When we fight, we win!

DOC Bargaining Update - May 16, 2014

Your Union bargaining committee had its second and third sessions with the State on May 13 and 14 in Olympia to negotiate over your 2015-2017 collective bargaining agreement. Additional bargaining is scheduled for June 4 and 5, June 25 and 26, and July 8 and 9.

In the first bargaining session, which took place on April 23 in Tukwila, your Union presented its complete non-economic proposal to the State. This involved opening several Articles of your contract based on your input from surveys and at our demands meetings.

In the May 13 session, the State presented its initial non-economic proposal and responded to our proposal.  We were able to make some good progress with respect to non-economic issues, and by the close of bargaining on May 14, we had tentatively agreed to several key Articles of the contract. 

Your Union bargaining team is led by Secretary-Treasurer Tracey Thompson, General Counsel Spencer Thal, Associate General Counsel Daniel Swedlow, and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement Michelle Woodrow.  Your team consists of all DOC Business Representatives as well as the following rank-and-file members:

Sandra Conner  (AHCC , ARNP)
Amber Bates (CBCC , CC2)
Joschue Reyes (CBCC, CO2)
Jessica Anderson (CCCC , AA3)
Levi Dean (CRCC, CO2)
Corey McCloud (CRCC, MM4)
Doug Beatty (MCC , CO2)
Shane Zey (MCC , CO2)
James Palmer (MCC, CO3)
Pam Olekas (OCC , Corr. Records Supervisor)
Ronnie Matsen (SCCC, CO3) 
Sally Thiessen (SCCC, CIS2)
Eric Smith (WCC, CO3)
TalisaBoad (WCCW, CO2)
Paul Moore (WSP, RN2)
Eric Burt (WSP, CC2)
Justin Riley (WSP, CO2)

“Our side is all business,” said TalisaBoad, a Shop Steward from WCCW.  “We came in well prepared and we are super motivated to get this done. We’re getting some resistance from the State, and that’s frustrating because our timeline is short.”


These negotiations are unique in that we have a powerful new tool at our disposal – interest arbitration.  We gained our interest arbitration rights for the term of our current contract when Governor Inslee agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in March of 2013.  It is important to understand that our interest arbitration rights are not currently defined by statute; rather, they are temporary and confined to the term of the current labor contract as outlined in the MOU.

In the coming legislative session, we will need to work collectively to extend our interest arbitration rights and ultimately incorporate them into state law. Other public safety professionals such as firefighters, the State Patrol, and many county correctional employees have statutory interest arbitration rights.  We deserve the same respect and fairness under the law.


Interest arbitration provides a clear means for resolving impasse in collective bargaining.  If, over the course of these negotiations, we are unable to reach agreement with the State over mandatory subjects of bargaining – wages, hours, or working conditions – we have the ability to present our case to a neutral, third-party arbitrator.

We have selected Howell Lankford as our Interest Arbitrator, and we have scheduled hearing dates for the last two weeks of August if we cannot reach a comprehensive agreement in negotiations. As always, you will have the opportunity to vote on any tentative settlement that is reached in bargaining.

While your Union’s legal team is carefully preparing for the interest arbitration hearing, it is by no means a foregone conclusion that we will wind up before the arbitrator.  It is our intention to present reasonable proposals based on your feedback and on comparables with your counterparts who perform similar work across our region.  It is our hope that the State bargains in good faith and ultimately recognizes you for the uniquely challenging and dangerous work you perform in our State’s prisons.

Thank you for your incredible service to our communities.  If you have any questions, please talk to your Shop Steward or your Business Representative.  Be sure to check your Union’s website at www.teamsters117.org for updates. 

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