Richard Coleman (center) fighting for interest arbitration at the Local 117 Day of Action event in Olympia in 2012.
Richard Coleman has his sights set on travel. The longtime Walla Walla resident has imagined destinations closer to home, and others further afield: from the Oregon Coast to the beaches of Belize, from the Civil War battlefields of Virginia to the Baltic states in Eastern Europe.
After 36 years of public service, trips once unfathomable are about to become a reality.
With retirement just a hair's breadth away, he credits his union for allowing him to bow out earlier than he’d imagined. Thanks to hard-fought wage increases over the last three contract cycles achieved through interest arbitration, he’s seen his social security and state pension benefits swell.
“Interest arbitration has been phenomenal in helping to raise our pay,” he said. “Without this level of income, I’d have to be working a couple years more. Now I have a good, solid retirement base.”
"Now I have a good, solid retirement base."
For Coleman, retirement from the Department of Corrections comes this February, the 28th of the month to be precise - not that anyone’s counting.Read more
A team of eight cheerleaders from Walla Walla High School has been invited to attend the USA Spirit Nationals competition held in Anaheim, CA this March.
Among the teammates on the squad is Kaytlyn Dahlin, the daughter of Local 117 member at the Washington State Penitentiary (WSP), Officer Erin Dahlin.
Officer Dahlin, who has been at WSP for fifteen years, applied to our Local Union's Executive Board for a community sponsorship to help provide financial support to the team. The Local's E-Board agreed to make a modest donation.
"They're really excited about it, but they've got a lot more fundraising to do," Dahlin said. You can learn how to support the team in this article published in the Walla Walla Union Bulletin on January 15.
"The girls are planning to send a photo of appreciation to all of the funders from Disneyland," Dahlin said. "My wife will be accompanying them. I'll be staying back at work."
Tammy Kimball hopes her story will bring awareness to the dangers of working in a prison and help prevent a future assault.
On the morning of June 14, 2014, Tammy Kimball’s life changed forever. She arrived at work early in the morning as she did every day. Tammy works as an AC Cook at the Washington State Penitentiary where she supervises inmates working in the kitchen.
Working in a prison carries constant risk. Tammy had been on staff at WSP for four years. She has the instincts of a trained prison employee.Read more
Well over a dozen Teamster volunteers spent the afternoon on Saturday talking to voters in and around Walla Walla.
Our group was getting out the vote for Jared Frerichs, a Local 117 member who is running for County Commissioner.
Jared is a military veteran and a Correctional Specialist who works at the Washington State Penitentiary.
"I’ve always felt a deep love and commitment to my community," Jared says. "Many of my values and lessons were formed in the fields, hills, and along the riverbanks of the Walla Walla Valley."
Jared's running on a platform of bringing more living-wage jobs to Walla Walla county, ensuring that residents of the county feel safe, and protecting the environment.
Jared Frerichs is a Correctional Officer at the Washington State Penitentiary and is running for Walla Walla County Commissioner
Jared Frerichs is a military veteran and CO2 at the Washington State Penitentiary. He is also running for Walla Walla County Commissioner. Earlier this week Jared finished second in his primary, therefore advancing to the November 8 general election. We caught up with Jared to ask about his campaign and his message to Walla Walla County voters.
Tell us a little about yourself and the work you do.
I’ve always felt a deep love and commitment to my community. Many of my values and lessons were formed in the fields, hills, and along the riverbanks of the Walla Walla Valley.
When I turned eighteen, I joined the United States Coast Guard. After serving in the military for 10 years, I moved back to Walla Walla County. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but had a desire to make things better in my local community.
I began working for the DOC as a corrections officer at the recommendation of my mother. She has been a psychologist at WSP for about 15 years. She told me I would enjoy corrections work.
How have you been involved with your union at DOC?
I have always had a passion for politics. I was thrilled that my union offered me the opportunity to meet with my lawmakers in Olympia. I saw the immediate impact of these meetings. Every issue we talked about led to laws being passed that budget cycle.
After that, I applied to become a shop steward, and have been very active with the union ever since. I always tell my coworkers that engagement with the union is how we solve issues in the workplace and in our community.
Thank you to the excellent team of DOC nurses and other medical staff at WSP and across the state for your critical care, compassion, and your service.
Thank you to the outstanding team of DOC nurses and other medical staff at WSP and across the state.
Medical staff at our state’s prisons face the stressful and challenging task of providing health care services to convicted felons. Just like DOC custody staff, they put their lives on the line every day to serve the public.
Our DOC medical professionals work long hours, in a difficult environment to deliver compassionate, critical, and ethical care. We are grateful for their commitment, professionalism, and patience.
Please join us in thanking them for their service!
Officer John McDonald aka Big Mac at his gatehouse post at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.
One of the longstanding keepers of the gatehouse at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla is Officer John McDonald, a.k.a. Big Mac.
Big Mac has served at WSP since 1981 and has worked in all parts of the facility. He spent 23 years in the towers and for a time oversaw a corner of the yard, which became known as Mac’s Corner.
When inmates seized control of his unit in 1982, he was taken hostage. “Back then, we didn’t have OC, or radios – just our keys and our wits,” he said.Read more
Our Union's Secretary-Treasurer, John Scearcy, has published a guest editorial in today's Everett Herald calling on the state to improve staff safety in our prisons.
This is the second editorial we have published in the month of May in commemoration of National Correctional Employees week. Scearcy also published a piece two weeks ago in the Walla Walla Union Bulletin.
You can view today's Everett Herald editorial below: