Brothers and Sisters:
Over the last several months, we have seen some exciting developments for Teamsters at the DOC:
- Funding was secured in the State’s supplemental budget to open the new medium unit at the Washington State Penitentiary;
- The State Auditor’s office announced that it would be conducting a full-scale performance audit of the DOC that will examine staffing levels and other issues;
- Rep. Mike Sells urged the Attorney General’s office to provide an opinion regarding supplemental pension that could positively impact DOC members’ retirement security;
- Teamsters 117 members testified in numerous hearings in Olympia in support of bills that impact DOC families;
- DOC Shop Stewards achieved record returns on contract surveys for upcoming negotiations.
None of this would have been possible without members getting involved in their Union. In each case, members made phone calls to legislators, met with their representatives in district and in Olympia, spoke out in legislative hearings, and ensured that contract surveys were completed and returned.
Member involvement is key to our success. If members do not get involved, our power as a Union is limited.
This April, we will begin contract negotiations with the State over your 2015-2017 collective bargaining agreement. Our new interest arbitration rights will provide us with the best opportunity in years to make strides in our contract.
But interest arbitration is limited to the term of the contract. To achieve long-term interest arbitration rights, all 6,000 of us will need to work together. That means talking to your legislators, participating in our political action committees, coming to Olympia for lobby day, and standing together on the steps of the State Capitol, demanding respect. If all of us are willing to get involved, we will win interest arbitration. In fact, there is nothing that we can’t achieve.
Thank you for your service, and remember to be safe.
Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement