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:
- Thank your legislators for recognizing the important work of our state's corrections professionals.
- Encourage your Senator to support funding for the DOC staffing level audit.
- Ask your Senator to invest in our UW Police Officers by funding their contract.
Thank you for taking action on these issues.
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.
Today, the Republican State Senate released its 2017-2019 biennial state budget proposal, and there was good, bad and ugly news.
- 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 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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."
We are welcoming seventy DOC Shop Stewards today for our annual meeting here at the Union hall.
The meeting with our DOC members precedes our Shop Steward Seminar at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle tomorrow.
Members are rolling into town now. Our meeting will kick off at 12:30 P.M. after registration and lunch.
Today's agenda involves a presentation by Karen Estevenin, our Membership and Staff Development Coordinator, on how to exercise power in the workplace. We'll also be discussing how we can use Labor Management Communication Committees to engage members toward collective action.
Finally, our new Associate General Counsel, Marie Duarte, will lead the group on the Steward's Role in investigatory interviews.
Dinner will be at 6 P.M. when we will be presenting the award for the annual DOC Shop Steward of the Year. Stay tuned!
Over the next month, we will be holding our quarterly membership meetings at DOC facilities across the state.
At the meeting, we will be discussing our strategy for ensuring that our contract gets funded by the state legislature. All DOC members are encouraged to attend!
You can view days, times, and facilities below. Click on the link to your facility for the location of your meeting and to RSVP.
|Monday||3/6/2017||1130-1230, 1300-1400, 1410-1430||MCCCW|
|Wednesday||3/8/2017||1130-1230, 1300-1400, 1410-1430
|Monday||3/20/2017||1130-1230, 1300-1400, 1410-1430
|Thursday||3/30/2017||1130-1230, 1300-1400, 1410-1430
Connie Kanehailua in front of the State Capitol in Olympia at our DOC Lobby Day in 2015.
Check out this post. It was written by Farrah Edward, the daughter of one of our amazing members at the Airway Heights Corrections Center near Spokane. Farrah's mother, Dorcas (aka Connie) Kanehailua, embodies the kind of outstanding service that so many of our DOC members provide. Connie served our country in the Air Force and then the residents of our state in many roles at the DOC. On March 4, she received her 30-year service pin. Congrats, Connie, and thank you for your service.
Let's welcome another group of new members from the state's Department of Corrections to our Union.
Seven Recreational Specialists 4s who work in supervisory roles at the DOC became Teamsters when the Public Employment Relations Commission certified their bargaining unit on February 17.
The Rec Specialists join 18 DOC ferry workers who became Teamsters in December.
A group of Correctional Specialists 2s, Occupational Nurse Consultants, and Fiscal Analysts have also recently indicated that they want Teamsters representation and are awaiting PERC certification.
"More and more employees at the State's Department of Corrections are seeking a voice at work and the strong representation that Teamsters provides," said John Scearcy, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer. "Our DOC contract is a model for workers at other state agencies. We are excited to welcome this new group to our Union."