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.
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
Essential Teamster road crew out of King County's Fall City depot is ready to hit the streets!
As the coronavirus crisis has touched all of our lives, our Union at King County has been working to adapt.
In April, Teamsters 117, as part of the King County Coalition of Unions, negotiated a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the County securing additional leave protections for union members, including emergency paid leave and paid administrative leave. The MOA also emphasizes increased access to telecommuting and PPE for those who are required to work on-site.
These protections were achieved outside of the framework of this year's contract negotiations, which were originally scheduled to begin in March but have been put on hold due to the pandemic.
To plan for what negotiations might look like this year, a group of Teamsters 117 Shop Stewards at King County, together with Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and Union Representatives Maria Williams and Cara Mattson, met via Zoom last week.
In that meeting, we had an excellent presentation from our International Teamsters Union on the financial state of King County. We also reviewed member contract surveys and established our priorities for negotiations. Our Shop Stewards are united around job preservation for Teamsters 117 members as the Union's number one priority.
Shop Stewards have identified job preservation as the Union's number one priority.
In the coming weeks, the County will provide us with its own analysis of how the crisis has impacted its financial condition. At that point, we will work within the Union Coalition to decide the best path forward for negotiations. Given that so much has changed over the last few months, we are also working on a way to solicit additional member feedback to ensure that your voice is heard.
There are still many unanswered questions about what bargaining will look like this year. To prepare for all possible outcomes, we plan to continue meeting regularly with Shop Stewards. As soon as we have more information, we will let you know.
Finally, we want to pass along some good news about your union health care. The joint labor-management group (JLMIC) that oversees your benefits has continued to meet on a monthly basis. Maria Williams, our Teamsters 117 representative on the JLMIC, reports that all COVID-19 related expenses will be covered at 100% for Union members at King County, and there will continue to be no out-of-pocket expenses on your health care.
Just a reminder that the pandemic does not impact previously negotiated agreements, so you will still be receiving your negotiated 1.5% general wage increase this July.
Thank you for your service during these unprecedented times. Your work is essential to the fabric of our community as we all struggle and strive to build a more healthy and just society that respects all people.
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):
As COVID-19 is changing the way we lead our lives, we need more than ever to stand together for safety at work and fair pay.
Teamsters are on the frontlines of this pandemic, and the priorities for our Union have been protecting worker rights, securing appreciation pay, and raising standards across industries.
One way to achieve that for Local 117 members is to expand our ranks and organize more workers to become Teamsters.
Take our organizing survey to share your thoughts on the necessity of building worker power.
Teamsters 117, working in concert with other public employee Unions, has scored an important victory in our effort to protect your privacy.
In a case brought by a coalition of Unions, Thurston County Superior Court has ruled to enjoin state agencies from releasing public employees' birthdates that were sought as part of a public disclosure request by the anti-union "Freedom" Foundation.
The court ruled that the release of the information "is not in the public interest and would cause irreparable harm" to Union members.
For now, this is a temporary injunction, but our Union's legal counsel will be asking the court to make the order permanent this month.
In the 2020 legislative session, our Union achieved an important legislative win with the passage of HB 1888. The new law, scheduled to be implemented on July 1, amends the state Public Records Act to protect public employees' privacy by safeguarding birthdates.
While the "Freedom" Foundation could try to appeal the court's injunction, there isn’t sufficient time for that appeal to be concluded before the new law takes effect.
"Our members have dedicated their lives to serving and protecting the public," said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters 117. "They keep our streets safe, clean up our parks, repair our roads, and care for and rehabilitate incarcerated individuals in our state's prisons. It's absolutely essential that we safeguard their personal information to protect them against identity theft, fraud, and other kinds of abuse."
Thank you, nurses! Your heroism is an inspiration during these challenging times. Here is a statement from our International Union to commemorate National Nurses Week:
Officials at the Port of Seattle have notified airport taxi drivers of a plan to force drivers into debt for unpaid per-trip fees, the collection of which had been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s unconscionable that, after receiving a $192.1 million taxpayer-funded bailout, the Port of Seattle can’t find a way to help low-wage immigrant workers who are struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their families’ heads during this crisis,” said John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “The fact that they announced their debt pay-back plan as a Friday afternoon news dump on International Workers Day just adds insult to injury.”
"It’s unconscionable that... the Port of Seattle can’t find a way to help low-wage immigrant workers."
Port Executive Director Stephen Metruck had previously announced at a March 24 Port Commission meeting that the Port would "grant a 3 month waiver of fees charged for each trip from the Airport" (see video minute 8:13), to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on a low-wage, immigrant workforce that lacks any safety net.
The Port later reversed course and said the fee waiver would only be a deferral, despite the Port being awarded a $192.1 million COVID bailout from the federal government in mid-April.
“After working seven hours yesterday, I came home with only $7 – and now the Port wants me to repay $6 of that back in fees,” said Sasha Nazari who supports his wife and son working as an Airport taxi driver. “I don’t have money to pay the mortgage. I received a shut-off notice on my electricity. Where am I going to get the money?”
Under the new taxi debt plan announced on May 1, if drivers are unable to repay trip fees by January 31, they would accrue interest and risk losing their job at the Airport.
Our International Union will be holding a Townhall meeting for Public Services members, including all Teamsters 117 members working in corrections, public safety as well as county and municipal employees.
The meeting will take place on Thursday, May 7 at 12 noon (PST) using Zoom, an online video conferencing platform.
- To register for this webinar, please visit: ibt.io/PSDtownhall
The meeting will feature General President James P. Hoffa, Public Services Division Director Jason Rabinowitz as well as IBT staff.
We'll have an overview of the rights and benefits available to public service workers under the Families First Act and the CARES Acts. Members will also have the opportunity to hear about our Union’s fight for assistance to public employers as part of the next Congressional stimulus package and how they can get involved to protect our jobs and crucial public services.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar. If you can’t join the video portion, then call-in information will also be sent by email after you register online.
We hope you will join the Teamsters Public Services Division as we go over COVID-19 resources and our next steps in the wake of this unprecedented national crisis.