Our DOC negotiations team worked late into the night on Friday and early into Saturday morning after a long week in mediation with the State in an effort to resolve the elements of our 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement that we were unable to reach agreement on.
The team worked hard to craft an equitable economic proposal that values the critical public safety work you perform. Our proposal was based on well-researched comparables of corrections employees performing similar work in like jurisdictions.
In the end, the State was unwilling to come even remotely close to adequately recognizing your work. The State’s proposal as of Saturday morning is 2% in year one and 2% in year two of the contract. Their final offer ignores the dangers you face on the job and the essential role you play in keeping our communities safe.
As a result, our union’s negotiations committee is unanimously recommending that you vote to reject the State’s proposal.
Contract voting will be conducted in two ways: 1) by telephone or 2) through the internet. The telephonic and online internet polls open at 12:01 AM on Monday, August 6, 2018, and close at 11:59 PM on Sunday, August 19, 2018.
We will make available a summary document and a redline contract proposal document as well as complete voting instructions by the end of this week. You will be notified by email when the documents are available for your review on our union’s website.
We will be holding in-person meetings to review the State’s proposal and to answer your questions starting on Monday, August 6. You can view the complete schedule of contract update meetings at all locations here.
Assuming a majority of the voting DOC membership casts a no vote, we will exercise the interest arbitration rights in our contract and go to hearing with the State. At the hearing, we will present the following mandatory subjects of bargaining before a neutral arbitrator who will make an impartial ruling:
- A general wage increase for all DOC Teamsters based on comparable data
- Elements of Article 16 of our contract (Hours of Work)
The interest arbitration hearing will be held at the end of August with Arbitrator Joseph Duffy presiding. Our union’s legal counsel is busy preparing our case and will likely call on a number of DOC members to testify.
Again, our negotiations committee is unanimously recommending that you vote NO on the State’s proposal. Our unity in rejecting the State’s substandard proposal will give us the strongest possible position as we head into interest arbitration. Please be sure to vote and make your voice heard!
In closing, our deep gratitude goes out to our incredible negotiations team for their dedication, commitment, perseverance, and strength. Our team worked tirelessly to achieve the best possible contract for all Teamsters at the DOC. Be sure to thank them for their service.
You can view a short video update from negotiations here.
Our DOC negotiations team worked late into the night on Friday and early into Saturday morning after a long week in mediation in an effort to reach an agreement with the State over our 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement.
Unfortunately, the State was unwilling to put forth an economic proposal that adequately recognizes the critical public safety work you perform. Our negotiations team is unanimously recommending that you vote to reject the State's proposal. We will be providing a more complete update from negotiations and information about the upcoming contract vote process early next week.
Watch the video update below from Michelle Woodrow, your union's President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement:
In August, we will be holding contract vote meetings for all DOC Teamsters to vote on your 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement.
It's important that your voice is heard! Please attend one of the listed meetings at your facility and cast your vote. Thank you!
You can view days, times, and facilities below. Click on the link to your facility to RSVP.
|Monday||8/6/2018||0630, 0900, 1130, 1430, 1630||MCC|
|Tuesday||8/7/2018||0500, 0630, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1630||CCCC|
|Tuesday||8/7/2018||1100, 1230, 1420, 1630, 2100, 2200||WCC|
|Wednesday||8/8/2018||0530, 0625, 0800, 1130, 1415, 1530||AHCC|
|Thursday||8/9/2018||0500, 0630, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1630||SCCC|
|Friday||8/10/2018||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100||
|Monday||8/13/2018||0700, 0800, 1400||CIHQ|
|Monday||8/13/2018||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100||OCC|
|Monday||8/13/2018||0500, 0800, 1130, 1300,1415, 1530, 1630||WSP|
|Tuesday||8/14/2018||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100||CBCC|
|Tuesday||8/14/2018||1100, 1200||Central Pharmacy|
|Wednesday||8/15/2018||0600, 0800, 1130, 1300, 1415, 1530, 1630, 1800||CRCC|
|Thursday||8/16/2018||1100, 1200||DOC HQ|
|Thursday||8/16/2018||0500, 0630, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1630||LCC|
|Friday||8/17/2018||0620, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1530||WCCW|
Earlier this month, our union negotiations committee passed a thoughtful economic proposal to the State as we continue the process of bargaining over your 2019-2021 contract.
Our proposal was backed by comparable data from other jurisdictions and took into account the unique and critical nature of your work and the important public service you provide in keeping our communities safe. It took into consideration the recruitment and retention problems at the Department and contemplated the amount of overtime that is frequently required and is extreme by any measure.
"I am not willing to back down. Our people need to survive, and I’ll fight for them."
In last week’s negotiations, the State came back with a response that was extremely disrespectful. Kathe Jackson, a nurse at the Washington State Penitentiary and a member of our union committee expressed her frustration. “We work every day. We place ourselves at risk of injury and death just to feed our families. For the State not to acknowledge that is offensive.”
When asked questions about how they put their proposal together, the State’s response was: “This is what we can afford.” They did not give any consideration into the dangerous work you perform or the critical services you provide. The State did not acknowledge how employees at Washington’s correctional facilities are underpaid as compared to other people doing the same type of work in similar jurisdictions.
To say that the bargaining committee was frustrated is a huge understatement. “I am not willing to back down,” said Jackson. “Our people need to survive, and I’ll fight for them.”
This week we are in mediation, and I hope to have a better report for you at the end of it. Please stay tuned and watch for the email updates. We promise to keep you apprised of what’s going on with your contract.
Thank you and as always, stay safe.
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement
Lead negotiator for DOC Collective Bargaining Agreement
Last week DOC negotiations shifted to economics as your Union presented its initial economic proposal. In making this proposal, your bargaining committee demanded that the State recognize the incredible service that correctional employees provide to protect the public.
The proposal included salary increases for all classifications, improvement to shift differential, expansion of the Specialty Team Premium to include Honor Guard, Assignment Pay for Shift Commanders at stand-alone minimums and members working in Specialized Units, as well as cost-of-living increases for both years of the contract. We expect the State to respond when we meet this week.
In terms of our other proposals, Sally Thiessen, a Shop Steward at SCCC and a member of the bargaining team, summed it up best. “We’re waiting on just about everything we have submitted to them,” she said.
"Our leaders are constantly fighting for us."
“We are aggressively moving forward with the State, not allowing them to make the changes that can hinder our operation and negatively affect our livelihood and work-life balance. Our leaders are constantly fighting for us,” stated Doug Lambe, a Maintenance Mechanic and Shop Steward at WCCW who also sits at the negotiations table.
The bargaining committee’s frustration is mounting, as the State appears to be ill prepared every time we meet. Because of this, we expect to be in mediation the week of July 23 in hopes of reaching an agreement.
Our next negotiations session will be held on July 17 and July 18 at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila. If you have questions about bargaining, talk to your negotiations committee members or your Union Representative.
Thank you for your service, please stay safe.
Read how our DOC bargaining team is fighting to protect workers and moving forward with strength, unity and resolve in negotiations with the State.
We will not let the Janus decision divide us because only we decide how strong our union will be. Read the summer Guardian here.
Our union negotiations team for DOC wore read to protest the State's proposal to restrict our access to vacation leave.
It was a sea of red at our DOC negotiations this week. Members of our union’s bargaining committee were decked out in red T-shirts, red caps, red sweatshirts and blouses. Our team had deliberately coordinated our dress to protest the State’s proposal to restrict our access to vacation leave.
In the previous negotiations session, the State sought changes to the vacation leave article (Article 21) in our contract to allow DOC management to discipline members who make certain kinds of vacation requests by defining it as unscheduled leave.
Our team was united in rejecting the proposal. To show our unity and send a message to the State, the group decided to wear red for this session. All members participated in the action.
On Thursday, the State made a stab at another idea that was unanimously opposed by our negotiations team. The State proposed designating Visiting as a Specialized Unit.
There are a couple of problems with that. Not only would it erode our bid system and strip members of their right to work in those areas, it wouldn’t address the problems they claim they’re trying to solve.
Our union negotiations team for DOC reacted with anger and disbelief at the State's proposal on vacation leave.
DOC contract negotiations erupted this week when the State presented a proposal seeking to punish members for taking time off from work to spend with their families.
The proposal involves the vacation leave article (Article 21) of our DOC contract. Currently, members have the ability to request accrued vacation in excess of ten consecutive days in three segments per year with the exception of the summer months. This gives members the flexibility to schedule longer stretches of vacation to help mitigate the stress of working inside the prisons.
The State’s proposal would restrict the number of vacation days per segment for the entire year as opposed to the limited restriction between June and August, which exists currently. The employer also wants the ability to discipline members by defining certain vacation requests as unscheduled leave.
“How can they punish us for using vacation time that we’ve accrued? It’s outrageous,” said Teresa Bennett, a pharmacy tech on our union’s negotiations team.
"How can they punish us for using vacation time that we’ve accrued? It’s outrageous."
The State also presented a blatantly anti-union proposal, trying to modify Article 2 to restrict new members access to their union.
The time with new members is critical because it allows shop stewards and union reps to convey the hard-fought victories we have achieved through our union membership, like interest arbitration in our contract, extending assault benefits, and the across-the-board wage increases of 20.3% over the last four years.
At the negotiations table, our union team spoke forcefully about the need to preserve our existing rights under both Article 21 and Article 2. We also pushed the employer to take greater responsibility for reducing scheduling errors that can lead to excessive mandatory overtime.
It’s important to remember that without a union the State could unilaterally implement policy changes that would undermine your rights at work, such as their outrageous proposal to discipline you for using vacation leave.
If you haven’t done so already, please sign a commitment card so that we can preserve our rights as union members to stand together for a strong contract. By signing you are sending a clear message to the State that we are committed to each other and we are united. You can sign online at: www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org/sign.
Our next negotiations session will be held on June 20 and June 21 at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila. If you have questions, talk to your negotiations committee member or union rep.
You can view a short video update from members on the negotiations committee below:
Negotiations between our union team and the State continued this week over our 2019-2021 DOC contract. The meetings took place at our Teamsters Union hall in Tukwila on Wednesday, May 23 and Thursday, May 24.
In our last sessions earlier this month, we established ground rules for negotiations and presented our union’s initial proposals.
In this week’s sessions, the State presented a few initial proposals on Wednesday morning, then requested a break to continue developing additional proposals. Much of Thursday’s discussion revolved around overtime and shared leave.
In our union caucus, we continued to refine our language proposals. We also focused on alerting members to attempts by the “Freedom” Foundation to divide our union at this critical time.
You can read the committee's joint statement here. DOC members will be receiving the statement in the mail in the coming days.
“The Freedom Foundation is trying to split our union,” said Teresa Bennett, a pharmacy tech and shop steward on the negotiations committee. “Don’t fall for their mailings – they are confusing and false. We need to stand together and not be divided."
"We need to stand together and not be divided."
Our next negotiations session will take place on June 5 and 6 at the Union Hall in Tukwila. If you have questions, please contact your bargaining committee member or union representative.
Thank you for your service to our communities. Please stay safe.
During contract negotiations, we are most effective when we are united. Our unity allows us to achieve higher wages, better working conditions, and a safer workplace for all Teamsters.
The last thing we need when we’re bargaining with the State or any other employer is for an outside group to try to divide us. But that’s exactly what the so-called “Freedom” Foundation is trying to do.
The “Freedom” Foundation is an anti-worker think tank that has used lax public disclosure laws to get ahold of the personal information of our members at the Department of Corrections. Now they’re using that information to send DOC members mailers trying to trick them into abandoning their union.
In a mailer sent this week, they claim members lose nothing by abandoning their membership. The truth is you have everything to lose – your wages, your benefits, and your power to negotiate a strong contract.
The Freedom Foundation fought AGAINST wage increases for DOC Teamsters. They want to privatize public services and outsource public sector jobs.
The best way we can protect ourselves is by standing together. Talk to your co-workers and make sure they don’t fall for the misleading information.
Show the Freedom Foundation that we are united and won’t be manipulated. If you haven't done so already, sign a commitment card to protect your freedom to have a strong contract and a strong union.
If you have questions, please talk to your Shop Steward or Union Representative or visit www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.