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Our Union's Legislative Priorities - 2020

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A 60-day legislative session kicked off on January 13 in Olympia where lawmakers will be making critical decisions that impact members of Teamsters 117 and their families.

As always, our Union will have a strong presence in Olympia. We will be working to hold politicians accountable and pass bills that help workers, increase government accountability, and protect the health and safety of working families in Washington State.

Teamsters 117 employs a full-time Legislative Affairs Director, Brenda Wiest, who will be on the ground in Olympia working to protect the rights of Local 117 members and their families. Brenda works closely with Political Action Director, Dustin Lambro, who is organizing opportunities throughout session for members to speak directly with their legislators about critical issues.

Our Teamsters 117 Lobby Day will be held on February 12-13, 2020. You can register for the event online or contact Dustin at 206-794-2606 for more information.

OUR 2020 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

PRIORITIES FOR STATE EMPLOYEES

  • FUNDING ADDITIONAL CUSTODY AND HEALTHCARE POSITIONS AT DOC - Supplemental budget funding to increase the number of custody and healthcare staff at DOC is imperative. The Staffing Audit identified several flaws in the current DOC Staffing Model. Understaffing has put a strain on workers burdened by excessive overtime, which leads to unsafe working conditions inside the prison system and an increased likelihood of errors in the healthcare of incarcerated individuals. We support the Governor’s budget which adds money to increase staff at DOC.
  • PEER-TO-PEER COUNSELING FOR DOC - DOC staff are often witness to terrible trauma inside the adult prison system. We are seeking to pass a bill that will create a privileged relationship between staff that access the peer support team to allow open dialogue during a member’s moment of need without fear of disclosure. This will create parity between the DOC and other county corrections and law enforcement jurisdictions.
  • WORKER PROTECTION ACT - We have many great workplace protections—wage and hour, equal pay, health and safety, and anti-discrimination laws. But enforcement agencies often have years-long backlogs and the federal government limits what tools workers have to achieve justice. HB 1965, the Worker Protection Act, creates a pathway for workers to blow the whistle when current laws are violated, while generating resources for stronger state enforcement.
  • PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PRIVACY - Our state has robust public disclosure laws, but ones that can expose the personal and financial information of public workers to scam artists. HB 1888 takes common-sense steps to safeguard personal data—like birthdays and data that reveal addresses—to protect public workers’ safety and guard against identity theft and fraud.
  • IMPROVEMENTS TO LEAVE FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES - We will be working on several bills this session that improve leave for public employees by raising the cap on leave, allowing injured workers to access shared leave, and giving employees earlier access to leave. 
  • IMPROVEMENTS TO DEATH AND DISABILITY BENEFITS UNDER PSERS - We support policy that will create parity between DOC and other public safety personnel by improving Death and Disability benefits for PSERS members.

OTHER WORKER PRIORITIES

  • WORKER PROTECTION ACT - We have many great workplace protections—wage and hour, equal pay, health and safety, and anti-discrimination laws. But enforcement agencies often have years-long backlogs and the federal government limits what tools workers have to achieve justice. HB 1965, the Worker Protection Act, creates a pathway for workers to blow the whistle when current laws are violated, while generating resources for stronger state enforcement.
  • OVERTIME PROTECTIONS — This year, the Department of Labor and Industries updated overtime rules for the first time in 40 years and restored protections for thousands of salaried workers. Restoring overtime helps working families by honoring and respecting people’s time — that’s good for workers and our economy. Teamsters 117 will oppose any attempt to erode, roll back, or limit L&I’s ability to maintain overtime protections.
  • THIRD PARTY ADMINISTRATOR REFORM — TPAs are supposed to provide case management expertise for self-insured employers and Retrospective Rating program participants. Unfortunately, they are often used to suppress workers’ compensation claims and undermine injured workers’ ability to get the wage replacement and medical benefits they are due.
  • INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAM REFORM — Too often employers and the Department of Labor and Industries require unnecessary and invasive Independent Medical Exams for injured workers trying to heal and return to work. New workers’ compensation policies should limit how often IMEs can be requested when other sufficient medical information is available.
  • AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - Requires that persons or entities testing autonomous vehicles or autonomous vehicle technology equipment under the Department of Licensing’s Self Certification Pilot Project shall maintain with the Department of Licensing proof of an umbrella liability insurance policy in an amount not less than five million dollars per occurrence for damages by reason of bodily injury, death, or property damage in addition to the  financial responsibility requirements in accordance with RCW 46.30.020.
  • EMPLOYEE PERSONAL VEHICLE SEARCHES HB 2239 - Prohibits certain searches of employee vehicles in employer parking areas. Specifies an employee right of possession of property within their vehicles in employer parking areas. Provides for investigations and potential civil penalties by the Department of Labor and Industries.

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