We have some good news to report on health care for state employees. Our Coalition of Unions has achieved a tentative agreement with the State on your benefits for the 2019-2021 biennium.
The agreement maintains the status quo on your premium share from the previous biennium. Your employer will continue to contribute 85% of the total weighted average of the premium, while members will contribute 15%.
The agreement also provides some relief for those making less than $50,004 per year in the form of a flexible spending account (FSA) paid for by the employer. You can view the details here.
We will be conducting a vote by Internet/Telephone for all state employee bargaining units covered under the agreement. Voting instructions will be sent to you by mail. Watch your email over the next few days for more information.
Our Coalition of State Employee Unions recommends that you vote yes. If ratified, this agreement on health care will be incorporated into your collective bargaining agreement as required under state law.
Thank you for your service to our communities.
Early this morning, the state released its proposed operating budget for the 2017-2019 biennium. All indications are that the legislature will vote on the agreement today and that the budget will be signed into law to avert a government shutdown and temporary layoffs of state employees.
The proposed budget fully funds the interest arbitration award for our members at the Department of Corrections. It also funds the contract for our members at the University of Washington Police Department as well as for members at the Department of Enterprise Services. This means that all of the terms and conditions of the new collective bargaining agreements for our members who are state employees are now in place.
Teamsters at the DOC will receive general wage increases of at least 10.5% over the coming biennium; at the UWPD, members will receive annual increases of 10%; DES members' wages will increase by roughly 6%.
The legislature ultimately decided to fund our contracts because all of us stood together and demanded respect for the challenging, dangerous work you perform.
So many of you have played a critical role in this success. Thank you to our incredible member leaders who worked long hours to achieve meaningful improvements to our contracts. At the DOC, we were able to achieve interest arbitration rights in our contract for the first time, which is a major accomplishment.
Many of you also took the time to contact your legislators in the last several weeks as we made the final push to stop a shutdown of state government and avoid temporary layoffs.
Finally, thanks to all of you for the incredible service you provide to our communities. Your work is challenging, dangerous, and vital to the safety of the public.
There is still more work to be done. The proposed budget does not fund an external audit of staffing levels at the DOC. We will be working to include it in the supplemental budget next January as it continues to be one of our priorities moving forward.
But if we stand together as we have done in the last several months, we can continue to strengthen our contracts, improve our working conditions, and our lives.