In the second day of our interest arbitration hearing, I provided lengthy testimony to explain the basis for several of our bargaining proposals to Arbitrator Howell Lankford.

I explained the safety rationale for shift differential to incentivize veteran staff to work on first and third shift. We are proposing a $1.50 premium for custody and $2.50 for nurses.

We retained a well-respected expert in law enforcement interest arbitration, Anil Karia. On cross-examination he shredded the credibility of the State’s witness by showing that the State’s data was slanted and inconsistent. By the end, the State’s expert was scrambling to try to explain his unreasonable approach. Today, our experts will present the Union’s survey which shows what we all know: that the entire unit is grossly underpaid.

Sandra Conner, an ARNP at Airway Heights Corrections Center, and a member of the Union’s bargaining team, testified regarding the pressure on medical professionals to transfer to DSHS as a result of their recent increases in pay, and she emphasized the need to increase on-call pay for medical professionals who put their licenses at risk when they are assigned to be available on a 24-7 basis to diagnose and problem-solve critical issues.

I testified that our main priority is to maximize the across-the-board wage increase for all DOC staff. The overall staffing issues at DOC can only be solved by providing substantial across-the-board wage increases.

The State continues to push back against our proposed wage increases and insists the most they can afford is a three percent raise for each of the next two years.

We will continue to keep you updated throughout the week as we present our case to the arbitrator.

To see a short video of me giving an overview of the interest arbitration process, click here. If you have questions about the interest arbitration process, you can access our FAQ page on our website here.

-Michelle Woodrow,
Teamsters Local 117 President and Director of Corrections and Law Enforcement