Reyes---Photo2.jpgWHEN WE FIGHT….WE WIN! This is the Teamster slogan which echoed through the halls of our Lobby Day rally point in Olympia, Washington. 

With a room full of over 200 Department of Corrections members, Teamsters 117 personnel, and their families, January 27 became an important day with one specific goal. This goal mirrored itself in the minds of all present and those unable to physically be present but who sent their best wishes. 

Our goal was to show the legislature that we are affected by the decisions they make and that we will stand up and have our voices heard.  We wanted those with the ability to create change to see the true faces of corrections. 

Corrections should not be viewed as a bill, a contract needing ratification, or words on a piece of paper, but rather it should be viewed for exactly what it is. 

Corrections is made up of the men and women who together keep our public safe and who operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without the ability to hang the CLOSED sign on the window. 

Corrections is made up of people who must wear different masks and facilitate different roles.  Correctional employees do not have the luxury of a guaranteed return home after a long day of work but must operate with a heightened sense of awareness to deal with situations that are both dangerous and unpredictable. 

Therefore we ask that our contract be funded so that we are compensated for the job we do. 

The turnout for Lobby day was impressive to say the least.  Logistics did an excellent job at organizing the event that we could not help but be “pumped” for the opportunity to have our voices heard. 

Knowing that wherever we turned we were surrounded by our Teamster brothers and sisters only fueled the excitement because we knew we had the support of each other.  

We were able to speak our minds to the senators and representatives of each of our districts who, for the most part with the exception of a few, were receptive to our concerns and our request for their support in funding our contract. 

Lobby Day was not about an individual gain or an individual institution, but rather Lobby day was about a collective gain. 

Teamsters 117 ….we need to continue to be informed, involved, and ready to fight, because until our contract is funded we are not done for this round.  

Solidarity is a must because it is what makes us louder, stronger, and powerful.  I encourage all to meet with your local shop stewards and business representatives and find out what is next.   Be proactive.   

Call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and tell your legislators to fund the contract.