The Governor announced this morning that legislators have reached an agreement “in principle” on an operating budget for 2017-2019.
If the remaining work on the budget can be completed before the end of the day on Friday and the legislature is able to vote on the agreement, a government shutdown and temporary layoffs will be avoided.
Budget negotiators on both sides of the aisle say they are confident that they can get the work done.
At this point, no details about the budget deal are available. We expect to learn more after the four legislative caucuses are briefed on the agreement.
We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more.
Many of you, perhaps more than 3,000 DOC Teamsters, received notice from the Department that you will be laid off if the legislature is unable to reach an agreement over an operating budget for the coming biennium.
In the manner that it issued layoff notices, the DOC has likely already violated the terms of our collective bargaining agreement, which will trigger our contract's grievance and arbitration process.
Rest assured, no matter what happens with respect to layoffs, we will vigorously defend your rights under the contract and under the law.
To help jumpstart the process in Olympia, we need to send an urgent message to our state Senators. Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and tell them to pass a budget immediately that invests in corrections employees who protect all of us.
You and your co-workers put your lives on the line every day to serve and protect our communities, yet the state Senate is unwilling to do its job and pass a budget agreement that invests in the vital services you provide.
Please don't wait. Call your state Senator now!
Teamster Jessica Poston, a counselor at the Washington Corrections Center for Women, joined several other state employees who spoke at a rally the Western State Hospital in Lakewood today.
The speakers were part of the All In For Action coalition that is calling on the state Senate to come to the table to pass a budget that fully funds important programs local communities depend on as opposed to protecting tax breaks for large corporations and the wealthy.Read more
A government shutdown is becoming a real possibility. If the legislature does not pass a budget by June 30, thousands of corrections employees could get laid off.
Many of you are hearing that temporary layoff notices will be issued soon. If a shutdown does occur, we will vigorously defend your rights under the contract. You can read more about the DOC’s contingency plan here.
The best way to avoid a shutdown is for us to continue to pressure our state Senators to pass a responsible budget that invests in corrections employees.
So far, the Senate has been unwilling to fund one of our major priorities – an audit of staffing levels that would ultimately improve staff safety in the prisons.
Please call your state Senator now at 1-800-562-6000. Tell them that a government shutdown will put you and your co-workers in danger. Tell them to invest in the men and women who keep us safe.
We will also be participating in a statewide Day of Action at Western State Hospital in Lakewood (9601 Steilacoom Blvd SW) at 12 noon on Thursday, June 22 to prevent a shutdown of state government.
If you are able to attend, please contact your Union Representative. You can RSVP for this event here.
Thank you Sgt. James Palmer and Don Nguyen of the Monroe Correctional Complex for speaking out on how a government shutdown will impact corrections employees and their families.
We are already a week into the second special session of the legislature and no budget deal is in sight.
DOC and other state agencies have begun distributing layoff notices as they prepare for a possible government shutdown. Many of you will likely begin receiving notices as early as this week.
If the government does go into shutdown mode, it is impossible to say how many state employees could be laid off, but the numbers will likely be in the thousands.
Responsibility for the budget crisis lies squarely on the shoulders of the State Senate. So far, Senate Republicans have been unwilling to negotiate a proposal that fully funds our contract and at the same time funds an external audit of staffing levels at the DOC. The Governor and the House budgets do both.
Our Union supports the House budget because it prioritizes public safety and preserves other critical public services. The Senate wants to raise our property taxes while protecting tax loopholes for the rich.
We need to send a message to our State Senators now. Tell them that they are putting DOC jobs at risk! Their inaction on the budget could lead to massive layoffs statewide and an indefinite freeze of wage increases for DOC employees. Call your Senator at 800.562.6000 now!
We had some good news during the regular legislative session when both the House and Senate included funding for our DOC contract in their budget proposals. The Governor had released his budget earlier, which also proposed funding our contract.
This was a critical first step. A state budget that funds our contract will result in at least a 10.5% general wage increase for all Teamsters who work at the DOC over the coming biennium.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough for the sides to make their respective proposals. They also need to sit down and hammer out a final budget. And right now that’s not happening.
Senate negotiators are refusing to come to the bargaining table. By doing so, they’re playing a dangerous game that could have disastrous consequences. If a budget deal isn’t reached by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, we could see a government shutdown, leading to layoffs and an indefinite suspension of wage increases for DOC employees.
So far, the Senate has also refused to fund an external audit of staffing levels at the DOC. The DOC operates under a dangerously outdated staffing model, and an audit would begin to address that problem. Both the House and Governor support funding the audit.
What's more, the Senate is refusing to fund the contracts of our members at the UW Police Department who put their lives on the line to protect our community and our members who work at the Department of Enterprise Services.
We need to send a resounding message to legislators in the Senate: Start negotiating over the budget now, fund an external staffing level audit at the DOC, and fund our UWPD and DES contracts.
Take five minutes to call your Senator at 800.562.6000. Thank you!
Today, the Republican State Senate released its 2017-2019 biennial state budget proposal, and there was good, bad and ugly news.
- The proposal fully funds our 2017-2019 Teamsters-DOC collective bargaining agreement for corrections workers, including our 10.5% across-the-board wage increases over the course of the next two years. This is a testament to your participation in the process, including our record participation in Lobby Day.
- The Senate DID NOT propose funding for our DOC staffing model audit. DOC has not updated its staffing model in nearly thirty years, and the failure to address this issue continues to put our members in danger.
- Our brothers and sisters who work in other public safety and law enforcement units like the University of Washington Police Department and Community Corrections are left out of this budget: their negotiated wage increases are substituted by $500 per year for each year of the biennium.
- Other than Washington State Patrol, no other state employee agreements are funded, meaning the people who provide the other vital public services we all enjoy are not recognized in this budget.
- The Senate Republicans also propose to eliminate state contributions to the LEOFF-2 retirement system and instead shift the responsibility of the contributions to local government, negatively impacting the communities we serve.
We anticipate the State House Democrats to release their budget next week, at which point the Senate, the House and the Governor will convene to reconcile their respective proposals.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely as negotiations over the budget continue. Please stay tuned for updates as well as ways you can participate in ensuring all collective bargaining agreements are funded.
Now that we’ve reached the midpoint of legislative session, it's a good time for an update on policy issues that impact working families.
Several of our Union’s priorities, including many bills that we’ve been supporting, are still moving through the legislative process.
These include bills that would secure paid family leave (HB 1116), prescription drug transparency (HB 1541), and important accommodations for pregnant workers. In addition, our budget proviso that would fund an external staffing audit at the Department of Corrections is still in play.
These bills and provisions are important to protecting and expanding rights for working families and ensuring the safety and security of our members.
This session, we have also successfully staved off a massive attack on our state’s workers’ comp system and helped defeat a number of bills designed to erode protections for workers and weaken unions.
Hundreds of union members turned out to testify against a so-called “right-to-work” bill aimed at crippling unions. We also beat back a bill that would have required annual union recertification and proposals that would weaken the state’s collective bargaining laws (SB 5726 and SB 5727).
Unfortunately, our bill to modify the Public Records Act to protect the personal information of members working in law enforcement and at the Department of Corrections did not move out of its policy committee. However, thanks to the fantastic turnout at our DOC Lobby Day event, we have secured commitments from a powerful group of legislators to work on the bill next legislative session.Read more
Terrie Matsen works at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center and has served the state for 25 years. She started out as an AC Cook at the Clallam Bay Corrections Center, transferred to the Olympic Corrections Center in Forks for a year, and now works in the mailroom at Stafford Creek. She talked about why she’s attending our upcoming Legislative Reception and Lobby Day event on February 13-14.
Why do you think it’s important to go to Olympia and talk with your legislators?
I think it’s important because I don’t think legislators have a total understanding of what we do in corrections. It gives us the opportunity to explain our duties and the things we go through on a day-to-day basis. We need to get them to understand that there’s risk every day when we walk in here.
How many times have you been to Olympia to speak about issues that you face?
I’ve been there numerous times. I’ve done the Day of Action and several other times – I think eight times total.
How would you describe the experience of meeting with your legislators?
Some legislators are more open and receiving to us than others. You’re going to have some who think that state workers are already overpaid, but that’s not the case. They don’t see the whole picture of what we do.
What’s the most important thing to convey when talking with them?
The risk involved. We provide a service – not just for us – but it effects the whole community and the state as a whole.
What would you say to your co-workers who have never been to Olympia and are thinking about attending Lobby Day?
I would say go. It’s eye opening. You get the opportunity to have your voice heard and it’s imperative that your voice gets heard. The more participation, the stronger we stand.