If turnout at this week’s Political Action Committee (PAC) meetings in eastern Washington is any indication, our political program is alive and well. Over 60 Local 117 members, who work at DOC facilities in Walla Walla, Connell, and Spokane, turned out to help build the program and to find out how to get involved.
At the meetings, Political Action Coordinator Dustin Lambro kicked things off with an overview of the 2014 election cycle, and he encouraged members to sign up for a range of activities, including candidate interview committees, voter registration, DRIVE sign ups, and participation in this fall’s voter contact work, which involves making calls and knocking on doors of fellow Union members to support candidates who stand up for working families.
Our Legislative Coordinator, Teresita Torres, then spoke about the successes and challenges of the 2014 legislative session. For members at the DOC in particular, we were able to:
- Secure funding to open the 256-bed Williams unit at WSP to alleviate prison overcrowding;
- Work with House Labor Committee Chair Mike Sells to request an opinion on supplemental pension access from our State’s Attorney General’s office;
- Confirm that State Auditor Troy Kelley is moving forward with a full-scale performance audit of the DOC.
The meetings wrapped up with a lively discussion about how to engage more members in the program. Members identified several obstacles that keep people from getting active in the Union, including family commitments, low morale, low wages, and apathy.
“Apathy is a real problem. But people have got to participate if they want things to change. The times I’ve gone to Olympia I actually felt like I was making a difference,” said Paul Moore, a nurse at WSP in Walla Walla.
More members needed! If you would like to get involved in our political program, contact Political Action Coordinator Dustin Lambro at 206-441-4860 ext. 1262 or 1-888-872-3489 ext. 1262.
We have upcoming meetings in Vancouver, Aberdeen, Tukwila and Tacoma. To find one near you, see our calendar of events.