It’s political season again, as lawmakers in Washington State have headed back to Olympia for the start of the 2019 legislative session. This is a budget year, which calls for a long session – 105 days, running from January 14 through April 28, 2019. 

Over the last few years, our union has built a strong voice in Olympia. Participation at our annual lobby day has grown from a few dozen a decade ago to over 200 members and their families at last year’s event.  With a stronger voice, we’ve been able to achieve legislative change that has benefited workers across our state. We’ve funded contracts for state employees and passed bills that have made our workplaces safer and more secure.

Our collective power is a direct result of member involvement, and in 2019 there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved.

Our Legislative Affairs Director, Brenda Wiest, will be on the ground throughout session meeting with legislators and our labor partners to advocate on behalf of members of Teamsters 117. Dustin Lambro, our union’s Political Director, will be mobilizing members to testify before legislative committees and coordinating lobby visits so that members can take their concerns directly to legislators.

Dustin is also the point person for our upcoming Legislative Reception & Lobby Day on February 26-27 when members will participate in dozens of meetings with state lawmakers. To join us for the event, please register online here. The deadline to register is February 4.

Our union’s priorities for the 2019 legislative session are as follows:

  • Interest Arbitration Rights for DOC – Interest arbitration gives our union the ability to move mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator should we reach impasse in negotiations with the State. It is a right commonly granted public safety personnel who do not have the ability to strike, such as the Washington State Patrol. We achieved interest arbitration through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Governor in 2014 and negotiated it into our 2017-2019 and 2019-2021 contracts. It is time to codify this right in statute.
  • Fund our DOC and UW Police Contracts – We will be working in a coalition of state employee unions to ensure that legislators recognize our public servants by funding state employee contracts.
  • Interest Arbitration Rights for Campus Police – Campus police in our state, including members of Teamsters 117 working at the University of Washington Police Department, should have access to interest arbitration rights just as other commissioned law enforcement officers do.
  • Preserve Concealed Carry for Trained Corrections Staff – Amend RCW 9.41.060 to extend the right for trained correctional personnel to carry concealed weapons without a permit as other law enforcement personnel are able to do.

Check in on our union’s website for updates on the progress of our legislative priorities and on bills that impact members of Teamsters 117. If you have questions, please talk to your union representative or contact Political Director Dustin Lambro at 206-441-4860 x1262.