across-the-board wage increase for all members of the bargaining unit. We are calling for a 15 percent general wage increase in the first year of the contract plus a 3.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and a 15 percent increase in the second year of the contract plus a 3.5 percent COLA. These increases would bring Washington State correctional employees in line with the market average.
“You have the opportunity to do justice, to bring compensation equity to the men and women who work in the State of Washington’s 12 adult prisons,” Tracey told the arbitrator.
Our proposal also calls for several range adjustments to address recruitment and retention issues as well as a number of premium pay adjustments.
Tracey countered the State’s argument that our proposal is not financially feasible. She noted that the state’s economic position has significantly improved over the last two years. “The State does not and cannot deny that Washington’s economy is healthy by any measure,” she said.
In its closing, the State acknowledged the need to increase wages and claimed to value the hard work of its employees. At the same time, they defended their economic position of a three percent increase in both years of the contract. They argued that a larger pay raise would be excessive given the State’s financial obligations.
Now that the hearing has concluded, the arbitrator will consider the evidence presented by the Union and the State. We expect him to issue his award before the end of the month.
Thank you to the DOC members who testified at the hearing and to our Union bargaining committee who spent multiple days in negotiations prior to the hearing. Thanks also to our Union’s legal and research teams that worked tirelessly to prepare and present the case.
We will let you know as soon as we receive the arbitrator's decision. You can review an update from each day of our five-day interest arbitration hearing on our website here. To learn more about the interest arbitration process, click here.
Host of rank and file members provide first hand accounts of working for DOC
In the fourth day of our interest arbitration hearing, several veteran DOC staff provided firsthand testimony of the challenges they face working at the Department.
Charlotte Weimann, a 33-year DOC Corrections Officer at WCCW, spoke about BFOQ issues at the facility. Charlotte is one of the most senior staff at Purdy, and still is assigned mandatory overtime.
Director of Research Paul Marvy and expert witnesses presented evidence showing the dramatic wage gap at the Department of Corrections.
On the third day of our interest arbitration hearing, your Director of Research, Paul Marvy, along with financial experts retained by your Union, provided detailed and well-researched evidence of the dramatic disparity in pay between corrections employees in Washington State compared with other Western states.
Our research showed that, for example, a mid-career CO2 lags their comparables in other states by 26.7 percent. The wage deficiency is even higher when Washington state county data is included. We argued this data should be included because in-state employers compete for DOC employees. State Health Care Administrator Eric Hernandez readily admitted this point on cross-examination.
In the second day of our interest arbitration hearing, I provided lengthy testimony to explain the basis for several of our bargaining proposals to Arbitrator Howell Lankford.
I explained the safety rationale for shift differential to incentivize veteran staff to work on first and third shift. We are proposing a $1.50 premium for custody and $2.50 for nurses.
We presented our case that Washington State corrections workers lack adequate pay.
Yesterday was the first day of our interest arbitration hearing for DOC employees. The hearing was held in Tacoma and runs through the end of the week.
Neutral arbitrator Howell Lankford listened to arguments by both the State and us. His job will be to decide on the core economic items our bargaining team could not resolve with the State during contract negotiations.