The State’s unlawful conduct during this year’s collective bargaining process, as well as its refusal to agree to many proposals made to ensure safety, make the need for immediate legislative change in the form of interest arbitration for correctional employees crystal clear.
With interest arbitration, the State cannot simply refuse to bargain over wages, hours, or working conditions without consequence.
If the State and the Union cannot reach agreement through contract negotiations on mandatory subjects of bargaining, then your Union would have the right to bring its proposals to a neutral arbitrator, who would decide what the contract provision should be.
A QUESTION OF RESPECT
Correctional workers often assert that they are not treated with the same level of respect as the Washington State Patrol, firefighters, or even County correctional employees. One reason for that disparity is that the other groups have been granted broad interest arbitration rights.
Correctional employees must be afforded that right as well. As any correctional employee knows, working in a prison is not the same as working for other state agencies.
The statistics bear that out in striking detail:
- Correctional officers have one of the highest rates of nonfatal on-the-job injuries.
- Suicide rates among corrections employees is 39% higher than any other occupation.
- The average life expectancy of a corrections officer is 58 years old.
Despite the well-documented stress and dangers of the job, the State still regards all State employees as one in the same and it bargains accordingly.
That must change. To pass interest arbitration legislation, all members need to get involved. DOC Teamsters need to:
- Testify at legislative hearings.
- Lobby their legislators.
- Call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and urge their representatives to support interest arbitration.
To get involved, contact Lily Wilson-Codega at 206-794-2606 immediately.