We have fantastic news from Olympia tonight. Our bill (SB 5021) granting interest arbitration rights to Teamsters who work at the Washington State Department of Corrections passed unanimously out of the Senate.
This is a major victory for DOC Teamsters who have been fighting for statutory interest arbitration since 2010. It is also a testament to all of the members and their families who met with their legislators last week at our Lobby Day event.
Clearly, your voice made a tremendous impact. We still need a majority of representatives in the House to vote in favor of the legislation and a signature from the Governor, but passage in the Senate puts us a huge step closer to achieving our goal.
If you met with your State Senator last week and asked them to support interest arbitration for DOC, please send an email thanking them for their support.
Interest arbitration levels the playing field for union members working in public safety professions who don't have the ability to strike. It allows us to take mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator if we reach impasse with the State in contract negotiations.
Employees of other public safety agencies such as the Washington State Patrol and county corrections have access to interest arbitration. Now is the time to win interest arbitration for our members working in corrections and at the University of Washington Police Department.
Good news from Olympia! Our legislation to grant interest arbitration rights to our members at the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the University of Washington Police Department (UWPD) (SB5021/SB5022) cleared a first, important hurdle in the Senate yesterday when the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee unanimously voted to pass both bills out of committee.
Our UWPD bill (HB1043) was also favorably passed out of the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee yesterday on a vote of 6-1. The House committee has not yet taken executive action on our DOC interest arbitration bill (HB1042), but we anticipate that will happen soon.
Because both bills will have an impact on the state budget, the bills that cleared their respective committees yesterday will now be sent to fiscal committees in the House (Appropriations) and Senate (Ways & Means), where we will have another opportunity to testify. We will update you when those hearings are scheduled.
Yesterday we also introduced our bill that will amend current statute to authorize trained DOC staff who have been subject to a background check in the last five years to carry a concealed weapon. This fix will restore a right that was taken away due to a problem with the RCW that invalidated our Peace Officer Identification Cards. The new bill (HB1589) has bipartisan support with twenty co-sponsors and will be considered by the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.
Please take a moment to thank the Senators on the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee for recognizing the need for interest arbitration for DOC and UWPD by sending a quick email or calling their offices. Thanks also to the members who took time out of their busy schedules to give powerful testimony on the bills.
Wearing our union colors down in Olympia for the interest arbitration hearings on January 17.
With the 2019 legislative session kicking off in Olympia this week, bills that would grant interest arbitration rights to our Department of Corrections (DOC) and University of Washington Police Department (UWPD) members are already starting to move.
Several Teamsters provided powerful testimony supporting both bills today in hearings before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee and the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee.
Michelle Woodrow, our union's President and Director of Corrections & Law Enforcement, laid out our case for interest arbitration before legislators:
Interest arbitration is a right commonly available to public safety employees such as the Washington State Patrol who do not have the ability to strike. It allows our union to move mandatory subjects of bargaining to a neutral third-party arbitrator should we reach impasse in negotiations.
At the DOC, we achieved interest arbitration through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Governor in 2014 and negotiated it into our contract, but it has not been codified in statute. Our members at the UWPD have never had access to these rights.
Without access to interest arbitration, members like Officers Mark Hackett and Marvin McKinney of the UWPD have struggled to obtain critical safety gear to protect themselves in the line of duty.
For Sergeant Jason Heuer and Officer James Deuel of the DOC, passing interest arbitration means securing their rights into the future. "It’s critical that we win this in statute because otherwise it can just be taken away...," they said.
Thank you to our members who took time out of their busy schedules to travel to Olympia to testify.
- You can view the House testimony on TVW here
- The Senate testimony can be viewed online here
- Track our bills: HB1042 (DOC), HB1043 (UWPD), SB5021 (DOC), SB5022(UWPD)
As session continues, there will be more hearings on these bills and more opportunities to make your voice heard. Passing interest arbitration for DOC and UWPD will require excellent participation at our upcoming Lobby Day on February 26-27. It will also require all of us coming together to educate legislators about the critical public safety work we perform.
Now that 2019 has arrived, Teamsters who work at the WA State Department of Corrections can look forward to much-deserved wage increases that our union achieved through the interest arbitration process.
Effective January 1, 2019, most DOC Teamsters received a general wage increase of 3% while some classifications received targeted range increases. Those increases, which can be viewed here, are the last of three wage increases in our current 2017-2019 collective bargaining agreement.
In our 2019-2021 contract, you can expect the following increases:
- A 4% general wage increase effective July 1, 2019
- A 4% general wage increase effective July 1, 2020
- Range increases for some classifications
To take effect, the wage increases in our 2019-2021 contract must be approved by the state legislature. Getting our contract funded will take an excellent turnout at our upcoming Teamsters Lobby Day on February 26-27.
Thank you for the incredible service you provide to communities across our state. Working inside a prison is a constant challenge, and you and your co-workers put your lives on the line every day to protect the public.
The wage increases you receive this year and next represent a small step toward honoring your work and giving you the recognition you deserve.
This afternoon Arbitrator Joseph Duffy sent us his interest arbitration award outlining DOC Teamsters compensation for the 2019-2021 biennium. The award contains significant pay increases for all members of the bargaining unit.
According to the award, all Teamster correctional employees will receive no less than an 8% general wage increase over the next two years. The award calls for a general increase of 4% effective July 1, 2019 and a 4% increase effective July 1, 2020 for all classifications.
In addition, the arbitrator has awarded the following range increases:
|CLASSIFICATION||CURRENT RANGE||NEW RANGE|
|Warehouse Operator 1||29G||31G|
|Warehouse Operator 2||32G||34G|
|Warehouse Operator 3||36G||38G|
|Warehouse Operator 4||40G||42G|
|Ferry Operator Assistant||37E||39E|
|Corrections and Custody Officer 4||51||56|
|Corrections Mental Health Counselor 2||49||52|
|Corrections Mental Health Counselor 3||51||54|
|Sex Offender Treatment Specialist||55||57|
|Sex Offender Treatment Supervisor||59||61|
|Health Records Technician 1||44|
|Health Records Technician 2||49|
|Corrections Specialist Assistant||39|
|Corrections Specialist 4||61|
|Physician Assistant Certified – Lead||76N|
|Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner – Lead||74N||78N|
|Data Consultant 3||52|
|Corrections and Custody Officer 2||43||44|
|Corrections and Custody Officer 3||48||50|
|Classification Counselor 3||49||50|
|Fiscal Anaylst 4||52||54|
- Shift Premium for Nurses will now include CNA and MA classifications and is increased from $1.50 per hour to $2.50 per hour;
- Standby pay for overtime exempt Physician Assistant/Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant Certified/Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Lead, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychiatric Social Worker 3 or 4, Psychiatrist 4, Psychologist 3 or 4, or Psychology Associate increases from $50/day to $100/day and for all other overtime exempt from $25/day to $50/day;
- When a CDL certification, license, and physical exam are required for a chain bus position, the employer will reimburse the cost of the initial certification, license, and physical exam up to $3,800 when the employee successfully bids into a chain bus position. All renewal costs will be the responsibility of the employee;
- Honor guard will receive assignment pay on an hour for hour basis for every hour worked during an authorized team related assignment or training. The assignment pay is basic salary plus two (2) ranges and will be paid to trained and qualified employees who are assigned members of the Honor Guard.
With the arbitrator's award, we see once again the immense power of having interest arbitration in our contract. The arbitrator awarded double what the State’s final offer was in contract negotiations. For many classifications, it will be significantly higher than that.
Assuming the Office of Financial Management (OFM) deems the award financially feasible, it will be included in the Governor’s budget. At that point, the legislature must decide whether or not to fund our contract.
Getting our DOC contract funded will take members across the state talking to their representatives in Olympia about the challenges you face every day to keep the public safe. Your participation in next year's Teamsters Lobby Day will be crucial. We will be sending out details about the event soon.
Thank you to our incredible union committee that worked so hard during contract negotiations. They deserve enormous praise for their fortitude, hard work, and professionalism.
You can view the arbitrator’s complete award here.
Thank you for your service to our communities. Please stay safe.
Today our union’s legal team presented a powerful closing statement before the arbitrator as we concluded our case for higher compensation for DOC Teamsters in our 2019-2021 contract.
Our union’s number one priority is a general wage increase for all bargaining unit members that recognizes the challenging and dangerous nature of your work and the critical public safety service you provide to communities across Washington State.
Our case is built on compelling testimony from members who spoke during the arbitration of threats to their families, assaults against staff, high turnover, crushing overtime, and other safety-related concerns that make working inside a prison in our state unique.
In closing, our union attorney summarized our argument:
Our case is also built on persuasive comparable data presented by a financial expert witness retained by the union. Our witness testified that compensation for Washington State corrections employees is not commensurate with corrections workers in similarly-sized states, counties, and jurisdictions.
The employer tried to dismiss our data at the county level, stating that the DOC is not losing large numbers of employees to the counties. We vigorously contested that position. No matter how you slice the data, members of the bargaining unit are significantly undercompensated. Even the State admitted that your compensation falls well below the comparators.
Still, throughout the hearing, the State clung to its final economic proposal in negotiations. The State’s attorney testified in her closing argument that a general wage increase of 2% in year one and 2% in year two of the contract is “fair and reasonable.” This proposal is grossly inadequate and would not even keep pace with the cost of living. It’s no surprise that the State’s proposal was rejected by 99% of members participating in our recent contract vote.
In contrast, our union's final protected position going into arbitration was an across-the-board general wage increase of 8.5% in year one and 8.5% in year two of the contract, plus a 3.6% cost-of-living increase in each year of the contract. Our position was based on comparable data researched by our financial experts and the current consumer price index.
Our case also showed how profound recruitment and retention difficulties at the Department adversely impact morale, safety, and lead to inordinate amounts of overtime. We presented evidence that the Department has an astounding 8% vacancy rate in CO2 positions alone. In their closing, the State continued to downplay recruitment and retention as a problem.
The arbitrator must issue his decision by no later than October 1 and has indicated that we can expect it to come as early as September 26. As soon as we receive the award, we will publish it on our union’s website with a summary and our analysis. Thank you to the members who took time away from their families to testify during arbitration. Their testimony about the challenges of working in Washington State prisons makes our case for higher wages genuine, compelling, and strong.
Over the last few days, our interest arbitration hearing has been marked by powerful testimony from members and some frustrating moments from DOC management.
Last Thursday, correctional officer James Deuel of WCC testified about scaled-back staffing levels on graveyard shift and how it impacts safety. He also addressed the cumulative stress of the job:
Officer Deuel also spoke about threats to his own safety and to his family, and of encountering offenders after they’ve been released into the community:
Adam Kapa, a transportation sergeant at WCC, testified about the dangers of operating a chain bus:
Like Deuel, Sergeant Kapa spoke of threats directed at him and his family:
Through member testimony, like that of Officer Deuel and Sergeant Kapa, our union’s legal team is establishing the risks and high-level stress associated with the job as we continue to make our case for higher compensation than the State proposed in contract negotiations.
Last week, we also heard from DOC Secretary Stephen Sinclair. Sinclair’s testimony irked members in the room, especially when he stated that he hadn’t given a lot of thought about whether members of the bargaining unit are satisfied with their compensation. He also testified that he hadn’t heard much from members who are dissatisfied with their compensation. These remarks seemed tone deaf and completely out of touch with the rank-and-file.
This week, we've had an expert witness present comparable data in states of like sizes and jurisdictions as well as data involving compensation for corrections employees at the county level.
We anticipate wrapping up the hearing this Friday, at which point we will give you another update. Please check your email and look for more information coming soon.
View a short video update from the hearing below:
Our union team presented the case for higher compensation for DOC Teamsters today in the first day of our interest arbitration hearing with the State.
The core of our argument is that our corrections members deserve more than the State’s proposal to raise wages by 2% in year one and 2% in year two of our contract. The membership unequivocally rejected that proposal by 98.8% to 1.2% in the recent DOC contract vote.
The results of the vote triggered the interest arbitration clause in our contract. It also sent a powerful message to the arbitrator that the State’s substandard proposal does not come close to recognizing the critical work DOC Teamsters do to serve and protect our communities.
Unfortunately, the State is still not getting the message. They continued to maintain in today’s proceedings that higher wages for DOC are unnecessary and unwarranted.
Our union attorneys countered by laying out our argument for higher wages based on comparables with corrections employees in like jurisdictions. You can view the union’s opening statement here.Read more
DOC VOTING IS NOW CLOSED. VOTING CLOSED AT 11:59 P.M. ON SUNDAY, AUG. 19. We will be posting the results on Monday, August 20. Stay Tuned!
Your union negotiations committee unanimously recommends that you VOTE NO!
Voting is being conducted two ways: (1) by telephone or (2) through the internet. You may only vote by one (1) method. Polls open at 12:01 A.M. on Monday, August 6 and close at 11:59 P.M. on Sunday, August, 19.
- Internet Voting
- Go to http://www.electionadmin.com/1111801.aspx
- Enter your PIN (your DOC employee ID number)
- Telephone Voting
- Dial: 1-877-380-0404
- Enter your PIN (your DOC employee ID number)
COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT YOU VOTE NO!
Your union's negotiations committee is unanimously recommending that you VOTE NO on your contract. A majority voting no will send the State's substandard economic proposal to an interest arbitration hearing where we will make our case for higher wages before the arbitrator.
Please review the documents listed below AND attend one of the contract update meetings at your facility to understand why we are recommending a NO vote. The cover letter, voting instructions, and contract summary documents below will also be mailed to your home address on file with the union.
DOC CONTRACT DOCUMENTS
- Cover letter
- Voting instructions
- Contract summary document
- Complete redlined contract with proposed changes
CONTRACT UPDATE MEETINGS
Attend one of the contract update meetings at your facility to understand why we are recommending a NO vote and to inform yourself about the upcoming interest arbitration process. Be sure to check the times and locations of the meetings at your facility.
It is important that we have excellent voter turnout and a strong NO VOTE so that we can make our case for higher wages before the arbitrator!
This year, our DOC bargaining committee made history. For the first time, we were able to negotiate interest arbitration rights into our DOC contract.
This is a major victory for the men and women who work in corrections.
Having interest arbitration means that if we are unable to reach agreement with the State during contract negotiations, we can move mandatory subjects of bargaining to a third-party arbitrator who will make an unbiased ruling based on objective information.
It means that we have greater leverage at the bargaining table and a chance to make meaningful improvements to our DOC contract.
We owe our gratitude to the incredible work of our Union's DOC bargaining committee for making this a priority.
You can view a short video about our Union's long path to achieving interest arbitration below: