Teamster Jessica Poston, a counselor at the Washington Corrections Center for Women, joined several other state employees who spoke at a rally the Western State Hospital in Lakewood today.
The speakers were part of the All In For Action coalition that is calling on the state Senate to come to the table to pass a budget that fully funds important programs local communities depend on as opposed to protecting tax breaks for large corporations and the wealthy.
A government shutdown is becoming a real possibility. If the legislature does not pass a budget by June 30, thousands of corrections employees could get laid off.
Many of you are hearing that temporary layoff notices will be issued soon. If a shutdown does occur, we will vigorously defend your rights under the contract. You can read more about the DOC’s contingency plan here.
The best way to avoid a shutdown is for us to continue to pressure our state Senators to pass a responsible budget that invests in corrections employees.
So far, the Senate has been unwilling to fund one of our major priorities – an audit of staffing levels that would ultimately improve staff safety in the prisons.
Please call your state Senator now at 1-800-562-6000. Tell them that a government shutdown will put you and your co-workers in danger. Tell them to invest in the men and women who keep us safe.
We will also be participating in a statewide Day of Action at Western State Hospital in Lakewood (9601 Steilacoom Blvd SW) at 12 noon on Thursday, June 22 to prevent a shutdown of state government.
If you are able to attend, please contact your Union Representative. You can RSVP for this event here.
Between the Cascade Mountains to the west and the spectacular Palouse Falls to the east lies a small town of Kahlotus. With a population of only around 200, the Mayor of Kahlotus is Dave Wooten. He is a long time Teamster, an officer at the nearby Coyote Ridge correctional facility.
When I ask what stirred him to get involved in the local political scene back in March of 2016, he simply says that he wanted to help the community and make Kahlotus a better place.
We are already a week into the second special session of the legislature and no budget deal is in sight.
DOC and other state agencies have begun distributing layoff notices as they prepare for a possible government shutdown. Many of you will likely begin receiving notices as early as this week.
If the government does go into shutdown mode, it is impossible to say how many state employees could be laid off, but the numbers will likely be in the thousands.
Responsibility for the budget crisis lies squarely on the shoulders of the State Senate. So far, Senate Republicans have been unwilling to negotiate a proposal that fully funds our contract and at the same time funds an external audit of staffing levels at the DOC. The Governor and the House budgets do both.
Our Union supports the House budget because it prioritizes public safety and preserves other critical public services. The Senate wants to raise our property taxes while protecting tax loopholes for the rich.
We need to send a message to our State Senators now. Tell them that they are putting DOC jobs at risk! Their inaction on the budget could lead to massive layoffs statewide and an indefinite freeze of wage increases for DOC employees. Call your Senator at 800.562.6000 now!
Our Teamster nurses, at the Department of Corrections and the Washington State Nurses Association, perform incredibly challenging work, and it's time to thank them.
This week is National Nurses Week as designated by the American Nurses Association.
Teamster nurses, along with 3 million registered nurses across the country, provide critical health care services to the public. They care for their patients in stressful environments, often working long hours to provide essential, compassionate and ethical services.
Let’s take a moment to pay tribute to our nurses for their dedication, patience, and professionalism.
Please thank a nurse today!
We had some good news during the regular legislative session when both the House and Senate included funding for our DOC contract in their budget proposals. The Governor had released his budget earlier, which also proposed funding our contract.
This was a critical first step. A state budget that funds our contract will result in at least a 10.5% general wage increase for all Teamsters who work at the DOC over the coming biennium.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough for the sides to make their respective proposals. They also need to sit down and hammer out a final budget. And right now that’s not happening.
Senate negotiators are refusing to come to the bargaining table. By doing so, they’re playing a dangerous game that could have disastrous consequences. If a budget deal isn’t reached by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, we could see a government shutdown, leading to layoffs and an indefinite suspension of wage increases for DOC employees.
So far, the Senate has also refused to fund an external audit of staffing levels at the DOC. The DOC operates under a dangerously outdated staffing model, and an audit would begin to address that problem. Both the House and Governor support funding the audit.
What's more, the Senate is refusing to fund the contracts of our members at the UW Police Department who put their lives on the line to protect our community and our members who work at the Department of Enterprise Services.
We need to send a resounding message to legislators in the Senate: Start negotiating over the budget now, fund an external staffing level audit at the DOC, and fund our UWPD and DES contracts.
Take five minutes to call your Senator at 800.562.6000. Thank you!
We are currently recruiting for a Union Representative position for the Department of Corrections.
The successful applicant for this position will be assigned to the Monroe Correctional Complex.
Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, visiting worksites, building relationships with members, internal organizing, grievance handling and investigation, assistance in contract negotiations, Labor-Management meetings, steward training and supervision, conducting regional meetings in their assigned areas, and working as part of a team with other Local 117 Union Representatives.
If this interests you, please review the full job description that includes instructions on how to submit your cover letter and resume. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2017.
President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement
Brothers and Sisters:
Every year at this time, we honor the men and women who work in critical public safety roles through a series of events and activities across the country.
With so many of our members working in these professions, I want to take this opportunity to thank you and your co-workers for the tremendous work you do to serve and protect the public.
Our Telecommunicators are the first point of contact when the public seeks relief in the event of an emergency. They work behind the scenes to protect our police officers and firefighters by providing them with vital information.
Our Correctional Employees risk their lives to oversee, nurse, train, counsel and protect convicted felons. They perform their jobs valiantly, armed only with OC, their tactical verbal skills, and their wits.
Like Correctional Employees, our Police Officers put their lives on the line to serve and protect our communities. The dangers they face and the heroic acts they perform often go unrecognized by the community.
I want to let all of you who work in these professions know how much we value your contributions. Your commitment to public service and the risks you take every day to serve and protect our communities are a testament to your character and your sacrifice.
Thank you again for the amazing work you do on behalf of the public. Please stay safe.
Today, the House Democrats released their 2017-2019 Operating Budget proposal, and there's some great news: It fully funds our collective bargaining agreement for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections. Last week, the Senate Republicans passed their budget which also funds our DOC contract.
Unlike the Senate, though, the House budget also funds $500,000 for our requested budget proviso to conduct an independent, comprehensive staffing level audit to review staffing levels in each DOC institution by classification. We lobbied on this issue this year, and made it a key part of our legislative agenda.
The House and Senate budgets diverge in other ways as well. The Senate failed to fund most other state employee contracts; thankfully, the House remedied that by investing in all state employees including our members at the University of Washington Police Department.
With budget negotiations about to get underway, we need to send a message to our legislators about our priorities for the budget.
YOUR ACTION NEEDED: Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 with this message:
- Thank your legislators for recognizing the important work of our state's corrections professionals.
- Encourage your Senator to support funding for the DOC staffing level audit.
- Ask your Senator to invest in our UW Police Officers by funding their contract.
Thank you for taking action on these issues.
Michelle Woodrow, President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement of Teamsters Local 117.
Late Tuesday night, Michelle Woodrow, our President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement, testified before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on how the Senate's recent operating budget proposal would impact members of Teamsters Local 117.
You can read Michelle's testimony in its entirety below. You can also watch her testimony on TVW here.