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.
Teamsters fighting hunger (from l to r): Matthew House, Mark Hackett, Chris Ellrodt, Roger Gale, and Jed Slagter.
A group of sharpshooters from two Teamster police departments joined forces last month to take aim at hunger. Officers from the City of Pacific and the University of Washington along and their union representative, Matthew House, teamed up for the Emergency Food Network’s annual Breaking Hunger Trap Shooting and Archery Tournament.
The contest, held at the Gig Harbor Sportsmen’s Club on August 10, raised over $16 thousand dollars to help feed hungry families in Pierce County. “This was my first time,” said Sergeant Jed Slagter, who heard about the event from a fellow officer. “It was for a good cause, well organized, and a lot of fun.”
"It was for a good cause, well organized, and a lot of fun."
Slagter, who’s been on the force at the City of Pacific Police Department for five years, talked about the importance of his union giving back to the community. “It’s great for Teamsters to participate in these kinds of charitable events,” he said.
Our union’s Executive Board covered the team’s registration fee. All proceeds from the event go to benefit the Emergency Food Network.
Thank you to our members from the Teamsters Law Enforcement & Corrections Division who participated in the tournament:
- Jed Slagter, City of Pacific Police Dept.
- Roger Gale, City of Pacific Police Dept.
- Chris Ellrodt, University of Washington Police Dept.
- Mark Hackett, University of Washington Police Dept.
The Pierce County emergency food system includes 67 food banks providing over 15 million meals annually to over a hundred thousand families in need. Teamsters Local 117 is a generous supporter of EFN and has participated in a number of volunteer events to benefit the organization.
Access to good health care is critical for State employees, but so far the State is not getting the message. In the current round of health care negotiations, their proposal would increase out-of-pocket costs for you and your family.
Our coalition of unions has proposed COST SAVINGS through a reduced premium share, but the State is pushing back. We need to flood the Governor's office with phone calls and emails now!
Tell the Governor to fund a health care agreement that values the hard work you perform to serve and protect our communities.
During the recession, State employees made sacrifices to help the State through its financial crisis. Now that the State is back on solid financial footing, they need to prevent costly increases to your health care.
CALL AND EMAIL THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE NOW!
Call Governor Inslee's office at 360-902-4111 or send him an email now. Urge him to:
- Support a fair health care agreement that values the hard work and sacrifices you make to serve and protect our communities.
Please call and email the Governor now!
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.
Today, the House Democrats released their 2017-2019 Operating Budget proposal, and there's some great news: It fully funds our collective bargaining agreement for Teamsters at the Department of Corrections. Last week, the Senate Republicans passed their budget which also funds our DOC contract.
Unlike the Senate, though, the House budget also funds $500,000 for our requested budget proviso to conduct an independent, comprehensive staffing level audit to review staffing levels in each DOC institution by classification. We lobbied on this issue this year, and made it a key part of our legislative agenda.
The House and Senate budgets diverge in other ways as well. The Senate failed to fund most other state employee contracts; thankfully, the House remedied that by investing in all state employees including our members at the University of Washington Police Department.
With budget negotiations about to get underway, we need to send a message to our legislators about our priorities for the budget.
YOUR ACTION NEEDED: Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 with this message:
- Thank your legislators for recognizing the important work of our state's corrections professionals.
- Encourage your Senator to support funding for the DOC staffing level audit.
- Ask your Senator to invest in our UW Police Officers by funding their contract.
Thank you for taking action on these issues.