The interest arbitration hearing for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections got underway at 9:30 A.M yesterday morning at the Teamsters Union hall in Tukwila.  The arbitrator – Howell Lankford – began by discussing some procedural issues and describing how the hearing will be conducted. 

The hearing will function much like a trial.  The parties can call, question, and cross-examine witnesses who provide sworn testimony.   The arbitrator will review the testimony and supporting evidence and ultimately issue an award, which will need to be funded by the Washington State legislature.

After preliminary issues were discussed, the parties presented their opening statements.  Your Union’s General Counsel, Spencer Thal, began.  Thal’s opening statement, which lasted about 20 minutes, provided a comprehensive overview of the Union’s arguments that will be made over the course of the hearing.  Your Union formally requested that we make the statement available to members online in video and in written format.  The State has agreed, but is insisting that we wait to publish it until the hearing ends two weeks from now.  Once that statement is posted online, we will let you know. 

After opening statements, the State, which will be presenting its case first, began calling witnesses.  The State called two witnesses yesterday - Deputy Prisons Director, Scott Frakes, and OFM’s Senior Budget Assistant Richard Pannkuk.  Your Union had the opportunity to cross-examine the State’s witnesses.

The hearing is scheduled to run for two weeks.  Your Union’s legal team will likely begin presenting its case this Wednesday or Thursday.

If you would like to attend part of the hearing, please contact your Business Representative.   To stay informed during the hearing, visit your Union’s website and sign up for text message updates to your mobile phone by texting DOC to 206-452-1840.