Bargaining for our 2021-2023 Collective Bargaining Agreement is back underway. As you may recall, in June, we passed a new economic proposal. Our proposal includes a wage increase for all classifications and targeted range adjustments for classifications that our compensation survey showed were behind the market.
This week, the State responded with its proposal. Disappointingly, the State’s proposal failed to reflect all the contributions and sacrifices you have made during the pandemic. The proposal was woefully inadequate considering the increases we see in the State’s budget forecast and the improvements in revenue.
“They worked us to the ground during the pandemic. I have seen people break down and quit,” commented Sheryl Green, a registered nurse at Airway Heights and a member of your bargaining committee. “It seems to me that they do not see our struggle and treat us as a number.”
James Deuel, a correctional officer at Washington Corrections Center who is also part of your negotiations committee, echoed her. “If the State provides us with adequate retention pay, it will only help with keeping skilled people at the job and consequently improve the budget.”
In the bargaining session, we spent time discussing the results of both parties’ compensation studies. Notably, both our research and the State’s study concluded many classifications at the DOC are underpaid compared to other State and County corrections departments. With the economy improving, the State cannot justify continuing to underpay its corrections workers.
As negotiations continue, we are heading into mediation the week of July 19. Your bargaining committee will continue to demand the DOC recognize the value of the work you do and improve your wages as even their own study shows is necessary.
Until bargaining concludes, rest assured that your rights remain protected under the 2019-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The State must maintain the status quo, meaning they are required to honor the 2019-2021 contract until we negotiate a new agreement.
Our vote is approaching. Please update your contact information as all voting will take place electronically.
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