Over the next two weeks, we will be posting for new Shop Stewards on union bulletin boards at all Department of Corrections facilities across the state.
The Shop Steward position involves engaging your co-workers in the union, advocating for them in the workplace, enforcing the contract, maintaining direct communication with the Union Rep, participating in grievance meetings, among many other duties.
The next two-year term for newly-elected Shop Stewards begins on January 1, 2018 and ends on December 31, 2019.
If you are interested in the position, please watch your union bulletin board over the next two weeks, and sign up. If you have questions, talk to your union representative.
In this issue you'll find:
A CRCC member who writes about joining the union
Michelle's column on our Political Advisory Committee
Highlights from our 2017-2019 contract
Bios of two new Union Reps for DOC members
You can read the Guardian online here. Member leaders and union reps will be distributing print copies out in the facilities over the next two weeks.
Welcome our new Union Representative for members at the Department of Corrections, Frederick Rodgers.
Fred grew up in Miami Florida and graduated from Southeast Oklahoma State University in 1990 with majors in Sociology and Physical Education. After college he joined the Dallas Police Department where he reached the rank of Senior Corporal and taught defensive tactics. At that time he was part of the Texas Police Officers Association. After 10 years with the Dallas Police Department he pursued a different career and moved to Washington State to become a security director of Go2Net. After leaving Go2Net he managed his own security consulting company Rodgers Ventures LLC.
Fred started working with DOC in 2003 at the Monroe Correctional Complex. He started as a custody officer and worked his way up to a Sergeant with experience working at all the facilities at MCC. In December 2011, he became a classification counselor and upgraded to a supervisory role including a year and a half as Correctional Unit Supervisor at the Washington State Reformatory Unit A/B units.
Fred is assigned to Monroe Correctional Complex. He is looking forward to working with his old colleagues in a new role.
In his spare time, Fred lift weights and plays racquetball. He also follows the success of his 15-year-old son who plays football at Kentwood High School.
Welcome to the family, Fred, we wish you success!
Mark Hackett, Kimberly Braun, Tanesha Van Leuven, and Roger Gale at the Emergency Food Network's Breaking Hunger event.
Teamster members took aim to fight hunger last week at the 5th annual Trap Shooting and Archery Tournament sponsored by Tacoma's Emergency Food Network.
The contest, held at the Gig Harbor Sportsmen’s Club on August 11, raised thousands of dollars to help feed hungry families throughout our region.
"We were doing what we like to do, having fun, and doing it for a really good cause."
"There are a lot of ways to raise money but we were doing what we like to do, having fun, and doing it for a really good cause," said Tanesha Van Leuven, a member who participated in the event.
Van Leuven, who is an officer of ten years at the University of Washington Police Department, talked about the importance of our union giving back to the community.
"It's important to partner with various organizations in the community. Anything we give, donate, or sponsor can help people who need help right now."
Our Local Union’s Executive Board sponsored the team at the $600 level. All proceeds from the event went to benefit the Emergency Food Network.
Thank you to the members from the Teamsters Law Enforcement & Corrections Division and their friends who participated in the tournament.
- Tanesha Van Leuven, University of Washington Police Dept.
- Mark Hackett, University of Washington Police Dept.
- Roger Gale, City of Pacific Police Dept.
- Kimberly Braun, Friend
The Pierce County emergency food system includes 67 food banks providing over 15 million meals annually to over a hundred thousand families in need. Teamsters Local 117 is a generous supporter of EFN and has participated in a number of volunteer events to benefit the organization.
DOC members who work a the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla gather at Pioneer Park for one of our union BBQs.
Barbecues are blazing across the state as Teamsters at the Department of Corrections gather for summer cookouts at or near every prison facility in Washington.
“This brings people together,” said Noelle Guenette, a member leader who is an officer at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor.
"This is a great way to check in with everybody and reconnect."
Guenette showed up on the last day of her vacation to lend a hand at the event, as over 130 members passed through the facility’s visitation area for hot dogs, hamburgers, and some old-fashioned union solidarity.
“As a perimeter officer, I don’t get to see my fellow Teamster co-workers very often,” she said. “This is a great way for me to check in with everybody and reconnect.”
The BBQs are also an occasion to celebrate the recent signing of our 2017-2019 collective bargaining agreement by the governor and our union’s Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy.
David Niles, a correctional specialist at CRCC, is grateful to be re-joining the union.
Correctional Specialist, David Niles, of the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center (CRCC) in Connell is grateful to join the ranks of Teamsters 117 once again.
In his previous position at the facility, he was a member of our union, but he promoted out of the bargaining unit. Now, his correctional specialist group, along with 10 other DOC groups have voted to join forces with Teamsters Local 117, with two more waiting for PERC certification.
That makes 11 new groups at the DOC over the last two years!
Niles writes of his experience below:
Here is the list of all of the new Department of Corrections bargaining units that have joined our union since 2015:
- Registered Nurse 3
- Administrative Assistant 3
- Marine Department
- Recreation & Athletics Specialist 4
- Correction Specialist 2 (Supervisory)
- Correction Specialist 2 (Non-Supervisory)
- Occupational Nurse Consultants
- Administrative Assistant 3 (CBCC)
- Correction Specialist 1
- Correction Specialist 3
These groups contain hundreds of new members who are standing together in their union to improve their wages and working conditions and to gain the benefits and protections of a Teamsters contract.
Let's be sure to welcome them to Teamsters Local 117!
Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy signs our DOC 2017-2019 collective bargaining agreement.
Yesterday, in a ceremony in Olympia, the Governor and our union's Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy, signed our 2017-2019 DOC collective bargaining agreement.
Our new contract is now available for you on our union's website here.
In the agreement, our bargaining committee achieved general wage increases of at least 10.5% over the coming biennium for all DOC Teamsters and we achieved interest arbitration rights.
I encourage you to familiarize yourself with your contract. It provides important information about your rights, protections, guaranteed wages, and working conditions as a Teamster at the DOC.
Thank you to our outstanding bargaining committee who worked long hours to make this important achievement possible. And congratulations to all of our members who stood together and spoke out for safety, family wages, and better working conditions.
This victory is yours.
The new issue of the Guardian, our newsletter for Teamsters who work at the Department of Corrections, is now available. In this issue, you'll find articles on:
- successfully getting our 2017-2019 contract funded;
- more correctional employees joining Teamsters;
- our new associate general counsel, Marie Duarte;
- plans to fortify our union at the DOC;
- and more!
You can access an electronic copy of the Guardian online here. For print copies, talk your your union representative.
In last year’s interest arbitration hearing, one of our priorities for Teamsters working in BFOQ positions at WCCW and MCCCW was to address the issue of excessive mandatory overtime.
Charlotte Weimann, a 33-year officer at WCCW, helped make our case to the arbitrator.
After listening to our concerns, Arbitrator Lankford awarded officers: a two (2) range premium for all hours worked in a BFOQ position if and only if the facility in question assigned more than 30% more mandatory overtime hours to female Corrections and Custody Officers than to male Corrections and Custody Officers during the preceding calendar quarter.
For calendar quarter April through June 2017, the more than 30% threshold was met. This means that female CO’s will receive a two (2) range premium for all hours worked in a BFOQ position for the current calendar quarter.
Due to DOC payroll issues, affected officers at WCCW and MCCCW likely won’t see their additional compensation until their August 10 paycheck. But your premium pay is on the way.
This is another example of the power of interest arbitration and the impact it continues to have on members of our union. We can thank everyone who worked so hard to achieve interest arbitration for DOC Teamsters over the last several years and our outstanding union bargaining committee that successfully negotiated these rights into our 2017-2019 contract.
Brothers and Sisters -
By standing together in our union, we’ve accomplished some major successes at the DOC.
We achieved a 20.3% general wage increase over four years and negotiated interest arbitration rights into our 2017-2019 contract.
Success did not come overnight. It took members speaking out in Olympia, testifying at hearings, and assembling a first-rate negotiating team. It also took careful, strategic planning to work toward long-term goals.
Over the last few months, we’ve been working to develop a strategic plan for 2017-2019. Thousands of DOC members participated in the process through our member surveys and planning meetings. Together, we’ve identified new strategic priorities that will guide us into the future.
One such priority is to fortify our union against attacks on workers. To achieve that goal, we will launch an initiative called Family. Strength. Community. This program involves members talking with members about how we can build a stronger union in the workplace. We’ll also be talking about the threats facing our union and how we can prepare for them.
Next year the Supreme Court will rule on a case called Janus vs AFSCME. With the current makeup of the Supreme Court, we expect a ruling against AFSCME and against all public sector union members. This decision will result in government workers throughout the country losing their freedom to negotiate union security into their contracts. It will also take away the freedom to have all workers pay their fair share for contract negotiations and enforcement.
If this happens, our union members could lose resources and suffer an erosion of their hard won wages and contract provisions. That is, unless we remain determined to support each other.
The best way to protect ourselves against an anti-union ruling is to stand together and re-commit to our co-workers and our union. That’s how we achieved interest arbitration, improved assault benefits, raised wages, and won a stronger contract at the DOC. Many unions thrive, grow, and continue to improve in open shop environments, but the members must engage and organize to be strong. If every member and leader is involved and committed, we will continue to improve our jobs and our lives.
To learn more about our Family. Strength. Community. initiative please visit FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement