Our DOC members led the way this session with hundreds of visits with legislators.

The 2024 legislative session yielded big wins for workers across Washington State. A coalition of labor unions, with Teamsters 117 as a key player, helped push through a number of bills that will expand and protect the rights of working families. 

Critical to our success was the participation of hundreds of rank-and-file Teamsters who brought their demands directly to legislators at two lobby day events.

"Despite the condensed timeframe of a 60-day session, we were able to accomplish a tremendous amount," said Brenda Wiest, Vice President and Legislative Director of Teamsters 117. "Workers have a lot of reasons to celebrate."


Chiefly among those was the passage of SB 5578, the Employee Free Choice Act. The bill, which was one of labor's top priorities, renders unlawful captive audience meetings that workers are frequently subjected to during union organizing drives.

Check out the primer from Local 117's Political Organizer Guillermo Mogollan:

"Mandatory, on-the-clock meetings designed to malign the union and intimidate workers have long been part of employers' union-busting playbook," Wiest said. "SB 5578 consigns that harmful practice to the dustbin right where it belongs."     

Under the new law, workers in Washington State who refuse to attend such meetings can't be disciplined or face any adverse action from their employer.


Another victory, one that impacts a particular group of Teamsters, was the passage of SB 5808, which grants interest arbitration rights to 911 telecommunicators. 

Samantha Grad, our Political Director, gives a rundown of the bill:

Under the law, if our 911 calltakers and dispatchers are unable to reach an agreement with their employer in negotiations, they can take their proposals to a neutral third-party arbitrator who will hear from both the employer and the union before issuing an impartial ruling.

Kris Woodrow (l) of South Sound 911 together with our Union's Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement Sarena Davis.

Tanya McCampbell, a 27-year Teamster at South Sound 911, testified in support of the bill before a committee of legislators: "In recent years we’ve faced a severe staffing crisis which has led to a decreased quality of life. We're asking that you allow us to level the playing field so we can find solutions to the problems we face."


The telecommunicators bill will improve the quality of life of first responders as will another bill - HB 2311, which passed unanimously out of the House and Senate and is headed to the Governor's desk for signature.

Known as the First Responder Wellness Bill, HB 2311 establishes a task force to strengthen and expand community mental health services, peer support counseling, and wellness services for our first responders.

More mental health services for first responders was one of MCC Teamsters' Jennifer Ifanse's top priorities at our DOC lobby day.

The bill provides a lifeline of additional resources for 6,000 Teamsters working at the Department of Corrections as well as for our members in law enforcement. It also benefits our 911 dispatchers and calltakers, who, thanks to the work of our Union's political program, were classified as first responders through legislation passed in 2022.


Labor's voice in Olympia this year culminated with a massive rally of workers on the steps of the State Capitol. Union members, including nearly one hundred Teamsters, gathered in the pouring rain, chanting, "Get up, get down! Olympia is a Union town!" Workers were calling on legislators to pass HB 1893, a bill to provide access to unemployment insurance for striking workers.

Kendra Mitchell-Smith (l), a Teamster at Canteen Vending rallied with an IATSE member on the steps of the Capitol.

While the bill unfortunately died in the Senate in the final week of session, it's likely to come roaring back next year. "We're going to bring it back, strengthen and expand the window for benefits, and get it passed," Wiest said.

The last days of session were by no means a loss for workers, however, as our partners at Drivers Union celebrated a huge victory with the passage of HB 2382. The bill provides survivor death benefits for the families of Uber and Lyft drivers who are killed on the job regardless of whether they have a passenger in their vehicle or are waiting for a trip.

With several tragic deaths of drivers over the last few years, these protections are essential.

Drivers Union members like Ahmed Alshamanie (l) helped pass a bill that benefits families of Uber and Lyft drivers.


Check out more pro-labor bills our Union helped pass this legislative session:

PFML Medical Authorization Fixes (HB 2102)

Requires health care providers to provide a certification of a serious health condition required for benefits eligibility under the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Program within seven calendar days of receiving patient authorization.

Expanding Family Definitions for Paid Sick Leave (SB 5793)

An employee or TNC driver may use paid sick leave when their child's school or place of care is closed after the declaration of an emergency by a local or state government or agency, or by the federal government. The definition of family member is expanded for purposes of using paid sick leave.

Prohibiting Discrimination (HB 1905)

It is now a violation of the EPOA for an employer to discriminate in compensation or career advancement opportunities against similarly employed employees based on the employee's membership in a protected class. A person may bring a claim under the EPOA based on the person's membership in more than one protected class.

PERC Cards (SB 6060)

For any new organizing petition to form a new bargaining unit of currently unrepresented workers or to add unrepresented workers to an existing bargaining unit, regardless of whether the election is by mail ballot or cross-check, PERC must accept electronic signatures, subject to rules adopted by PERC.

Vacation Leave Accrual (HB 2246)

The annual cap on the accrual of unused vacation leave for state employees is increase to 280 hours. Plan 1 Cola 1985 Provides a one-time 3 percent increase to the retirement benefits of retirees in the Public Employees' Retirement System and the Teachers' Retirement System Plan 1, up to $110 per month.