Teamsters gather on the steps of the State Capitol in Olympia during our Lobby Day event on February 13.
The 2018 legislative session wrapped up yesterday with some historic wins for workers.
The legislature passed a number of measures that expand our rights in the workplace and protect working families. For members of our union, we were successful in achieving many of our legislative priorities.
Thanks to your efforts at our lobby day in February, we secured funding in the budget for an external audit of staffing levels at the Department of Corrections.
This represents a major victory for our DOC members. The DOC has been operating under a staffing model that has not been reviewed in 30 years.
The current model does not account for the deficiencies of the aging facilities and the additional demands placed on staff through previous legislative change. This has led to serious safety concerns in an already dangerous environment.
An audit at the DOC is an important step in making our prisons safer for the staff who risk their lives to protect us.
Several hundred DOC members will also benefit from a bill (HB 1558) that provides greater retirement security through a modest expansion of the Public Safety Employees' Retirement System (PSERS).
Through our lobbying efforts, Local 117 members were instrumental in helping to pass a measure (SB 6229) that carves out time for unions to provide orientation to new employees.
Some additional highlights include the passage of laws that ensure gender equity in the workplace (HB 1506), remove barriers to voting (SB 6002), and expand workers' comp insurance coverage for law enforcement (SB 1614) and for Hanford workers suffering from occupational disease (HB 1773).
Many of these bills had been languishing in Olympia for years. Thanks to your lobby visits, phone calls and emails, and a new worker-friendly majority in the legislature, we are seeing many policy changes that will strengthen our communities and make a difference in the lives of working families.
Thanks also to Brenda Wiest, our outstanding Director of Legislative Affairs, who spent countless hours in Olympia representing the rights of Local 117 members. We couldn't have done it without Brenda's expertise!