When we fight, we win!

Corrections & Law Enforcement


Thank you Teamster nurses!

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Our Teamster nurses, at the Department of Corrections and the Washington State Nurses Association, perform incredibly challenging work, and it's time to thank them.

This week is National Nurses Week as designated by the American Nurses Association.

Teamster nurses, along with 3 million registered nurses across the country, provide critical health care services to the public. They care for their patients in stressful environments, often working long hours to provide essential, compassionate and ethical services.

Let’s take a moment to pay tribute to our nurses for their dedication, patience, and professionalism.

Please thank a nurse today!


Where things stand on the budget in Olympia

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We had some good news during the regular legislative session when both the House and Senate included funding for our DOC contract in their budget proposals. The Governor had released his budget earlier, which also proposed funding our contract.

This was a critical first step. A state budget that funds our contract will result in at least a 10.5% general wage increase for all Teamsters who work at the DOC over the coming biennium.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough for the sides to make their respective proposals. They also need to sit down and hammer out a final budget. And right now that’s not happening.

Senate negotiators are refusing to come to the bargaining table. By doing so, they’re playing a dangerous game that could have disastrous consequences. If a budget deal isn’t reached by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, we could see a government shutdown, leading to layoffs and an indefinite suspension of wage increases for DOC employees.

So far, the Senate has also refused to fund an external audit of staffing levels at the DOC. The DOC operates under a dangerously outdated staffing model, and an audit would begin to address that problem.  Both the House and Governor support funding the audit.

What's more, the Senate is refusing to fund the contracts of our members at the UW Police Department who put their lives on the line to protect our community and our members who work at the Department of Enterprise Services. 

We need to send a resounding message to legislators in the Senate: Start negotiating over the budget now, fund an external staffing level audit at the DOC, and fund our UWPD and DES contracts.

Take five minutes to call your Senator at 800.562.6000. Thank you!


We're Hiring! Open position for DOC Union Rep

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We are currently recruiting for a Union Representative position for the Department of Corrections. 

The successful applicant for this position will be assigned to the Monroe Correctional Complex.

Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, visiting worksites, building relationships with members, internal organizing, grievance handling and investigation, assistance in contract negotiations, Labor-Management meetings, steward training and supervision, conducting regional meetings in their assigned areas, and working as part of a team with other Local 117 Union Representatives.

If this interests you, please review the full job description that includes instructions on how to submit your cover letter and resume. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2017.

Thank you!

Michelle Woodrow
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement


To our Members Working in Public Safety: Thank you for your service

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Brothers and Sisters:

Every year at this time, we honor the men and women who work in critical public safety roles through a series of events and activities across the country. 

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is held in April followed by Correctional Employees Week in the first week of May and National Police Week later this month.

With so many of our members working in these professions, I want to take this opportunity to thank you and your co-workers for the tremendous work you do to serve and protect the public. 

Our Telecommunicators are the first point of contact when the public seeks relief in the event of an emergency. They work behind the scenes to protect our police officers and firefighters by providing them with vital information. 

Our Correctional Employees risk their lives to oversee, nurse, train, counsel and protect convicted felons. They perform their jobs valiantly, armed only with OC, their tactical verbal skills, and their wits.

Like Correctional Employees, our Police Officers put their lives on the line to serve and protect our communities. The dangers they face and the heroic acts they perform often go unrecognized by the community.

I want to let all of you who work in these professions know how much we value your contributions. Your commitment to public service and the risks you take every day to serve and protect our communities are a testament to your character and your sacrifice. 

Thank you again for the amazing work you do on behalf of the public. Please stay safe.

Respectfully, 

Michelle Woodrow
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement


House funds our DOC legislative agenda

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Today, the House Democrats released their 2017-2019 Operating Budget proposal, and there's some great news: It fully funds our collective bargaining agreement for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections. Last week, the Senate Republicans passed their budget which also funds our DOC contract. 

Unlike the Senate, though, the House budget also funds $500,000 for our requested budget proviso to conduct an independent, comprehensive staffing level audit to review staffing levels in each DOC institution by classification. We lobbied on this issue this year, and made it a key part of our legislative agenda. 

The House and Senate budgets diverge in other ways as well. The Senate failed to fund most other state employee contracts; thankfully, the House remedied that by investing in all state employees including our members at the University of Washington Police Department. 

With budget negotiations about to get underway, we need to send a message to our legislators about our priorities for the budget.

YOUR ACTION NEEDED: Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 with this message:

  1. Thank your legislators for recognizing the important work of our state's corrections professionals. 
  2. Encourage your Senator to support funding for the DOC staffing level audit.
  3. Ask your Senator to invest in our UW Police Officers by funding their contract. 

Thank you for taking action on these issues. 


Local 117 President Michelle Woodrow's testimony on the Senate budget

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Michelle Woodrow, President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement of Teamsters Local 117. 


Late Tuesday night, Michelle Woodrow, our President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement, testified before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on how the Senate's recent operating budget proposal would impact members of Teamsters Local 117.

You can read Michelle's testimony in its entirety below. You can also watch her testimony on TVW here

Good evening Chair Braun and committee members. My name is Michelle Woodrow and I am the President at Teamsters Local 117.

On behalf of the Teamsters at Dept. of Corrections, we’d like to thank you for funding the portion of our master labor agreement that covers Dept. of Corrections. Our members keep our communities safe and it is imperative that we continue to invest in them. With that, please consider adding a proviso that would fund an external staffing model audit. Again, thank you for funding their contract but there is more work to be done.

Unfortunately, the budget ignores other vital services performed by WA State employees and fails to fund all of the collective bargaining agreements.

Our officers at the University of WA Police Department also play a vital role in public safety, yet you’ve failed to recognize that. Rejecting their contract and offering them five hundred dollars per year over the biennium is irresponsible.

Additionally, you’ve created a provision that ceases state funding of the LEOFF 2 retirement system, negatively impacting first responders and the communities they serve by shifting the burden of funding the pension system to local governments. These men and women put their lives on the line every day and we should ensure they have a funded retirement system.

Again, I want to thank you for funding the Dept. of Corrections portion of our master labor agreement, but at the same time point out that your other budget provisions cause damage to state workers, first responders, families, and vital services our state provides.

I respectfully request that you reconsider the position you’ve taken and fund ALL collective bargaining agreements. Thank you.


Senate Budget: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Today, the Republican State Senate released its 2017-2019 biennial state budget proposal, and there was good, bad and ugly news.

The Good:

  • The proposal fully funds our 2017-2019 Teamsters-DOC collective bargaining agreement for corrections workers, including our 10.5% across-the-board wage increases over the course of the next two years. This is a testament to your participation in the process, including our record participation in Lobby Day.

The Bad:

  • The Senate DID NOT propose funding for our DOC staffing model audit. DOC has not updated its staffing model in nearly thirty years, and the failure to address this issue continues to put our members in danger.
  • Our brothers and sisters who work in other public safety and law enforcement units like the University of Washington Police Department and Community Corrections are left out of this budget: their negotiated wage increases are substituted by $500 per year for each year of the biennium.

The Ugly:

  • Other than Washington State Patrol, no other state employee agreements are funded, meaning the people who provide the other vital public services we all enjoy are not recognized in this budget.
  • The Senate Republicans also propose to eliminate state contributions to the LEOFF-2 retirement system and instead shift the responsibility of the contributions to local government, negatively impacting the communities we serve. 

We anticipate the State House Democrats to release their budget next week, at which point the Senate, the House and the Governor will convene to reconcile their respective proposals.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely as negotiations over the budget continue. Please stay tuned for updates as well as ways you can participate in ensuring all collective bargaining agreements are funded.


Guardian Newsletter - Teamster Power

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The new issue of our Guardian newsletter is now available. The Guardian focuses on news and information for our members who work at the Department of Corrections.

In February, we had our biggest, most successful Lobby Day ever, with 230 members and their families converging on the State Capitol in Olympia. Check out photos from the event in the Guardian here.

The newsletter also contains news of recent organizing at the Department of Corrections, with several unrepresented groups electing to join Teamsters. 

You can access the Guardian newsletter online. For print copies, talk to your Shop Steward or Business Rep.


Senate budget expected to be released this week

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Now that we’ve reached the midpoint of legislative session, it's a good time for an update on policy issues that impact working families.

Several of our Union’s priorities, including many bills that we’ve been supporting, are still moving through the legislative process.

These include bills that would secure paid family leave (HB 1116), prescription drug transparency (HB 1541), and important accommodations for pregnant workers. In addition, our budget proviso that would fund an external staffing audit at the Department of Corrections is still in play.

These bills and provisions are important to protecting and expanding rights for working families and ensuring the safety and security of our members.

This session, we have also successfully staved off a massive attack on our state’s workers’ comp system and helped defeat a number of bills designed to erode protections for workers and weaken unions.  

Hundreds of union members turned out to testify against a so-called “right-to-work” bill aimed at crippling unions. We also beat back a bill that would have required annual union recertification and proposals that would weaken the state’s collective bargaining laws (SB 5726 and SB 5727).

Unfortunately, our bill to modify the Public Records Act to protect the personal information of members working in law enforcement and at the Department of Corrections did not move out of its policy committee. However, thanks to the fantastic turnout at our DOC Lobby Day event, we have secured commitments from a powerful group of legislators to work on the bill next legislative session.


Seventy-one correctional specialists just became Teamsters

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Chad Young is one of our new members at the state's Department of Corrections.


Another group at the state's Department of Corrections has joined Teamsters 117. 

Seventy-one Correctional Specialist 2s were certified as Teamsters on Tuesday, March 7 by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC).

That makes five DOC groups that have joined our Union or are awaiting PERC certification since December.

"We now have the backing of a whole organization rather than just being a lone voice."

"Gaining representation brings a lot of value," said Chad Young, a CS2 who helped with the organizing drive. "Now we have the backing of a whole organization rather than just being a lone voice."

Chad and his co-workers were motivated by a growing pay disparity between his CS2 group and members of the Teamsters bargaining unit. Represented DOC staff performing similar work were receiving $300 more a month.

The only difference was that he was responsible for training staff while they were training offenders."I felt like the state was putting less money toward training staff than training offenders," he said.

At first some of his co-workers were hesitant about joining the Union, but when he showed them the pay gap, they got on board. 

Now that the group is certified, they will have a chance to voice their priorities for bargaining, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks.

"I want to welcome these new members to our Union," said John Scearcy, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer. "We look forward to ensuring that their rights are protected and that they receive the outstanding representation they deserve."