The State is getting desperate. In an effort to appear less unreasonable to the arbitrator, they have unilaterally increased their protected economic position after negotiations and mediation concluded.
In our final mediation session, the State presented their last economic proposal as a 3% general wage increase in year one of the contract, and a 1% offer in year two. Now, the State says it will tell the arbitrator that its final protected position is a 3% increase in year one and 3% in year two.
This is excellent news and it shows the power of interest arbitration. It is now highly unlikely that the arbitrator will award an increase of less than 6% over the term our of 2017-2019 collective bargaining agreement.
Whatever the arbitrator ultimately decides, we are in a stronger position today than we were when the State offered only 4% over the coming biennium.
It also shows that the State cynically tried to lowball our Union bargaining committee and bait the committee into accepting an offer that disrespects the important work that DOC workers perform to protect the safety of our communities.
Our committee called the State’s bluff. We stuck to our guns, unanimously rejected the State’s proposal, and sent the economic part of our contract to interest arbitration.
Now, the State is scrambling to back away from their arbitrary and insulting offer.
We will send out frequent updates during our interest arbitration hearing, which will take place during the week of August 29. If you have questions about the process, you can access our Interest Arbitration FAQ page on our Union’s website here.
Having access to interest arbitration now, and in our contract moving forward, is a tremendous victory for all of us. The State’s sudden, unilateral increase to its economic proposal demonstrates that our bargaining committee made the right strategic decisions and should be commended for their outstanding work in standing strong.
Thank you for your service. Please stay safe.
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement
I have some exciting news to share. Our Union bargaining committee has successfully achieved interest arbitration rights in our 2017-2019 collective bargaining agreement.
This is a major accomplishment that will allow us to take mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral, third-party arbitrator if we reach impasse with the State over issues like compensation.
We were able to achieve interest arbitration through consultation with our Union bargaining team while in the process of certifying issues to be settled by the arbitrator in our interest arbitration hearing scheduled for the week of August 29.
Our team overwhelmingly agreed that, with interest arbitration on the table, the only issue to be settled by the arbitrator should be compensation.
I want to thank our Union bargaining committee again for their outstanding work. Our team worked many long hours and their incredible dedication, care, and professionalism helped produce some excellent results.
Through their work, we were able to achieve the following improvements to our contract:
- Interest arbitration rights in the contract;
- Improved Vacation Accruals for all members;
- Just Cause protections for on-call employees after 4160 hours worked;
- Improved transfer language to include hardship transfers;
- Paid time off to ensure adequate rest upon return from an extended duty assignment.
You can view these and other language changes as well as a joint statement from our Union bargaining committee in the contract update documents below:
- Joint Bargaining Committee Statement/Contract Negotiations Update
- Language Changes – Redline Document
I want to encourage you to attend one of the contract update meetings that will take place over the next two weeks. These meetings will give you an opportunity to ask questions about bargaining, changes to your contract, and the interest arbitration process.
Thank you so much for all that you do. Stay safe.
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement
Your DOC bargaining committee held a three-day bargaining session with the State on July 19-21 and on August 2 with a mediator. In those sessions, we exchanged economic proposals and discussed several language issues in your contract.
We were able to reach tentative agreement on several articles, but we are still not close to a final agreement that we can recommend to the membership for ratification.
We were able to make progress on the important issue of sick leave, however.
For weeks, the State was proposing a punitive sick leave proposal. We were able to defeat that thanks to a powerful presentation by several bargaining team members from MCC. Members explained how to use exiting tools to address sick leave in a way that is not punitive to those using their leave appropriately.
The misuse of sick leave is harmful to our membership, and we understand the Department’s desire to address it. But the State already has the ability to address this problem. We are not interested in a system that punishes the masses to deal with a few. Thanks to the hard work of your bargaining committee, we were able to push back this terrible proposal.
There will be another session with the mediator on August 12. After that session, our bargaining team will be holding meetings around the state to update you on negotiations.
If necessary, we have an interest arbitration hearing tentatively scheduled for August 29-Sept. 2.
With DOC negotiations now shifting to economics, the State needs to recognize the incredible service that correctional employees provide to protect the public. Right now, that isn’t happening. By the State’s own admission, we lag far behind our counterparts in other states.
We started negotiations last Thursday by showing clear evidence of that. Spencer Thal, our Union’s General Counsel, and Paul Marvy, our Research Director presented data on recruitment and retention problems at DOC. They walked through details from the State’s own wage survey that shows just how far DOC wages trail those of correctional workers in similar states.
After the presentation, we passed our initial economic proposal. Our proposal is necessarily aggressive. It calls for significant general wage rate increases for all job classifications as well as a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for both years of the contract.Read more
Our DOC bargaining team after Tuesday's negotiations session in Olympia. Our team met with the State on June 20 and June 21.
At the end of our negotiations session with the State over our DOC contract in Olympia on June 21, members of our bargaining team were disappointed and frustrated.
The State had just presented a punitive sick leave proposal that would effectively penalize members for calling in sick. They left a major, controversial issue for the final hour of the last day of our two-day session.
“I’ve been with the Department for 32 years, and it’s shameful what they proposed,” said Sergeant Michael Delgado of the Washington Corrections Center for Women.
Sgt. Delgado was our group’s designated spokesperson to address the State on this issue. With more seniority and experience than anyone at the bargaining table, including management, Sgt. Delgado made sure to let the State know what we thought of their proposal.Read more
We were back at the bargaining table with the State on June 9 and 10 to negotiate over the terms and conditions our 2017-2019 DOC contract.
In the June 9 session, our Union bargaining team was frustrated by the State’s responses to some of our proposals.
In particular, we were disappointed at how the State is resisting our call for a Correctional Employees Bill of Rights. The idea behind the proposal is that DOC employees should be afforded certain fundamental rights.
As an example, we believe the Department should inform an employee in writing of the nature of investigations and whether the employee is a witness or subject of the investigation. Several other basic rights are included in the proposal.Read more
Members of the DOC Bargaining Committee together with Secretary-Treasurer Scearcy in Olympia on May 24
On May 23 and 24, our Union bargaining team met with the State in Olympia to bargain over our 2017-2019 contract for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections. These meetings were the second and third times we have negotiated with the State over the terms and conditions of our DOC contract for the coming biennium. We also met with the State on April 26.
So far we have discussed language issues in our DOC contract. We have made progress and reached tentative agreement on some issues. We have not yet discussed economic issues in bargaining.
I am serving as the lead negotiator for the Union. You are also represented in bargaining by all DOC Business Representatives as well as 20 rank-and-file members, who work at locations across the state, in a wide variety of custody and non-custody job classifications.Read more