Members of DOC bargaining committee 2020 (left to right): Kimberly Cook, Christopher Lukens, Becky HaneyNixon, James Deuel.
Last Thursday and Friday, our Union Bargaining Committee met with the State to begin negotiations over our 2021-2023 contract with the DOC.
Our Union team consists of 19 rank-and-file members from facilities across the State along with 7 Teamster staff members.
These negotiations are unlike anything we've experienced before. Due to the coronavirus crisis, all bargaining sessions are conducted remotely using Zoom. Ordinarily, our Union team would have passed an initial comprehensive language proposal at the outset of negotiations. Instead, our discussions on both days revolved around the impact of COVID-19 and the State’s budget problems.
As you know, the operational impact on the agency has been profound. This is especially true given the recent outbreak at Coyote Ridge and the establishment of Regional Care Facilities at AHCC, MCC, and WCC.
In Thursday's negotiation session, we spent most of the day discussing the Governor's announcement to eliminate raises and issue mandatory furloughs for some State employees. As expected, we received confirmation that your 4% general wage increase is secure. We also have strong legal footing that protects us against the Governor's unilateral furloughs.
At the direction of your rank and file bargaining committee, we have reached an agreement with the State on a Memorandum of Understanding. We did not agree to allow the State to impose mandatory furloughs. Rather, our agreement will allow bargaining unit members to participate in furloughs through a volunteer process as outlined in your Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Bargaining unit members who volunteer to be furloughed will be eligible to receive unemployment benefits to help offset the impact of the reduced hours. The State will apply to participate in the SharedWork program which allows employees to collect partial unemployment while their work hours are reduced. This option of applying for voluntary lay-offs and/or reduction in work hours will be available through July 25th, 2020. Additionally, members may qualify for up to an additional $600 per week through the C.A.R.E.S. Act during this time.
The State will work with Employment Security Department (ESD) for educational guidance and assistance with the application process. Please look for information from the agency with the details on how to apply.
These furloughs are not mandatory for Teamsters and members must utilize this form to volunteer to participate.
Your Teamsters contract is strong and protects you from the mandatory 1 day per week furloughs. However, the severity of the crisis that has profoundly impacted our lives and the projected Washington State budget deficit of $8.8 billion is real. With access to the SharedWork program, coupled with the additional benefit of the $600 per week through the C.A.R.E.S. Act, we encourage each of you to assess whether or not you are able and eligible to apply.
If you have questions, please speak with a member on your Union Negotiations Committee. For questions about voluntary furloughs, please contact your local HR department. Our next negotiation sessions are scheduled for July 1-2.
You may have seen in the news that the Governor has announced he is cancelling raises and issuing mandatory furloughs for some state employees.
As Teamsters, we have strong protections in our collective bargaining agreement and through the interest arbitration process that require the State to negotiate with us over issues related to economics. As a result, the Governor cannot furlough our members without the State first engaging us in negotiations. This is good news for members of Teamsters 117.
We were also notified that some State employees just had their raises cancelled. However, as a Teamster, you are receiving your 4% general wage increase effective July 1.
Our Union is strong, but our strength is not something that can be taken for granted.Read more
We have received a lot of questions and concerns about how the pandemic might impact the previously negotiated general wage increase for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections.
As a reminder, in our last round of contract negotiations, we achieved an 8% general wage increase for DOC Teamsters over the 2019-2021 biennium. This compares to a 6% increase for general government employees. Any change to what was achieved through collective bargaining and the interest arbitration process would require legislative action.
Although we do not anticipate that happening, it is not outside the realm of possibility given the magnitude of the crisis. You may have even seen in the news that some, including the Seattle Times editorial board, are calling on the legislature to cancel your raises.
As things currently stand, it appears that the crisis will not impact your scheduled wage increase, and you will receive your 4% general wage increase effective July 1.Read more
Our Union Bargaining Committee headed into contract negotiations with the State this week over our 2021-2023 DOC collective bargaining agreement for Teamsters at the DOC.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, negotiations are being held using Zoom, an online video conferencing platform.
On Wednesday, May 27, our Union Team met with the State for a training on the new technology and to establish ground rules for negotiations.
On May 28, our Union Committee met independently to review the results from the member survey we conducted and to begin to establish our initial proposals based on your input. Please view the entire schedule for negotiations below.
DOC contract negotiations dates
- May 27, 2020 (Zoom training day)
- May 28, 2020 (Union committee prep day)
- June 17-18, 2020
- July 1-2, 2020
- July 15-16, 2020
- July 22-23, 2020
- July 27-31, 2020
Joining us on our Union Negotiations Committee are all Teamsters 117 Union Representatives along with rank-and-file Shop Stewards from facilities across the State. I will be leading negotiations for the Union together with Eamon McCleery, our Union's staff attorney, and DOC Coordinator Sarena Davis.
Our 2020 DOC Union Negotiations Committee
- Michelle Woodrow, Teamsters 117 - President
- Eamon McCleery, Teamsters 117 - Staff Attorney
- Sarena Davis, DOC Coordinator
- Talisa Boad, Union Representative
- Cheryl Miller, Union Representative
- Fred Rodgers, Union Representative
- Wesley Wilson, Union Representative
- Corey Doty, AHCC – CS3
- Edward Smith, AHCC – CO2
- Sheryl Green, AHCC – RN2
- Christopher Lukens, CBCC – MM4
- Daniel Abercrombie, CRCC – CO2
- Brooke Hays, CRCC – CC2
- Shawn Piliponis, LCC – CC2
- Paul Moore, MCC – RN3
- Jason Heuer, MCC – CO3
- James Yadon, MCC – CO2
- Alena McGowan-Folsom, MCCCW – AC Cook
- Jesse Reese, SCCC – CO2
- Gregg Peterson, SCCC – CO2
- Tony Tellez, WCC – CISA
- James Deuel, WCC – CO2
- Kimberly Cook, WCCW – CO2
- Christopher Malone, WSP – CO2
- William Teepe, WSP – CO2
- Becky HaneyNixon, WSP – CC3
Given the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the State budget, we anticipate that these will be challenging negotiations and may raise issues that we have not dealt with in the past. We will provide regular updates for you as negotiations progress.
If you have questions, please reach out to members on the Bargaining Committee or your Union Representative
Thank you for the invaluable service you are providing our communities. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones and remember to stay healthy and safe during this crisis and beyond.
Michelle Woodrow, President and Executive Director of Teamsters 117, issued the following statement regarding the COVID-19 related death of Officer Berisford Morse of the Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC):
To prepare for upcoming negotiations over our 2021-2023 collective bargaining agreement, we will be hosting virtual Contract Proposal Meetings for all DOC Teamsters.
The meetings will take place this Wednesday, April 15 at 0800, 1200, and 1600 using Zoom, an online video conferencing platform.
You will have the opportunity to participate in the meetings by video using your electronic device or by telephone. To register for a meeting, please click on one of the links below:
DOC CONTRACT PROPOSAL MEETINGS
Wednesday, April 15 at 0800
Wednesday, April 15 at 1200
Wednesday, April 15 at 1600
To learn more about what we've achieved through contract negotiations and why it's so important for your voice to be included in the process, view our Stand for a Strong Contract tri-fold here.
Please contact your Union Representative if you have questions. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible this Wednesday!
Michelle Woodrow, President and Executive Director of Teamsters 117, issued the following statement regarding the incident that took place last night at the Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC):
As the Department of Corrections struggles to manage the COVID-19 crisis, we have been working on many fronts to advocate on your behalf.
To summarize some of the work of our Union since the coronavirus pandemic began, I've created a video message for all DOC Teamsters.
In the video, I describe our work around issues such as DOC's initial and secondary screening processes, additional leave we've secured through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and more.
Throughout this crisis, we've been in constant communication with the Governor's Office, OFM, and the Department to make sure they are prioritizing your health and safety. Our Union Representatives and Shop Stewards are working incredibly hard to protect you and your co-workers. If you have an issue around safety in the workplace, please contact your Union Representative to report it.
Please also remember that, with contract negotiations scheduled to begin this year over our 2021-2023 collective bargaining agreement, we will be holding Virtual Contract Proposal Meetings on April 15.
I will be sending you an invitation to register for the meetings soon using Zoom, an online video and telephonic conferencing platform.
You can watch the video here:
We have some fantastic news to share for Teamsters at the DOC.
Our Union has secured emergency Paid Sick Leave and expanded Family Medical Leave for ALL Teamsters 117 corrections members in Washington State under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, federal legislation that takes effect today.
The federal legislation does not require all public employers to provide the emergency leave and expressly says that correctional institution personnel may be excluded. So for us to secure coverage under the new law for you and your family is a major win.
Over the last several days, we have worked hard to convince the Governor, the Office of Financial Management (OFM), and the Department that you should be covered under the new law.
This is an incredibly important win for you and your family. It helps recognize the critical health and safety work you are providing the community at this time of crisis.
With this benefit, comes shared responsibility. Your Union advocated vigorously for this benefit to be used if you are sick or facing a family crisis. Please use the emergency leave judiciously and in careful consideration of your DOC co-workers who are working tirelessly to keep all of us healthy and safe.
Below please find a brief summary of what you are entitled to under the law. For more detailed information, refer to the Department of Labor's informational flyer or OFM's website. If you need to utilize this leave, please contact your local Human Resources office with any questions.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
Emergency Family Medical Leave
- Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we had to cancel all of our Union's in-person Contract Proposal Meetings for Teamsters at the DOC.
The purpose of those meetings was to give you an opportunity to provide additional feedback so that we can develop meaningful proposals as we prepare for upcoming contract negotiations with the State over our 2021-2023 collective bargaining agreement.
To replace those meetings, we have scheduled virtual meetings to take place on Wednesday, April 15. Virtual Contract Proposal Meetings for all DOC Teamsters will take place on April 15 at 0800, 1200, and 1600 using a virtual conferencing platform.
We will be sending out an email with information about how to access the virtual meetings. If you have questions, please reach out to your Union Representative.
We are incredibly proud of the work you and your Teamsters co-workers at the DOC are doing to keep our communities healthy and safe at this time of crisis.
Thank you for your service.