Shari Carter, a single mom who has worked for Pierce County for 21 years, is one one the workers whom Pierce County is denying a fair contract.
When Pierce County proposed wage freezes for its workers, Shari Carter, an Office Assistant Supervisor at the Assessor Treasure’s office was shocked and dismayed. The union has been in bargaining with Pierce County since fall of 2021, but the County has yet to put forth a fair contract proposal for its workers. Now Teamsters’ patience is running out.
In 2017, the County spent a quarter million dollars to conduct a study that deemed Shari and fourteen of her co-workers, predominantly women and many people of color, undeserving of a raise. Since then, the world has changed with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the nation. Many county workers stayed home to work remotely, but Shari and her team could not. They went to work every day, interacting with Pierce county residents who still needed their expert help figuring out the regulations and property taxes. They also picked up extra work from folks who were able to stay home during Covid.
“It is frustrating to see the County not valuing our contribution to the public and not being concerned about our families and wellbeing. They are relying on an outdated study to hurt our livelihoods.”
“I love helping people and working with the public, and we’re under great pressure to get things right. We deal with state laws and regulations. People depend on us to figure complex calculations,” said Shari, who has worked with the County for 21 years.
Then inflation hit. Along with other Washingtonians, Shari watched prices skyrocket to the largest 12-month cost of living increase in forty years. Meanwhile, her team was working overtime with no overtime pay. As the County Executive, Bruce Dammeier, insists on freezing her wages, for Shari it feels like the last straw.
“It is frustrating to see the County not valuing our contribution to the public and not being concerned about our families and wellbeing. They are relying on an outdated study to hurt our livelihoods. I am a single mom, and I have bills to pay,” she said.
Office assistants are not the only Pierce County Teamsters denied a fair contract. From accountants to forensic investigators to legal, Teamsters covered by a Pierce County contract maintain parks and public facilities and even do outreach to veterans. Now they are raising their voice against the callousness of the County Executive and organizing a picketing action on Tuesday, May 17th to fight for their dignity and bring awareness to their struggle. You can join them at 11am at the County City Building (930 Tacoma Ave, Tacoma).
“The County Exec needs to go back and reassess our work at our current point in time, not using outdated figures,” Shari concludes. “I will be on the picket line to let him know that we deserve a fair contract!”
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