Teamsters Local 117 has been busy in Olympia, preparing for the start of the 60-day legislative session, which kicks off on January 9, 2012. Local 117 Lobbyist, Teresita Torres, is meeting with legislators to discuss your Union’s legislative priorities, while Political Action Coordinator, Lily Wilson-Codega, is coordinating statewide PAC meetings to build grassroots political power.
Teresita will be on the ground every day during session, representing members of Teamsters Local 117, and Lily will be busy mobilizing members to provide testimony, lobbying, and advocacy support.
The following represents an update to your Union’s top legislative priorities for 2012:
1. Fight reductions, save jobs, protect staff and public safety at the DOC
Your Union is fighting in Olympia to minimize the cuts to the DOC, save jobs, and protect staff and public safety. During the special session in December, dozens of members and Union staff testified against the cuts. We also have joined forces with other Unions to fight the cuts. But your political action team cannot do it alone. We need you to contact your State representatives at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them that closing and/or repurposing facilities, releasing prisoners early, and cutting community supervision of offenders is bad public policy and will put our communities at risk.
2. Pass safety-related interest arbitration (EHB 2011) for correctional workers
Last session, Teamsters fought to pass EHB 2011, a bill that would allow a neutral arbitrator to address safety-related issues that are not resolved during collective bargaining. Your Union is continuing to fight to obtain safety-related interest arbitration rights for correctional employees. EHB 2011’s sponsors have reintroduced the bill and it has retained its status in the House Rules Committee. In the coming weeks, we will be calling on you to contact your legislators and testify in support of this important bill.
3. Pass legislation that would exempt correctional officers from wearing uniforms made by offenders
Your Union is hard at work lobbying support for legislation that would exempt correctional officers from wearing uniforms made by offenders. Local 117 Lobbyist, Teresita Torres, has met with a number of legislators to discuss the issue. The bill has been drafted and we are in the process of gathering co-sponsor signatures. If you have samples of poorly-manufactured uniforms, please talk to your Business Representative immediately.
4. Raise revenue to fund public safety
It is no longer enough to say no more cuts. With an additional $2 billion deficit to address, our Legislature must develop a revenue plan to fund public safety in the long term. Local 117 has joined a coalition of organizations dedicated to raising revenue, cutting corporate tax loopholes, and reforming the tax code to ease the burden on working families.
Your Union is developing a legislative SWAT team of members who will be available to testify at public hearings during session. If you are interested in joining this team, please contact Lily Wilson-Codega at 206-441-4860 ext. 1258.