Over 65 DOC Shop Stewards met on Friday, March 15 in Seattle to plan, prioritize, and train for the coming year.
Members received a political update, a legal report, and an overview on the Union’s work to achieve interest arbitration rights for Teamster correctional employees.
PTSD RATES IN CORRECTIONS
Caterina Spinaris, PhD, led the group in a discussion about the high prevalence of PTSD among corrections’ professionals and how best to address the extremely stressful nature of the job.
According to Dr. Spinaris, a recent study found that the average PTSD rate for correctional workers is an astounding 27%. This compares to a rate of just 3.5% for the general population.
This data comes as no surprise to anyone who has worked behind prison walls.
Correctional workers are keenly aware of the tremendous toll that the job takes on the body, mind, and spirit. The question Dr. Spinaris poses is this: How can we, who work on the front lines, best support our brothers and sisters, especially those who are clearly in need of help?
For some possible answers to this question and a link to the study, Posttraumtic Stress Disorder in United States Corrections Professionals - Prevalence and Impact on Health and Functioning, visit Dr. Spinaris’ website at www.desertwaters.com.
SHOP STEWARDS OF THE YEAR
Also at the March 15 meeting, two Local 117 members, Eric Smith of WCC and Greg Bellamy of CBCC, were honored as DOC Shop Stewards of the Year. Both Smith and Bellamy have gone above and beyond the call of duty, not only in terms of their outstanding representational work, but in their tireless efforts to lobby for change in Olympia.
A WORD WITH THE GOVERNOR
On a recent Local 117 Lobby Day, Smith even managed to catch the Governor’s ear in the legislative building lunchroom where he emphasized the need for interest arbitration. “The strongest tool we have in our fight for fairness is interest arbitration,” Smith said. “This is the change we need.”
Bellamy not only attends every Union lobbying event, he has also made the long trek from Clallam Bay to walk the picket line with fellow Local 117 members on strike and to attend general membership meetings.
Congratulations to both Eric and Greg and thank you to all DOC Shop Stewards for your tireless work and outstanding service to your Union!
View photos from the DOC seminar here.