Representative Mike Sells of the 38th Legislative District has sent a letter to Attorney General Bob Ferguson requesting a legal opinion regarding supplemental pension options for state employees that exist outside of the state's plans.
The letter is similar to one that the Teamsters 117 Legal Department sent to Ferguson after he was elected in 2012.
An opinion by the AG's office would determine whether or not we are permitted under current state law to negotiate the Teamsters pension as an option into the DOC contract that can be voted on by the membership.
In past bargaining, we have discussed the issue, but the State has maintained that current statute does not permit it.
An opinion from the AG's office would clarify the way forward: It would help determine if supplemental pension is a permissive subject of bargaining under current law. If it is not, we would need to work toward a change in the statute.
The Teamsters pension as a supplemental option would provide Local 117 members at the DOC with a greater degree of retirement security.
The Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust Fund is the largest area-wide multi-employer pension plan in the United States. It covers 200,000 active participants through pension agreements negotiated by local unions with more than 1,600 employers predominantly in 13 Western states. The Trust is in excellent condition and is well-funded. Thousands of retirees depend on the Teamsters pension for a stable income in their retirement years.
In January 2012, workers at the City of Kent voted to add the Teamsters pension. Workers in the City of Tacoma and the City of Pacific have followed suit.
Any supplemental pension proposal would have to be voted on and approved by the membership.