This week, we wrapped up our 7-day interest arbitration hearing to address unresolved issues in our collective bargaining agreement for the 2023-2025 biennium.

Our Union team has been testifying before Arbitrator James Dworkin about proposals we were not able to agree on with the State during contract negotiations. These issues include your wages as well as disagreements over safety concerns, overtime, comp time, sick leave, staffing levels and general working conditions.

Last week, rank-and-file members Sergeant Jason Heuer of MCC and Officer Amy Matero of AHCC gave powerful testimony on the excessive mandatory overtime members have endured over the last two years.

We also had the following rank-and-file members speak out about compensation inequities facing specific classifications: Gladys Hedgers (Correctional Records Supervisor), Jamie Look (Administrative Assistant), Tim Snyder (Chaplain), Van Millard (Chief Engineer), Douglas Vincent (Corrections Specialist and DIMT Member, Corey Doty (Corrections Specialist), Shawn Piliponis (Corrections Specialist), Jennifer Spencer (Mail Process Driver), and Ryan Graves (Recreation Specialist).

You can read some quotes from members who testified at the hearing below:

“The amount of overtime they are dictating right now is astronomical. It’s completely outside the realm of normal business operations and practices.” - Officer Amy Matero, AHCC

"There have been a lot of complaints from the 10 nursing staff themselves that are getting trained, that they are not getting adequate training.” - Sheryl Green, RN2 - AHCC

“Our line of work cannot be compared to any other line of work because of what we deal with and the environment in which we work." - Sergeant Jason Heuer, MCC

To make our case for higher wages, we retained expert witness Carla Pusateri, a retired Deputy Fire Marshall with eighteen years of experience in salary survey work. Ms Pusateri presented financial data comparing your compensation with that of other corrections employees working in similar jurisdictions. Our goal was to show the arbitrator which classifications at the DOC are behind their comparables and by how much.

The Union also called Suzanne Best, a Clinical Psychologist, and Sarah Hinkle, an Economist with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, as expert witnesses.

Unfortunately, DOC leadership continues to push for inadequate wage increases and cling to regressive proposals that would strip away your hard-won benefits. The State's testimony minimized your hard work and twisted statistics to devalue your worth. 

Now that both sides have made their case, it is up to the arbitrator. The arbitrator has said he will issue his decision by September 23. We will share it with the membership as soon as it comes in.

COME TO LOBBY DAY ON FEBRUARY 8-9, 2023!

Whatever the arbitrator decides with regard to your wages and working conditions, the Washington State Legislature will still need to vote to approve his award. Getting the award funded will require an excellent showing by DOC members at our Teamsters Lobby Day on February 8-9, 2023. We will be sending out more information about Lobby Day and how to get registered soon. Stay tuned!

Finally, you can view a short video recap of the hearing from Teamsters Union Rep Cheryl Miller below:

Thank you to the rank-and-file members who testified so powerfully at the arbitration hearing and to all of you for your dedicated service. 

Sarena Davis

About Sarena Davis

Representing: WCC, SWRBO, CI HQ, DOC HQ, MICC