Last week DOC negotiations shifted to economics as your Union presented its initial economic proposal. In making this proposal, your bargaining committee demanded the State recognize the incredible service that correctional employees provide to protect the public.
The proposal included salary increases for all classifications, improvement to shift differential, expansion of the Specialty Team Premium to include Honor Guard, Assignment Pay for Shift Commanders at stand-alone minimums and members working in Specialized Units, as well as cost of living increases for both years of the contract. We expect the State to respond when we meet this week.
In terms of our other proposals, Sally Thiessen, a Shop Steward at SCCC and a member of the bargaining team, summed it up best. “We’re waiting on just about everything we have submitted to them,” she said.
“We are aggressively moving forward with the state, not allowing them to make the changes that can hinder our operation and negatively affect our livelihood and work-life balance. Our leaders are constantly fighting for us,” stated Doug Lambe, a Maintenance Mechanic and Shop Steward at WCCW who also sits at the negotiations table.
The bargaining committee’s frustration is mounting, as the State appears to be ill prepared every time we meet. Because of this, we expect to be in mediation the week of July 23 in hopes of reaching an agreement.
Our next negotiations session will be held on July 17 and July 18 at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila. If you have questions about bargaining, talk to your negotiations committee members or your Union Representative.
Thank you for your service, please stay safe.
Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case, Janus v AFSCME, which threatens our ability as union members to stand together for strong contracts and strong communities.
As expected, the Court overturned a 40-year precedent that protected our freedom to have a united voice at work and ensured that all of us contribute our fair share for the improvements we win together.
Despite the Court’s ruling, our union is resilient and remains strong. We have been preparing for this outcome for over a year with our Family – Strength – Community program. By sticking together, we can continue to improve our wages and protect our rights at work.
The Court may have ruled against us in the Janus case, but as Teamsters we decide how strong our union will be. We will not let the Court or anyone else break our commitment to each other.
WHO’S ATTACKING OUR UNION?
It’s important to remember who is behind this attack on our freedom. For years, wealthy special interests like the so-called “Freedom” Foundation have been trying to destroy our union.
The "Freedom" Foundation lobbied against wage increases for state employees. They oppose our right to paid sick leave and our right to a secure retirement through defined benefit pension plans. We fought their attempts to obtain your personal information through public disclosure.
In the coming weeks, the "Freedom" Foundation may try to convince you to abandon your union membership by saying you can "opt out". They may send mail to your home, contact you on the phone, or even knock on your door.
They'll say you have nothing to lose. The truth is you have everything to lose – your contract, your health benefits, and your rights at work.
But if we stay united, we can continue to win improvements in our workplaces and for our families.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STAY STRONG!
- Wear your "We Decide" solidarity stickers this week at work - you can get them from your shop steward;
- Sign a card committing to your co-workers;
- Attend a Janus Decision Day Solidarity Rally in Tacoma or Seattle;
- Share a post on Facebook or Twitter about why you support our union using the hashtag #UnionStrong;
- Talk to your co-workers about the “Freedom” Foundation's anti-union agenda;
- Visit our union’s website at FamilyStrengthCommunity.org for more information.
Thank you for your service to our communities and for your membership in Teamsters 117.
Check out this video of Shannon Rich talking about the need for union members to stay united. Shanoon is a Local 117 member at the Tacoma Public Library:
Our union negotiations team for DOC wore read to protest the State's proposal to restrict our access to vacation leave.
It was a sea of red at our DOC negotiations this week. Members of our union’s bargaining committee were decked out in red T-shirts, red caps, red sweatshirts and blouses. Our team had deliberately coordinated our dress to protest the State’s proposal to restrict our access to vacation leave.
In the previous negotiations session, the State sought changes to the vacation leave article (Article 21) in our contract to allow DOC management to discipline members who make certain kinds of vacation requests by defining it as unscheduled leave.
Our team was united in rejecting the proposal. To show our unity and send a message to the State, the group decided to wear red for this session. All members participated in the action.
On Thursday, the State made a stab at another idea that was unanimously opposed by our negotiations team. The State proposed designating Visiting as a Specialized Unit.
There are a couple of problems with that. Not only would it erode our bid system and strip members of their right to work in those areas, it wouldn’t address the problems they claim they’re trying to solve.Read more
Our union negotiations team for DOC reacted with anger and disbelief at the State's proposal on vacation leave.
DOC contract negotiations erupted this week when the State presented a proposal seeking to punish members for taking time off from work to spend with their families.
The proposal involves the vacation leave article (Article 21) of our DOC contract. Currently, members have the ability to request accrued vacation in excess of ten consecutive days in three segments per year with the exception of the summer months. This gives members the flexibility to schedule longer stretches of vacation to help mitigate the stress of working inside the prisons.
The State’s proposal would restrict the number of vacation days per segment for the entire year as opposed to the limited restriction between June and August, which exists currently. The employer also wants the ability to discipline members by defining certain vacation requests as unscheduled leave.
“How can they punish us for using vacation time that we’ve accrued? It’s outrageous,” said Teresa Bennett, a pharmacy tech on our union’s negotiations team.
"How can they punish us for using vacation time that we’ve accrued? It’s outrageous."
The State also presented a blatantly anti-union proposal, trying to modify Article 2 to restrict new members access to their union.
The time with new members is critical because it allows shop stewards and union reps to convey the hard-fought victories we have achieved through our union membership, like interest arbitration in our contract, extending assault benefits, and the across-the-board wage increases of 20.3% over the last four years.
At the negotiations table, our union team spoke forcefully about the need to preserve our existing rights under both Article 21 and Article 2. We also pushed the employer to take greater responsibility for reducing scheduling errors that can lead to excessive mandatory overtime.
It’s important to remember that without a union the State could unilaterally implement policy changes that would undermine your rights at work, such as their outrageous proposal to discipline you for using vacation leave.
If you haven’t done so already, please sign a commitment card so that we can preserve our rights as union members to stand together for a strong contract. By signing you are sending a clear message to the State that we are committed to each other and we are united. You can sign online at: www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org/sign.
Our next negotiations session will be held on June 20 and June 21 at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila. If you have questions, talk to your negotiations committee member or union rep.
You can view a short video update from members on the negotiations committee below:
Negotiations between our union team and the State continued this week over our 2019-2021 DOC contract. The meetings took place at our Teamsters Union hall in Tukwila on Wednesday, May 23 and Thursday, May 24.
In our last sessions earlier this month, we established ground rules for negotiations and presented our union’s initial proposals.
In this week’s sessions, the State presented a few initial proposals on Wednesday morning, then requested a break to continue developing additional proposals. Much of Thursday’s discussion revolved around overtime and shared leave.
In our union caucus, we continued to refine our language proposals. We also focused on alerting members to attempts by the “Freedom” Foundation to divide our union at this critical time.
You can read the committee's joint statement here. DOC members will be receiving the statement in the mail in the coming days.
“The Freedom Foundation is trying to split our union,” said Teresa Bennett, a pharmacy tech and shop steward on the negotiations committee. “Don’t fall for their mailings – they are confusing and false. We need to stand together and not be divided."
"We need to stand together and not be divided."
Our next negotiations session will take place on June 5 and 6 at the Union Hall in Tukwila. If you have questions, please contact your bargaining committee member or union representative.
Thank you for your service to our communities. Please stay safe.
During contract negotiations, we are most effective when we are united. Our unity allows us to achieve higher wages, better working conditions, and a safer workplace for all Teamsters.
The last thing we need when we’re bargaining with the State or any other employer is for an outside group to try to divide us. But that’s exactly what the so-called “Freedom” Foundation is trying to do.
The “Freedom” Foundation is an anti-worker think tank that has used lax public disclosure laws to get ahold of the personal information of our members at the Department of Corrections. Now they’re using that information to send DOC members mailers trying to trick them into abandoning their union.
In a mailer sent this week, they claim members lose nothing by abandoning their membership. The truth is you have everything to lose – your wages, your benefits, and your power to negotiate a strong contract.
The Freedom Foundation fought AGAINST wage increases for DOC Teamsters. They want to privatize public services and outsource public sector jobs.
The best way we can protect ourselves is by standing together. Talk to your co-workers and make sure they don’t fall for the misleading information.
Show the Freedom Foundation that we are united and won’t be manipulated. If you haven't done so already, sign a commitment card to protect your freedom to have a strong contract and a strong union.
If you have questions, please talk to your Shop Steward or Union Representative or visit www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.
This week is National Correctional Officers Week, a time to honor Teamster correctional officers as well as all other DOC Teamsters who serve communities across Washington State.
These are the workers who staff our state’s prisons. They are officers, sergeants, nurses, counselors, psychologists, chaplains, dentists, clerical staff, maintenance staff, and many others. They perform challenging, oftentimes dangerous work to serve the public and keep all of us safe.
Corrections is vital public service, yet corrections employees often receive little recognition for the critical work they perform. Few people know what goes on behind prison walls and many have misconceptions based on negative portrayals in movies and the media.
The truth is that corrections employees are everyday heroes. They put their lives on the line every day to oversee, train, counsel, rehabilitate, and care for convicted felons.
Many are veterans who have served our country in the military and are continuing their public service back home. They are often the first to volunteer when disaster strikes as our members did during the Oso landslide disaster in 2014. They volunteer in their kids’ schools, coach little league baseball, lend a hand at local food banks, and are an active force in building strong, safe communities.
Thank you Teamster corrections employees for your integrity, professionalism, character, and strength as you perform essential, challenging work in a dangerous environment. We are grateful for your service.
Last week the so-called “Freedom” Foundation sent out a mailer to all DOC Teamsters trying to stop us from signing commitment cards that strengthen our union.
The Freedom Foundation is an anti-union think tank funded by wealthy special interests. They want to convince us not to sign the cards so they can weaken our ability to stand together for better wages and benefits.
They’ve used lax public disclosure laws to get ahold of your personal information. Now they’re trying to divide DOC staff at a critical time - just as our union’s contract negotiations are getting started with the State. They’re using the expected ruling on the Janus court case to weaken our union.
Don’t be fooled! The Freedom Foundation has fought AGAINST wage increases for DOC Teamsters. Their goal is to defund our union, privatize public services, and outsource public sector jobs.
With DOC contract negotiations and the Janus ruling coming up, it’s more important than ever for us to stand together, stay united, and commit to each other.
Show the “Freedom” Foundation that we will not be fooled and weakened by their tactics. Click here to sign a commitment card and protect your freedom to stand together with your co-workers for a strong union.
Learn more at www.FamilyStrengthCommunity.org.
Our DOC bargaining committee met with the State on May 2 to begin negotiations over our 2019-2021 contract.
Our outstanding bargaining team of 21 rank-and-file DOC Teamsters gathered yesterday at the union hall in Tukwila to finalize our proposals for upcoming contract negotiations.
“We looked over the contract and determined what articles we would open based on the wishes of the members,” said Becky HaneyNixon, a classification counselor at the Washington State Penitentiary.
“I think we’re going to have really good representation,” added Lynn Kunkle, a registered nurse at the Monroe Correctional Complex. “We’re not here for one, we’re here for all.”
Sergeants, officers, nurses, counselors, cooks, a mechanic, a pharmacy technician, and a ferry operator will join union representatives and our union’s legal counsel to negotiate with the State over your 2019-2021 DOC contract.Read more
Brothers and Sisters -
As your union's Secretary-Treasurer, I've had the privilege over the last several weeks to attend many of the contract proposal meetings across the state as we prepare for upcoming negotiations over our 2019-2021 Department of Corrections contract.
At those meetings, I spoke with many of you about the challenges you face in the workplace and improvements you would like to see in our contract.
I want to thank you personally for talking openly about your concerns. The input that so many of you provided, both at our meetings and in contract surveys, has been invaluable in helping our union bargaining team develop meaningful proposals for these negotiations.
Negotiations with the State officially get underway next week. On Tuesday, May 1, our union team, which consists of 21 member leaders from facilities across the state, will meet independently to finalize our proposals. We will be across the table from the State for the first time on May 2.Read more