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DOC Interest Arbitration Update: Day 3


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.

The State provided a much lower differential, but on cross-examination seemed confused about how it calculated its numbers.

Carla Pusateri, one of our financial experts, noted that the State’s numbers appeared to be deflated as a result of the miscalculation of certain compensation elements.

The Arbitrator agreed. When the State finally acknowledged the error, Arbitrator Howell Lankford admonished the State’s attorney: “I do notice that you are coming up with errors that favor you,” he said.

Once we established the disparity between the comparables, Mr. Marvy, presented our research calculating the unit-wide compensation increase needed to achieve parity with the comparables.

Mr. Marvy showed that, even according to the State’s own salary survey, our members are 20.9 percent behind their comparables. Our research indicates the gap is significantly higher.

In any case, it is clear that the State’s proposed 6 percent across-the-board wage increase over two years is inadequate. This would do virtually nothing to bridge the enormous compensation gap between members at the DOC and corrections employees in other Western states.

Today, our General Counsel, Spencer Thal, will call member witnesses to testify on pay disparity and other challenges relevant to specific job classifications.

We will keep you updated as we continue presenting our case to the arbitrator.

To watch a short video of my summary of today’s hearing, click here. If you have questions about the interest arbitration process, you can access our FAQ page on our website here.

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