Meghan Fewins (c), Brea Jermsted (r) together with Union Rep Taylor House (l) at National Police Week in Washington D.C.
Over the last several years, our Union's Executive Board has sent rank-and-file members to National Police Week in Washington D.C. For the event, thousands of law enforcement professionals gather to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
In previous years, members from the ranks at the Port of Seattle, the City of Pacific, and the University of Washington have attended.
This year, Police Dispatcher Meghan Fewins and Communications Officer Brea Jermsted, both of South Sound 911, made the trip. Fewins and Jermsted were involved in dispatching emergency calls when Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney was killed in the line of duty last year.
Fewins and Jermsted took some time after their trip to share their reflections, experience, and gratitude. In a text message sent to her Union Rep, Taylor House, Jermsted wrote:
Fewins chronicled her experiences via email:
Fewins: "We watched Dan’s wife and kids place a flower in the wreath."
Congress is considering new legislation that will give Public Safety Telecommunicators the recognition they deserve.
The 911 Saves Act (HB 1629) will reclassify workers in the profession from "Office and Administrative Support Occupations" to "Protective Service Occupations". This will ensure that these workers will receive the benefits, funding, and respect that a first-responder classification entitles.
Our Teamsters Union is working hard to give the bill the greatest chance of success.
Our Local 117 Political Department staff will be meeting with our state's congressional delegation in Washington D.C. in June to ask them to sign on as sponsors to the bill.
Our International Union's General President, James Hoffa, has sent a powerful letter to all members of the House of Representatives urging them to support the legislation.
When the time is right, we will be calling on you to reach out to members of Congress to ask them to support the 911 Saves Act.
Public Safety Telecommunicators play a vital role in coordinating life-saving emergency care. Without these highly-skilled workers, firefighters, law enforcement, and EMTs would not be able to do their jobs.
We thank our members working in this profession for the tremendous emergency services they provide our community. Please recognize their vital work by supporting the 911 Saves Act.
The summer issue of our DOC Guardian newsletter is hot off the press!
In this issue, you'll find a recap of the 2019 legislative session in Olympia, which featured a number of critical wins for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections.
The highlights include passage of a DOC interest arbitration bill, the full funding of our DOC contract, and the restoration of our right to carry a concealed weapon off duty without having to purchase a permit.
You can access a PDF of the newsletter here; print copies will be distributed by member leaders at your facilities in the coming weeks.
Get ready to grab a hot dog with your Teamster Brothers & Sisters! Our DOC summer BBQs get underway starting this June at facilities across the state.
We'll be celebrating a banner legislative session in Olympia where we were able to win statutory interest arbitration rights for DOC among several other victories.
View the days, times, and facilities for our union BBQs below. To RSVP, click on your facility below.
|AHCC||Friday||June 28||0600, 0800, 1100, 1400|
|CBCC||Tuesday||July 9||1100-1430, 2100-2200|
|CCCC||Thursday||August 15||1100, 1300, 1430, 2100|
|CI HQ||Tuesday||July 23||0700, 1400|
|CRCC||Wednesday||June 26||0600, 0800, 1100, 1400|
|DOC HQ||Friday||July 26||1100-1300|
|LCC||Thursday||August 29||1100, 1300, 1430, 2100|
|Maple Lane Pharmacy||Thursday||July 25||1100-1300|
|MCC||Thursday||August 1||0620, 1100, 1300, 1420, 1600|
|MCCCW||Tuesday||July 16||1100-1430, 2100-2200|
|OCC||Wednesday||July 24||1100-1430, 2100-2200|
|SCCC||Monday||August 26||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100|
|WCC||Wednesday||August 21||1100, 1300, 1430, 2100|
|WCCW||Thursday||July 18||1100-1530, 2100-2200|
|WSP||Monday||June 10||0630, 0800, 1100, 1300, 1430, 1630|
More good news from Olympia! The Washington State Legislature has fully funded our DOC collective bargaining agreement for the 2019-2021 biennium.
This means that the wage increases achieved in our DOC members' contract through our interest arbitration award are now guaranteed.
Under the award, all Teamster correctional employees will now receive no less than an 8% general wage increase over the next two years.
The award calls for a general increase of 4% effective July 1, 2019 and a 4% increase effective July 1, 2020 for all classifications. In addition, a number of classifications will receive targeted range increases.
Teamsters 117 Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy, and Governor Inslee are expected to sign our contract in the middle of June. The contract will take effect on July 1, 2019.
Thank you to the members on our union's negotiations committee who put in many long hours to achieve a strong contract on behalf of all Teamsters at the DOC. Thank you also to so many of you who spoke directly with legislators about the critical nature of corrections work.
Congratulations on this accomplishment.
Governor Inslee signs a bill granting interest arbitration rights to Teamsters who work at the WA State Department of Corrections.
It’s a victory a decade in the making.
For ten years, Teamsters across Washington State made phone calls, wrote emails, and met face-to-face with legislators. We rallied on the steps of the state house, spoke out in the press, and marched around the Capitol grounds in Olympia.
Now, after years of perseverance, we have achieved an historic win.
On April 30, Governor Inslee signed a bill that immeasurably expands the rights of 6,000 Teamsters at the Department of Corrections (DOC).
The new law grants our union access to interest arbitration, a right essential to public safety professionals and one that has been denied our members for decades. Making the victory even sweeter, Inslee signed a similar bill on the same day that benefits Teamster officers at the University of Washington Police Department (UWPD).
“Our corrections and law enforcement members put their lives on the line to protect the public,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117, who made passage of the bills a top priority. “Interest arbitration ensures our members are treated with respect.”
"Interest arbitration ensures our members are treated with respect."
Interest arbitration is a complete game-changer when it comes to the power our union can leverage at the bargaining table. Without interest arbitration, we had little recourse when negotiating over issues like wages and working conditions. Not surprisingly, the State exploited its advantage by engaging in frustrating cycles of take-it-or-leave-it bargaining.
These new laws allow our union to push mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral arbitrator if we reach impasse in negotiations.
The ramifications are huge. Over the last three contract cycles, our DOC members have been able to access interest arbitration, first through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Governor, then through a negotiated provision in our contract. With interest arbitration, we have prevented concessions, strengthened language and increased wages for DOC Teamsters by a minimum of 28.3% over six years.
But from the start our goal has always been to codify interest arbitration into State law. “We wanted to ensure these rights could not be stripped away during negotiations, so we made statutory interest arbitration a long-term priority,” Scearcy said.
Getting to the goal wasn’t easy. Ross Hunter, the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee blocked early drafts of the bill. Later, the State Senate lacked the votes to pass the legislation. But thanks in part to our union’s powerhouse political program, the legislative landscape in Washington State shifted in 2018, creating an environment for change.
“We worked hard to elect legislators who were supportive and that approach paid off,” Scearcy said.
Under Scearcy’s leadership, our union made another major push during this year’s legislative session. In 2019, we had our largest, most successful lobby day ever. Over 200 Teamsters and their families converged on the State Capitol to talk with legislators about the need to get the law passed.
Now, after years of determination and hard work, a goal once thought unattainable has become a reality.
“I’m proud to be a Teamster,” said James Deuel, a corrections officer at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton. “Interest arbitration levels the playing field with management. It gives us the opportunity to fight for what we want and what we need.”
This Tuesday is truly a momentous day for our corrections and law enforcement members.
At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 30, Governor Inslee will sign into law bills granting statutory interest arbitration rights for our members at the Department of Corrections and University of Washington Police Department (SB 5021/SB 5022). At the same ceremony, the Governor will also sign a bill that restores the right for trained DOC personnel to carry a concealed weapon (HB 1589).
We will be gathering outside of the Governor's office on Tuesday starting at 1:30 p.m. All members are encouraged to attend this event and join in celebrating this extraordinary accomplishment.
Interest arbitration increases our power and leverage in contract negotiations. Without interest arbitration, we had little recourse when bargaining with the State over issues like wages and working conditions.
With this new law, we will be able to take mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator if we reach impasse in negotiations.
Over the next several weeks, we have a number of activities planned to celebrate this win. We will be sending thank you cards to the legislators who supported our bills and recognizing the bill sponsors and other key legislators at our June membership meeting and our summer DOC barbecues.
We are also creating a commemorative pin to recognize the hard work so many of you put in to pass this legislation.
Congratulations and thank you to everyone on this historic achievement. After a decade-long effort in the Washington State Legislature to expand the rights of Local 117 members, our moment of victory is close at hand.
On Friday, the State House and Senate finalized the legislation for our Department of Corrections (DOC) and University of Washington Police Department (UWPD) interest arbitration bills (SB 5021/SB 5022). This clears the way for both bills to be sent to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
The Governor has indicated that he is supportive of the bills, and we expect he will sign them into law in the coming weeks. As soon as we have a date for the bill signing ceremony, we will let you know and encourage you to attend this historic event.
It’s hard to express the magnitude of this victory. We’ve been working as a union for nearly a decade to achieve statutory interest arbitration rights. Now the finish line is close at hand.
Interest arbitration is a complete game-changer when it comes to the power we leverage in contract negotiations. Without interest arbitration, we had little recourse when bargaining with the State over issues like wages and working conditions.
It’s hard to express the magnitude of this victory.
With this new law, we will be able to push mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator if we reach impasse in negotiations.
The ramifications are huge. Over the last three contract cycles we’ve been able to access interest arbitration rights at the DOC, first through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Governor, then through a negotiated provision in our contract. Because of interest arbitration, we’ve succeeded in increasing wages for DOC Teamsters by 28.3% over six years.
But from the start our goal has always been to codify these rights into State law, which is exactly what these bills will do. Once they become law, we will have increased our strength to negotiate higher wages and better working conditions for all of you who risk your lives to serve and protect our communities.
Thanks again for your tremendous work toward this victory. By standing together and committing to each other, we’ve succeeded in achieving critical rights that will improve the lives of 6,000 members and their families.
We have lots of great news to share from Olympia!
On Saturday, our interest arbitration bill (SB 5021) for Teamsters at the DOC cleared yet another critical hurdle when it passed out of the House Appropriations committee on a vote of 26-6.
The bill has now successfully passed out of all of its fiscal and policy committees in the House of Representatives and is in the House Rules Committee awaiting a vote on the House floor. Passage in the House is the final step before the bill gets sent to the Governor for his signature.
Interest arbitration is important because it levels the playing field when we are in negotiations with the State. With interest arbitration, we can take mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator if we reach impasse in negotiations.
In more good news from Olympia, our bill (HB 1589) that restores the right for trained DOC personnel to carry a concealed weapon is in the Senate Rules Committee and requires only a Senate floor vote and the Governor’s signature to secure passage.
Our other top priority is to ensure that our DOC contract gets funded. On that front, things are looking promising as well. While budget negotiations are ongoing, both the House and the Senate have included funding for our collective bargaining agreement in their budgets.
This is all fantastic news. Our collective voice as Teamsters this legislative session has been incredibly strong and made a tremendous impact. Thank you for working so hard to make sure legislators hear our voice and to build a strong political program that makes these kinds of victories possible.
Starting at the end of March, we will be holding spring Membership Meetings for all DOC Teamsters at facilities across the State.
At the meetings, we will be talking about the status of our legislative priorities in Olympia and ways to get involved to ensure that we can be successful.
You can view days, times, and facilities below. Click on the link to your facility to RSVP.
|AHCC||Tuesday||April 9||New Initiates: 1015, Membership: 1100|
|CBCC||Tuesday||March 26||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1115|
|CCCC||Wednesday||April 10||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1200|
|CI HQ||Monday||April 22||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1200|
|CRCC||Tuesday||April 16||New Initiates: 1015, Membership: 1100|
|DOC HQ||Monday||April 29||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1200|
|LCC||Monday||April 8||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1200|
|Maple Lane Pharmacy||Tuesday||April 30||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1200|
|MCC||Tuesday||April 23||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1130|
|MCCCW||Monday||April 1||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1115|
|MICC||Thursday||April 11||New Initiates: 1045, Membership 1200|
|OCC||Wednesday||March 27||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1115|
|SCCC||Thursday||May 2||New Initiates: 1030, Membership: 1130|
|SWRBO||Tuesday||April 9||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1200|
|WCC||Friday||April 12||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1200|
|WCCW||Monday||April 15||New Initiates: 1045, Membership: 1115|
|WSP||Thursday||April 18||New Initiates: 1030, Membershio: 1130|