Last week, we wrapped up our fourth 2-day session of negotiations with the DOC over our 2023-2025 collective bargaining agreement.
Our Union Negotiation Team, which consists of 22 rank-and-file members from a broad range of classifications, continues to be extremely frustrated by the lack of respect DOC is showing the membership.
By now, we are well into discussions over economics. We've presented our comprehensive economic proposal, which is designed to ensure that your wages are on par with corrections employees in comparable states and that they keep pace with the rapidly rising cost of living. Unfortunately, the employer responded to our proposal with an insulting offer that would represent a significant decrease in your ability to afford the basics - housing, food, gas, health care, and other essentials.
The DOC is also continuing to hold onto language proposals that would, on certain issues, set you back more than twenty-years. Whether it be regressive language or substandard economic proposals, our Union Negotiation Team has made it crystal clear that we are unwilling to accept proposals that would harm the membership.
One issue that is particularly frustrating is DOC's position on N95 masks. Against the will of the membership, the employer is threatening to implement its proposal to mandate all custody staff to be fit-tested for N95 masks. We are challenging this position, but it is unclear whether this is an issue we can push to resolve through the interest arbitration process.
We've also made it clear that the overwhelming majority of members strongly oppose any further vaccine mandate. We are still waiting for the employer's response on that issue.
Over the last few days, Senior Staff Attorney Eamon McCleery and I have been visiting members at facilities on the east side of the state. In our visits, we are emphasizing the importance of member engagement and solidarity in the face of the employer's attacks on your workplace rights.
Please be sure to complete the member surveys we are sending out, attend upcoming contract meetings, and be prepared to take further collective action. Please also strongly encourage employees who have opted-out of the union to renew their membership. We are strongest and most effective when we are all fighting together.
You can watch a short video recap of negotiations from members on our bargaining team.
You can view the members on our Union Negotiation Team here.
The final round of contract negotiations will take place at our Teamsters Union Hall in Tukwila on July 27-28. Mediation will be held on August 1, 3, and 5. Afterwards, we will be holding contract update meetings for all facilities and preparing to vote on the employer's final proposal.
Thank you for your commitment to public service. Please reach out to your Union Representative if you have questions.
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