During our last DOC Retirement Committee meeting, members of the committee developed a survey to solicit your feedback about retirement.
The survey takes just a few minutes to complete and will help the committee make policy recommendations, which is the first step toward improving benefits.
Once the results are in, the committee will research what is fiscally and politically feasible and what will have the greatest impact on the membership as a whole.
As this process unfolds, we will continue to keep you updated on the work of the committee.
We are asking that you complete the survey by no later than September 16, 2019. Thank you!
You may recall that DOC Teamsters, working in concert with our union's Legislative Affairs Department, successfully lobbied the legislature to secure funding in 2018 for a comprehensive staffing level audit at the DOC.
At the time, the DOC had been operating under a staffing model that had not been reviewed in 30 years. An external audit was the first step in addressing insufficient staffing levels in our State's prisons.
That external review of the Department, conducted by CGL Companies, is now complete and the company has published a report with a number of important findings.
As suspected, the audit revealed that the Department is significantly understaffed in several areas. The report concluded, for example, that an additional 250 custody staff are required above levels funded and that there are severe shortages in a number of non-custody areas as well.
You can review the entire DOC Prison Staffing Model Report here.
This week a group of rank-and-file members and union staff met with the State at our Union Hall in Tukwila to hear DOC's assessment of the audit. The Department indicated that they are developing a plan to request additional positions from the legislature.
Our union's Political Department is also in the process of developing a strategy for working with the legislature, in coordination with the Department, to begin securing funding for additional positions to meet current demand as recommended by the audit.
Needless to say, we'll need your help and an excellent turnout at next year's Lobby Day to make sure our legislators understand that DOC is severely understaffed and how that impacts staff safety.
We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications to hire an additional Union Representative for Teamsters who work at the Department of Corrections.
A successful candidate for the position should possess a solid understanding of our collective bargaining agreement and be adept at building union power through member organizing and engagement. The candidate will primarily be responsible for representing members in Western Washington.
You can access a complete job description for the position on our union's website. Interested applicants must submit a cover letter and resume to Director of Administration Jennifer Shaw at email@example.com by the close of business on Wednesday, August 14.
We are excited to be able to add this additional position thanks to continued growth in our membership, outstanding solidarity at the DOC, and because Local 117 members are standing together to keep our union strong.
We're pleased to announce the hiring of Eamon McCleery, an experienced labor attorney who joined our union staff effective July 1.
Eamon will be our Teamsters 117 staff attorney dedicated to handling negotiations, arbitrations, and unfair labor practice litigation on behalf of members working in corrections and law enforcement.
A native of the Pacific Northwest and a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law, Eamon previously worked as an attorney at a labor law firm specializing in representing law enforcement and corrections employees in the State of Washington.
It's important to understand that the outstanding unity and low opt-out rate among law enforcement and corrections members have allowed us to secure Eamon as an additional resource.
When members stand together and commit to each other like we have seen at Teamsters 117, we can improve wages, safety, and benefits and protect our workplace rights through professional, quality representation.
If you are in need of legal support due to an issue in the workplace, please contact your union representative who will initiate a legal review process with Eamon.
Yesterday we received the finalized version of our 2019-2021 DOC collective bargaining agreement from the Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM), and the document is now available for you online. Our union's Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and the Governor signed our contract in a ceremony in Olympia on June 17.
You can view a link to the complete contract with all of the negotiated changes below:
Your union contract contains a number of language improvements and a minimum of an 8% general wage increase for all Teamsters at the DOC over the next two years.
Members received a general increase of 4% effective July 1, 2019 and will receive another 4% increase effective July 1, 2020. In addition, a number of classifications will receive targeted range increases.
Please take some time to familiarize yourself with your union contract. It contains essential seniority rights, bidding rights, safety provisions, vacation and holiday pay, the right to just cause in a disciplinary investigation, and many other workplace protections that are unavailable to non-union employees.
Thank you to our outstanding union negotiations team for their work on our contract and for speaking out for fair wages, safety, and respect for all DOC corrections employees.
Our Teamsters DOC retirement committee met last week in Olympia to look at policy options.
A group of members who attended the DOC contract signing in Olympia last week spent a few minutes celebrating on the steps of the State Capitol then got straight to work.
Their goal? To evaluate retirement benefits and make policy recommendations for Teamsters at the Washington State Department of Corrections.
It's a challenging job given the convoluted nature of pension politics and the potential impact pension reform could have on the State budget, but all were in agreement: The work needs to get done.
"Retirement is something at DOC that needs to be looked at," said Jeannette Young, a classification counselor at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton. "We work one-on-one with inmates and it's a highly stressful environment."
"We are committed to working to tackle this difficult issue."
The current DOC retirement system has many corrections staff working longer than they should, which can compromise staff safety inside the prisons.
"Many people are forced to stay on too long because they need to maintain their medical benefits," said Shawn Piliponis of the Larch Corrections Center. "This can affect response times and the ability to assist in disturbances."
After a round of introductions, the 21-member DOC Retirement Committee focused on brainstorming improvements they'd like to see. Ideas included improving post-retirement healthcare benefits, reducing the penalty for early retirement, and making PSERS available to everyone, among others.
Now the hard part begins. The next step requires researching what is fiscally and politically feasible and what would have the greatest impact on the membership as a whole. It also requires educating members and engaging them around the issue. Clearly, people are concerned about their retirement and would like to see improvements. The trick is getting folks involved.
The committee agreed to meet on an ongoing basis to develop short and long-term goals. Once viable options are on the table, the group also plans to survey the membership to see what ideas we can coalesce around.
"Corrections work is inherently stressful and dangerous," said Michelle Woodrow, our union's President and Executive Director, who is helping to lead the committee. "We are committed to working to tackle this difficult issue so that all of our members at the DOC can retire with dignity."
To learn more about your current retirement benefits, please visit the Department of Retirement Systems. You can learn about health care options in retirement here. If you are interested in participating on our Teamsters Retirement Committee, contact Political Director Dustin Lambro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Governor Jay Inslee signs our DOC 2019-2021 collective bargaining agreement.
Our 2019-2021 DOC collective bargaining agreement was signed on Monday by the Governor and our union's Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy in a short ceremony in Olympia.
This marks the end of many hours of hard work from our union negotiations committee followed by an interest arbitration hearing and an intense effort to persuade legislators to fund the contract.
The contract contains a number of language improvements and a minimum of an 8% general wage increase for all Teamsters at the DOC over the next two years.
Members will receive a general increase of 4% effective July 1, 2019 and a 4% increase effective July 1, 2020. In addition, a number of classifications will receive targeted range increases.
I encourage you to familiarize yourself with your union contract. It provides important information about your rights, protections, guaranteed wages, and working conditions.
Thank you again to the incredible work of our union negotiations team and to all of our members who spoke out for fair wages, safety, and respect. You made this victory possible.
Members celebrate contract victory after Governor signs the agreement.
The summer issue of our DOC Guardian newsletter is hot off the press!
In this issue, you'll find a recap of the 2019 legislative session in Olympia, which featured a number of critical wins for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections.
The highlights include passage of a DOC interest arbitration bill, the full funding of our DOC contract, and the restoration of our right to carry a concealed weapon off duty without having to purchase a permit.
You can access a PDF of the newsletter here; print copies will be distributed by member leaders at your facilities in the coming weeks.
Get ready to grab a hot dog with your Teamster Brothers & Sisters! Our DOC summer BBQs get underway starting this June at facilities across the state.
We'll be celebrating a banner legislative session in Olympia where we were able to win statutory interest arbitration rights for DOC among several other victories.
View the days, times, and facilities for our union BBQs below. To RSVP, click on your facility below.
|AHCC||Friday||June 28||0600, 0800, 1100, 1400|
|CBCC||Tuesday||July 9||1100-1430, 2100-2200|
|CCCC||Thursday||August 15||1100, 1300, 1430, 2100|
|CI HQ||Tuesday||July 23||0700, 1400|
|CRCC||Wednesday||June 26||0600, 0800, 1100, 1400|
|DOC HQ||Friday||July 26||1100-1300|
|LCC||Thursday||August 29||1100, 1300, 1430, 2100|
|Maple Lane Pharmacy||Thursday||July 25||1100-1300|
|MCC||Thursday||August 1||0620, 1100, 1300, 1420, 1600|
|MCCCW||Tuesday||July 16||1100-1430, 2100-2200|
|OCC||Wednesday||July 24||1100-1430, 2100-2200|
|SCCC||Monday||August 26||1130, 1300, 1410, 2100|
|WCC||Wednesday||August 21||1100, 1300, 1430, 2100|
|WCCW||Thursday||July 18||1100-1530, 2100-2200|
|WSP||Monday||June 10||0630, 0800, 1100, 1300, 1430, 1630|
This week we celebrate Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). This is a time to honor our public servants and express our gratitude for the critical services they provide.
Our members in the public sector clear our streets during snow emergencies, maintain our roads, clean up our parks, and keep our communities safe.
Too often public employees are the target of unwarranted criticism, but when disaster strikes they are usually the first to respond.
"That sense of duty and pride is so typical of our members who commit their lives to public service."
Take this last February, for example. When snowdrifts piled up on streets across the Pacific Northwest, most of us took time off to be with our families.
Not true with many of our public servants. Our members in public works braved the elements to operate the snowplows and clear the streets, while our law enforcement and corrections members valiantly reported for duty.
They knew their co-workers would carry a heavier burden if they stayed home and that it might even impact their safety. That sense of duty and pride is so typical of our members who commit their lives to public service.
Thank you to Teamsters who work in our cities, counties, and in state employment for your service. We are forever grateful.