We wanted to keep you updated on actions we’ve taken to protect your rights under our collective bargaining agreement and under state law.
At the beginning of this year, DOC unilaterally changed the way they process vacation requests at some DOC facilities. This has resulted in the Department denying many requests that they previously would have approved.
We believe that DOC’s newly-established vacation selection procedures constitute both a violation of our contract and a violation of the Washington State law that requires your employer to negotiate with the Union over changes to working conditions.
Our Union’s legal team is fighting the Department on both fronts. On January 30, we filed a grievance over the issue and this week held a first-step grievance meeting with DOC administrators at Headquarters. In that meeting, DOC showed a complete unwillingness to resolve the issue, suggesting that we will likely be headed to arbitration.
We have also filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) requesting that DOC be required to return to the previous vacation selection system. PERC has issued a preliminary ruling stating that they intend to investigate the case and are in the process of scheduling a hearing.
Thank you to all of you who have spoken out on this issue and reported the Department’s violations. We will keep you updated as soon as we have more information. If you have questions, please reach out to your Shop Steward or Union Representative.