Why come to a Union meeting? That's what Winifred Williams was wondering, as she and her co-workers entered the visiting room at the Airway Heights Correctional Complex in Spokane.
Williams is a Correctional Records Technician at the DOC. Her job is to verify that information about offenders is in compliance with DOC policy and the law.
She has worked in corrections for a long time, but in her 20 years at the DOC, she had never been to a Union meeting, until now.
"I didn't think that there would be useful information," she said. "And I didn't want to sit around and listen to people complain."
"Hearing about her meeting with the Governor and how she was able to pull off interest arbitration really inspired me. It's history making - really exciting stuff."
With a little cheerful prodding, Williams' new Business Representative, Tawny Humbert, convinced her to give the meeting a try.
In a little over an hour sitting down with Tracey A. Thompson, her Secretary-Treasurer, and other union staff, Williams' perspective took a 180 degree turn.
"This meeting was energizing," she said. "I felt like I just turned on the TV and heard breaking news that directly affects me in important ways."
At the meeting, Secretary-Treasurer Thompson explained DOC members' newly-won interest arbitration rights and the impact they will have on people's lives. She also reviewed changes in the new contract for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections.
"Hearing about her meeting with the Governor and how she was able to pull off interest arbitration really inspired me. It's history making - really exciting stuff," Williams said.
Meetings for DOC members are taking place at every facility across the state this summer. Many DOC members may be wondering why they should take the time to come.
Winifred Williams had that questioned answered. "It showed me what the Union can do," she said.