By Michelle Woodrow,
Teamsters Local 117 President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement
This week Governor Jay Inslee released his 2017-2019 state budget. I am pleased that he prioritized funding our DOC contract in his budget, which is our top legislative priority. The victory is the first step to achieving this goal, but it by no means guarantees our contract will be funded.
Our Corrections members are paid dramatically less than comparable law enforcement professionals. A neutral arbitrator made this fact clear when he awarded us a 10.5 percent across-the-board wage increase for our upcoming contract.
The Governor’s budget showed legislators that providing much needed pay increases for the hardworking men and women at the Department of Corrections can be done, while still providing adequate funding for public education and other basic services.
Inslee also met our demand for a comprehensive Department of Corrections staffing audit. This is a necessary step to updating the DOC staffing model for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Now our attention turns to the State Legislature. They have the opportunity to follow Inslee’s leadership and fully fund our contract in their budget. They will be making hundreds of tough decisions this year – we will hold them accountable to do the right thing.
Your voice is instrumental to ensuring our contract is funded. Our DOC Lobby Day and Legislative Reception is February 13-14 in Olympia. We will be meeting face-to-face with our lawmakers and asking them to support issues that matter to you all.