Kris Woodrow (l) of South Sound 911 together with our Union's Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement Sarena Davis (r).
911 telecommunicators dedicate their lives to guiding people through their most harrowing moments, but their own struggles often go unheard. That's why SB 5808, granting 911 telecommunicators interest arbitration rights, is not just a bill – it's a lifeline.
"We play a critical role in public safety," said Brandy Clift, a Local 117 member who testified in support of the bill last week. "The demanding nature of our job necessitates fair compensation and labor practices."
Brandy, like many of her colleagues, faces immense pressure every day – handling multiple calls simultaneously, dealing with volatile situations, and making split-second decisions that could mean life or death. Yet, their wages and working conditions often don't reflect the gravity of their roles.
"We need interest arbitration, the same as the majority of our public safety professions already have," emphasized Kris Woodrow, a telecommunicator at South Sound 911 with 31 years of service. "We need to have an impartial body step in when labor and management cannot reach equal and fair resolutions."
SB 5808 provides a crucial tool for achieving this fairness. Interest arbitration offers a neutral platform for negotiations, ensuring both sides are heard. It breaks the cycle of one-sided bargaining, where telecommunicators' voices are often drowned out by management.
For Tanya McCampbell, who has worked in the profession for 27 years, addressing chronic understaffing at the agency is paramount: "In recent years we’ve face 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."
Thanks to Senator Kevin Van De Wege (24th LD), a career firefighter and strong supporter of public safety, for his sponsorship of this bill.
Please contact your legislators to voice your support of SB 5808 by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. You can view Brandy, Kris, and Tanya's testimony below:
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