Over the last six years, Washington State correctional employees have made tremendous sacrifices to help the State climb out of the Great Recession.

They have seen three prisons close and massive cuts to the corrections budget to the tune of $220 million. They have seen their health care costs rise while the cost of living has continued to increase.

For six years, correctional employees have forgone wage increases, even after the economy rebounded and the State’s coffers began to refill. These sacrifices have put a strain on Teamster families and have impacted their well-being and their way of life.

The time for sacrifices is over.

The State needs to recognize the uniquely dangerous and challenging work that correctional employees perform and pay them accordingly. The State’s own salary survey suggests that most correctional employees are compensated at rates of more than 20% less as compared with their counterparts who work outside of the prisons.

The State can’t continue to make empty excuses and hide from its own hypocrisy.

In contract negotiations, your Union’s bargaining committee is demanding fair wages and respect. But the State does not seem to be getting it.

The Department’s initial economic proposal, presented on June 25, does not begin to recognize the sacrifices correctional employees have endured, the stress and inherent dangers of the job, and the huge wage disparity that exists as compared with those who perform similar work outside of the State prison system.

The bargaining process is not exhausted, so there is still a chance that the State could revise its economic proposal. But if they don’t, all Teamsters at the DOC need to be prepared for a fight.

Moving forward, we anticipate the following schedule:

July 8 and 9 – Contract Negotiations: The focus of these bargaining sessions will continue to be on economics.

Late July/Early August - Contract Update Meetings: We will be holding contract update meetings at all facilities to discuss the State’s final proposal.

Early Aug. – Contract Vote: You will have the opportunity to vote on a contract proposal at the beginning of August. As we get closer to the contract vote, we will send out a mailing with detailed voting instructions.

Late Aug. – Interest Arbitration Hearing (if necessary): If the State’s final proposal is unacceptable to the membership, there will be an interest arbitration hearing in the last two weeks of August. Whatever award the arbitrator issues will need to be funded by the State Legislature.

Your Union bargaining team is led by Secretary-Treasurer Tracey Thompson, General Counsel Spencer Thal, Associate General Counsel Daniel Swedlow, and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement Michelle Woodrow, all DOC Business Representatives and the following rank-and-file members:

Sandra Conner (AHCC, ARNP)
Amber Bates (CBCC, CC2)
Joschue Reyes (CBCC, CO2)
Jessica Anderson (CCCC, AA3)
Levi Dean (CRCC, CO2)
Corey McCloud (CRCC, MM4)
Doug Beatty (MCC, CO2)
Shane Zey (MCC, CO2)
James Palmer (MCC, CO3)
Pam Olekas (OCC, Corr. Records Supervisor)
Ronnie Matsen (SCCC, CO3)
Sally Thiessen (SCCC, CIS2)
Eric Smith (WCC, CO3)
Talisa Boad (WCCW, CO2)
Paul Moore (WSP, RN2)
Eric Burt (WSP, CC2)
Justin Riley (WSP, CO2)