When we fight, we win!

Corrections & Law Enforcement


Meet Amy Ford, our new Rep at WSP

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Welcome to our new union rep, Amy Ford!

Amy has worked at the Washington State Penitentiary since 2012 where she started in Health Services as a patient and staff scheduler. Later she worked with a correctional program manager and volunteered facilitating offender change programs. Before that, she was a Financial Counselor at the Walla Walla Medical Clinic.

For the last two and a half years, Amy has been a shop steward. The drive behind her work is a passion for knowledge and workers’ rights. She never stops learning and is currently finishing her degree in IT Administration and Business Management.

Amy is a mom to four beautiful children and is active in her local church. How does she manage to keep up with it all? She cites reading as a de-stresser.

Amy is a wonderful addition to our team and will be representing Teamsters at the Washington State Penitentiary. We wish you best of luck!


DOC Contract Proposal Meetings - Dates, TImes, and Locations

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In April, we will be holding contract proposal meetings for all DOC Teamsters to prepare for bargaining over your 2019-2121 collective bargaining agreement.

Your feedback is important! Your bargaining team will use your input from these meetings to develop proposals for negotiations. Please bring your priorities to the meeting. Thank you!

You can view days, times, and facilities below. Click on the link to your facility to RSVP.

DAY DATE TIMES INSTITUTION
Monday 4/2/2018 0500, 0630, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1630 SCCC
Tuesday 4/3/2018 0630, 0900, 1130, 1430, 1630 MCC
Wednesday 4/4/2018 0500, 0630, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1630 LCC
Wednesday 4/4/2018 0530, 0625, 0800, 1130, 1415, 1530 AHCC
Thursday 4/5/2018 0500, 0630, 1130, 1300, 1410, 1630 CCCC
Thursday 4/5/2018 0600, 0800, 1130, 1300, 1415, 1530, 1630, 1800 CRCC
Thursday 4/5/2018 0700, 1330 CI
Friday 4/6/2018 1100, 1200 SWRBO
Friday 4/6/2018 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 MCCCW
Monday 4/9/2018 1100, 1400, 1530, 2100, 2200 WCC
Tuesday 4/10/2018 0500, 0625, 0800, 1130, 1415, 1630 WSP
Tuesday 4/10/2018 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 WCCW
Wednesday 4/11/2018 0830, 1000 MICC
Wednesday 4/11/2018 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 OCC
Thursday 4/12/2018 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 CBCC
Thursday 4/12/2018 1130 Central Pharmacy
Friday 4/13/2018 1100, 1200 DOC HQ

 


Op-Ed: WSP member urges Teamsters to stand strong & commit to each other

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Teamsters in the news! Sammi Muecke, a Local 117 member who works at the Washington State Penitentiary, has published a guest editorial piece in the Walla Walla Union Bulletin. Sammi talks about the need to stand strong and stick together in the face of the Janus court case and open shop.

Thank you, Sammi, for making your voice heard!

U.S. Supreme Court Threatens to Divide Prison Staff
By S.L Muecke

This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case, Janus v AFSCME, which could negatively impact public service unions across the country.

As union members employed at the Washington State Penitentiary, many of my co-workers and I are deeply concerned. If the Court rules as expected, so-called “right-to-work” would become the law of the land in all public sector workplaces.

Workers will be able to opt-out of paying their fair share in dues but will continue to reap all of the benefits of their union contract and representation without having to pay anything for it.

This threatens to divide us and weaken our union. Our ability to speak out for fair conditions at work, strong protections in our contract, and safety on the job are at stake.

My experience with the dismal working conditions in a right-to-work state is telling. In 2012, my husband and I moved to North Carolina, where I worked as a teacher in the public schools. What were the consequences of that move? I took a $7,000 annual pay cut, lost all of my health benefits and most of my paid holidays.

The state’s hiring standards were abysmally low and many teachers were underqualified. At end of the day, it was our students who paid the price for “right to work.”

Here in Washington State, my union fights for competitive wages, decent health benefits, and safe working conditions for me and my co-workers. We can hold our bosses accountable and are protected from arbitrary firing. We cannot be “let go” or forced out as we near retirement age. Our years of experience and service matter.

These protections and legitimate “rights at work” are especially important when facing the dangers that exist inside a prison. As a union, we have each other’s backs. Together, we look out for each other and make sure that our jobs are safe and secure.

In Olympia, members of Teamsters Local 117 worked together to extend critical benefits for officers and other prison staff who are assaulted on the job. This allows us to continue to support our families and care for ourselves when we have been injured in the line of duty.

The Washington State Penitentiary employs well over a thousand employees. We are officers, sergeants, counselors, nurses, dentists, psychologists, prison chaplains, clerical staff, maintenance staff, and many others. We put our lives on the line every day when we report to work.

Imagine all of us talking all at once about our own individual workplace concerns. The result would be a cacophonous mess without direction or power. Our union allows us to express our concerns with one powerful voice.

We may not be able to prevent the Court from ruling against us in the Janus case, but we can continue to stand together with one united front and speak with one voice. Apart, we are powerless, rudderless and too easily ignored. Together we are strong.

S.L. Muecke works in the mailroom at the Washington State Penitentiary. She is a member of Teamsters Local 117, which represents 5600 employees at the Department of Corrections statewide.


DOC Teamsters: Act now to protect your right to privacy

The State Senate took an important first step toward protecting your personal information by passing SB 6079 earlier this month. The bill ensures that individuals or entities cannot access your birth date through public disclosure requests.

But to have a chance at becoming law, the bill also needs to pass the State House, and time is running out. We need to contact our Representatives in the House immediately and tell them to protect our privacy. 

As DOC employees, we know the dangers of our personal information falling into the wrong hands. 

TAKE ACTION! Call the Legislative Hotline in Olympia at 1-800-562-6000 now! Tell your House Representatives that you work at the DOC and have a right to privacy. Tell them to protect your personal information by passing SB 6079 immediately.

Thank you for speaking out to protect your privacy.


DOC contract surveys due on February 23

Contract surveys for upcoming negotiations over our 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections are due on Friday, February 23. 

If you haven't done so already, please fill out your survey and deposit it in the designated dropbox at your facility. 

Dropboxes can be found at the following locations

  • AHCC/Main - Public Access
  • AHCC/MSU - C3 Entrance
  • CBCC - Public Access
  • CCCC - Control Break Room
  • CI HQ - See Nathan Glass
  • CRCC MSC Mailboxes/MSU Mailboxes
  • DOC HQ - See Rebecca Bologna desk
  • LCC - Control Break Room
  • Maple Lane Pharmacy - Lunch room
  • MCC/TRU – Next to Main Control
  • MCC/MSU, WSRU, SOU – Public Access
  • MCCCW - Public access
  • MICC - Boat dock on the Island side
  • OCC - See Pam Olekas in Records
  • SCCC - D-Building Break Room
  • SWRBO - See Andrew Guardia
  • WCC - Public Access, under union board
  • WCCW - Public access/shift office
  • WSP WC Mailboxes/EC Mailboxes

You can also give your completed survey to your Shop Steward or Union Representative.

If you did not receive a survey in the mail, please contact your Shop Steward first, and if necessary, your Union Representative.

Filling out your contract survey is important. The survey gives you an opportunity to prioritize issues and voice your concerns. Your bargaining team will be using the survey results to develop proposals based on your feedback for upcoming contract negotiations.

Be sure to make your voice heard!


Lobby Day 2018: A great day for Teamsters in Olympia

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Members of Teamsters 117 gather on the steps of the state capitol in Olympia for a Lobby Day rally.


It was an impressive sight - hundreds of Teamsters and their family members gathered on the steps of the legislative building in Olympia for our 2018 lobby day.

Bright yellow scarves with horseheads draped across members’ shoulders. Many held signs that read Honor Our Public Servants and Public Service, Public Safety.

Michelle Woodrow, our union’s president addressed the crowd: “Thank you for your outstanding service and for keeping our communities safe.” View photos from the event here.

Just a short time earlier, Local 117 members had clustered outside the doors of the Senate and House chambers requesting meetings with their legislators.

With a cutoff to pass bills looming, conversations had to be short and direct.

“We just met with Senator Sheldon,” said Sergeant Larry Reeves of the Washington Corrections Center. “He said he would be more than happy to support a bipartisan effort to see if we can get our staffing model audit funded.”

“This is wonderful,” said Fran Deel, a nurse at the Airway Heights Corrections Center who brought her three grandchildren to the event. “I’m here to make sure our rights are represented and to make sure our union has the power to negotiate.”

In addition to calling for an audit of DOC staffing levels, we urged legislators to pass bills that protect the privacy of public employees and give us a better opportunity to welcome new employees into the union. 

The day’s activities culminated with a rally on the capitol steps.  Newly-elected Teamster councilmember of the City of Burien, Pedro Olguin, fired up the group with a series of chants.

"We are the union. You are the union. We need to take the bull by the horns to fight off these attacks together."

Michelle Woodrow introduced the speakers starting with Representative Roger Goodman, the chair of the House Public Safety Committee. He was followed by three members: Officers Alfredo Cruz, Debra Gordon and Gerry Pinero.

Pinero, who made the trip to Olympia with his wife Angelic, talked about Teamster pride and the need to defend our union. “I started with the Teamsters in 1974 and have always been treated well by the Teamster family fighting for better benefits, better conditions, and better pay.”

“But senior Teamster staff can’t do it alone,” he said. “We are the union. You are the union. We need to take the bull by the horns to fight off these attacks together.”

John Scearcy, our union’s secretary-treasurer, echoed Pinero’s call for unity.  “When we stand together, we’re stronger. When we talk about our core values and find out where we align, we can move an agenda. This lobby day is a perfect example of us showing that when we’re committed to each other, we are strong and our voices will be heard.”

 


A lifeline for our corrections & law enforcement members

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Our friends at Safe Call Now have sent over information about an important service available to members of Teamsters Local 117 working in the corrections and law enforcement field. 

The Institute for Responder Wellness 877-597-1136 have dedicated their lives to the health & wellness of first responders. They provide critical services to public safety employees struggling with issues that impact their personal and professional lives.

In an email asking us to promote the service, they write:

It is estimated that 20-35% of all First Responders struggle with PTSD and other mental and behavioral health issues. After seeing many responders fall victim to these statistics, we decided we couldn’t sit back and watch on the sidelines any longer. We’re happy to say that we created a program for first responders and these problems.

The Institute for Responder Wellness has established a comprehensive trauma based program specifically tailored to first responders and their family members with behavioral and mental health issues.

"Building partnerships and connecting our members to important resources is an important priority of our union," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. "I hope members will make use of this service and seek assistance when needed."

For more information, please call 877-597-1136 or visit the Institute for Responder Wellness Facebook page.


With court case looming, MCC Teamsters are committing to each other

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Members at the Monroe Correctional Complex gather at a union meeting last December to discuss keeping the union strong in an open shop environment.


Changes are coming in the public sector, and Teamsters across our union are getting ready.

The U.S. Supreme Court will be ruling on a case this spring that will almost certainly eliminate the freedom of public employees to negotiate union security clauses in their contracts. 

That means people will be able to abandon their union membership, but continue to receive all of the benefits without having to pay their fair share.

Teamsters across our union are pushing back. Members are talking to members about the importance of continuing to have a strong union in an open shop environment. Thousands of members have signed cards committing to each other and their union.

As Teamsters, we refuse to allow wealthy special interests like the so-called "Freedom" Foundation to defund our union and weaken our ability to stand together and negotiate strong contracts.

At the Monroe Correctional Complex, member leaders and staff are in the midst of a three-day blitz to inform members about the the rule changes.

On Thursday, the facility was buzzing with members talking about the value of a strong union. Over 100 members signed commitment cards on a single day.

One of those members was Shaun Watson. Watson is new on staff, but had previously worked as an officer in Missouri. "I came from a place that wasn't union," he said. "I tell people that if the union goes away, they're going to miss it when it's gone."

"We need to keep unions strong, for better wages, better health care, and to keep DOC honest."

Watson described poor conditions and a place where everyone was paid the same low rate no matter how long they had worked there. "It was sad," he said. "If you put in your time, you should be rewarded."

Both Paul Moore, an RN3 at MCC, and Kim Cook, an officer at the Washington Corrections Center for Women, took the day off to help with the outreach.

At shift change, Cook and Moore handed out information about the case. "We'll be swinging by later to talk with you about open shop," Cook said, as members headed toward their posts.

Doug Trudeau, an officer in the intensive management unit at MCC, is also helping out with the blitz. "Unions are getting hit hard," he said. "We need to stay strong, for better wages, better health care, and to keep DOC honest."

To sign in support of your union, talk to your shop steward or union representative, or visit www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.


DOC contract surveys mailed out for upcoming negotiations

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Contract surveys are in the mail. Be sure to turn yours in by February 23.


Today we mailed out contract surveys to the home addresses of all Teamsters at the DOC. You should be receiving your survey in the mail in the next couple of days.

Please fill out your survey and deposit it in the designated dropbox at your facility. You can also give your completed survey to your Shop Steward or Union Representative.

Your survey should be returned by no later than Friday, February 23. If you have not received a survey by February 15, please contact your Shop Steward first, and if necessary, your Union Representative.

Filling out your contract survey is important. The survey gives you an opportunity to prioritize issues and voice your concerns. Your bargaining team will be using the survey results to develop proposals based on your feedback for upcoming contract negotiations.

Be sure to make your voice heard!


Local 117 launches member Leadership Academy

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Members from the inaugural Teamsters Leadership Academy participate in a team building exercise on January 17.


Local 117 members from all corners of the state gathered at the union hall in Tukwila earlier this month for the inaugural class of our new Teamsters Leadership Academy.

The program is a central piece to one of our union’s key strategic priorities: to invest in member leadership and development.

“I’m incredibly excited to work with all of you,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117, as he welcomed the group.  “Our goal as Teamsters is to build unity and power for working families. You are on the forefront of helping realize that goal.”

"The sense of unity was wonderful."

In the first meeting, members discussed the qualities of effective leadership and reflected on the importance of leadership as it relates to working together as a team. They also engaged in a “problem tree” exercise where they identified and analyzed issues in the workplace.

Check out photos from the event here.