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Corrections & Law Enforcement

DOC barbecues bring people together


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. 

Organizing update: 11 new DOC groups have joined our union


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:

Becoming a Teamster has been my goal since I was promoted to a non-represented position in 2014. Prior to my promotion, I was an active member of Teamsters 117 and a Shop Steward. A question that I asked myself, then my supervisor and the Union: Why is my current position non-represented? The answer that I received was that at the time of the Correctional Specialist position allocation, the first Correctional Specialist 3’s did not want representation and that the work being conducted traditionally was being conducted by non-represented classified positions. I then became busy learning my new job and the request fell by the wayside, but was not forgotten.

Don’t get me wrong, I thought that the lack of representation leaves an employee vulnerable and in the hands of policies that are constantly open to interpretation and revision. I also knew that those who are represented by a union are paid on average 5-10% more than non-represented employees and the current pays scales supports those numbers.

Fast forward three years, an opportunity arose to see if my peers have thought about or reconsidered joining the union again. The majority said yes and now it is history, I am now a proud union member of Teamsters 117 and a proud state employee with the Department of Corrections. I have a strongly worded contract that supports me and ensures fair and equitable treatment and I have fair compensation for the work that is performed. I look forward to being active in my Local and hopefully representing my fellow Teamsters as a Shop Steward once again.

David Niles
Coyote Ridge Corrections Center

Here is the list of all of the new Department of Corrections bargaining units that have joined our union since 2015:

  • Dentists
  • 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!

DOC 2017-2019 contract now available online!


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.


Guardian newsletter: Get the latest news from DOC


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.



Premium pay for officers working in BFOQ positions

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.

Continuing to fortify our union at the DOC

Michelle-Woodrow.jpgBrothers 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

In Solidarity,

Michelle Woodrow
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement

DOC Summer BBQs are getting underway soon - See schedule here

Join us for one of our DOC summer BBQs.  We will be meeting all across the state to celebrate getting our contract funded.  We will also be:

  • talking about the importance of political action
  • answering questions about our new contract
  • debriefing legislative session

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

Monday 7/24/2017 1100-1300 DOC HQ
Tuesday 7/25/2017 1100-1300 SWRBO
Wednesday 7/26/2017 1100-1330 Pharmacy
Thursday 7/27/2017 1100-1400 MICC
Friday 7/28/2017 1100-1400 CIHQ
Monday 7/31/2017 0610, 0800, 1200, 1410, 1600, 1730 CRCC
Wednesday 8/2/2017 0630, 0800, 1200, 1420, 1600, 1730    WSP
Friday 8/4/2017 0610, 0800, 1200, 1410, 1600, 1730 AHCC
Monday 8/7/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 CCCC
Tuesday 8/8/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 1530, 2100 WCCW
Friday 8/11/2017 0630, 1100, 1300, 1420, 1600 WCC
Monday 8/14/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 MCCCW
Monday 8/21/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 CBCC
Tuesday 8/22/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 OCC
Friday 8/25/2017 0620, 1100, 1300, 1420, 1600 MCC
Monday 8/28/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 LCC
Thursday 8/31/2017 1130, 1300, 1410, 2100 SCCC


Corrections, UWPD, and DES contracts funded! We did it by standing together


Early this morning, the state released its proposed operating budget for the 2017-2019 biennium.  All indications are that the legislature will vote on the agreement today and that the budget will be signed into law to avert a government shutdown and temporary layoffs of state employees.

The proposed budget fully funds the interest arbitration award for our members at the Department of Corrections. It also funds the contract for our members at the University of Washington Police Department as well as for members at the Department of Enterprise Services. This means that all of the terms and conditions of the new collective bargaining agreements for our members who are state employees are now in place.

Teamsters at the DOC will receive general wage increases of at least 10.5% over the coming biennium; at the UWPD, members will receive annual increases of 10%; DES members' wages will increase by roughly 6%.

The legislature ultimately decided to fund our contracts because all of us stood together and demanded respect for the challenging, dangerous work you perform.

So many of you have played a critical role in this success. Thank you to our incredible member leaders who worked long hours to achieve meaningful improvements to our contracts. At the DOC, we were able to achieve interest arbitration rights in our contract for the first time, which is a major accomplishment.

Many of you also took the time to contact your legislators in the last several weeks as we made the final push to stop a shutdown of state government and avoid temporary layoffs.

Finally, thanks to all of you for the incredible service you provide to our communities. Your work is challenging, dangerous, and vital to the safety of the public.

There is still more work to be done. The proposed budget does not fund an external audit of staffing levels at the DOC. We will be working to include it in the supplemental budget next January as it continues to be one of our priorities moving forward.

But if we stand together as we have done in the last several months, we can continue to strengthen our contracts, improve our working conditions, and our lives.

Tentative agreement reached on state budget


The Governor announced this morning that legislators have reached an agreement “in principle” on an operating budget for 2017-2019.

If the remaining work on the budget can be completed before the end of the day on Friday and the legislature is able to vote on the agreement, a government shutdown and temporary layoffs will be avoided.

Budget negotiators on both sides of the aisle say they are confident that they can get the work done.

At this point, no details about the budget deal are available. We expect to learn more after the four legislative caucuses are briefed on the agreement.

We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more.

Call your state senator. Tell them no layoffs at DOC!


Many of you, perhaps more than 3,000 DOC Teamsters, received notice from the Department that you will be laid off if the legislature is unable to reach an agreement over an operating budget for the coming biennium. 

In the manner that it issued layoff notices, the DOC has likely already violated the terms of our collective bargaining agreement, which will trigger our contract's grievance and arbitration process. 

Rest assured, no matter what happens with respect to layoffs, we will vigorously defend your rights under the contract and under the law.

To help jumpstart the process in Olympia, we need to send an urgent message to our state Senators. Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them to pass a budget immediately that invests in corrections employees who protect all of us. 

You and your co-workers put your lives on the line every day to serve and protect our communities, yet the state Senate is unwilling to do its job and pass a budget agreement that invests in the vital services you provide.

Please don't wait. Call your state Senator now!