March 31, 2011

Central Washington University reaches contact agreement

The Central Washington University Bargaining Team last night (March 30) reached tentative agreement on a new contract.

It’s a one-year contract that takes effect next year, on July 1, 2012, and runs until June 30, 2013. During the first year of the biennium, from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, the terms and conditions of the current (2009-2011) collective bargaining agreement will apply.

They will take a temporary salary reduction of 3 percent for those making more than $2,500 a month from July 1, 2012, to June 29, 2013, and they won significant improvements in working conditions.

Mail ballots for the CWU ratification vote go out April 5.

Corrections safety bill improved in House committee, viewed as starting point

The House version of the Corrections safety bill that came out in the wake of the murder of Monroe Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl was amended to include a Community Corrections officer on a proposed Statewide Security Advisory Committee. 

But both the House version (HB 2036) and Senate version (SB 5907) need to be improved even more to include the safety concerns of Community Corrections, Federation Lobbyist Matt Zuvich told the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee Wednesday (March 30).

The efforts must address both prison and Community Corrections safety, he said. “Safety issues are not inclusive to inside prisons…,” Zuvich said.“(We must) make sure that his bill that is born of tragedy does all it can to prevent more.”

Continue calls to your legislators at 1-800-562-6000 to support adding Community Corrections officers’ safety issues to HB 2036 and SB 5907.

What are the experts saying about the budget getting done by Easter?

As we approach April 1, the latest deadline for fiscal bills to clear committees, the Legislature and all those around start scratching their heads and wondering whether lawmakers can wrap up their work by the scheduled end of the 105-day session on Easter Sunday, April 24.

The House is supposed to roll out an operating budget first. That was supposed to be last week, but the March 17 revenue forecast sort of threw those timelines out.

In his blog, Rep. Sam Hunt of the 22nd District said, “Ways and Means Democrats struggle to find ways to build a budget with billions of dollars in cuts.”

Here’s what veteran Capitol correspondent Brad Shannon of The Olympia blogged yesterday.

“I have believed since before session began that lawmakers would have to come back in June for adjustments to the budget and/or finish a tax package for the November ballot. The question now is whether they can get their first draft budget written into law by April 24, the 105th day of regular session.” 

That’s why it’s so important you take part in the “Week of Action” that starts this Saturday, and especially the huge labor-coordinated rally at noon on Friday, April 8, at the Capitol. 

Learn more and register at

March 29, 2011

Western Washington University reaches settlement

The WWU Bargaining Team reached tentative agreement on a new contract last night (March 29).

To get to where they wanted, the team agreed to a one-year contract that takes effect next year, on July 1, 2012, and runs until June 30, 2013. During the first year of the biennium, from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, the terms and conditions of the current (2009-2011) collective bargaining agreement will apply.

They will take a temporary salary reduction of 3 percent for those making more than $2,500 a month from July 1, 2012, to June 29, 2013, under the same kind of flexible furlough plan seen in the General Government contract, with 5.2 hours of Temporary Salary Reduction Leave for those subject to the temporary salary reduction.

They gained a new article on inclement weather, retained the current Winter Break Day and eliminated restrictions on use of vacation leave and sick leave for emergency childcare, among other gains. 

The contract summary and full TA document are being finalized and edited and will be posted soon on the WWU bargaining page at Under the ratification plan approved by the team last night, the notice of election and contract summary will go in the mail April 5. Members who work on satellite campuses will also receive a mail-in ballot. There will be an information meeting at the WWU campus in Bellingham on April 13. Onsite balloting at the main WWU campus will be April 20. That will also be the deadline for receipt of mail ballots from employees at satellite campuses and absentee ballots. The vote count will also be April 20.

Budget coming soon, so we need to start series of calls to action

We expect to see the first legislative version of the 2011-2013 Operating Budget later this week. So we need to start reminding legislators to put people first on a number of your key issues. First up: Natural resources.


In the Operating Budget:

  • We need funding to replace general funds for parks, Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources. Parks alone stands to lose $60 million – and about 100 state parks could be closed without replacement funds. (This proposal is in SSB 5622 and HB 1796 to have user fees – the Discover Pass – generate the needed revenue).
  • Increase revenue to the State Wildlife Account (seen in HB 1387 and SB 5385 to boost license-fee rates to raise needed revenue).
  • To preserve the hydraulic project approval (HPA) process and charge fees to users (seen in SB 5862 and HB 2008). (The HPA process requires approval for any project that will use, divert, obstruct or change the natural flow or bed of any salt or fresh waters in the state.)
EASY CALL TO ACTION: Call 1-800-562-6000 and urge your legislators in the budget to support user fees necessary to retain critical natural resource agencies and services.

  • The House version of the Corrections safety bill comes up for a hearing at noon, tomorrow, March 30, in the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee. Call your two House members at 1-800-562-6000 and urge them to include Community Corrections officers in HB 2036, the DOC Safety Bill.
  • ESHB 1041, the bill allowing Community Corrections officers to carry firearms off duty for their protection, is now awaiting a vote of the full Senate. Call 1-800-562-6000 and urge your senator to support ESHB 1041.

March 26, 2011

Calls needed this weekend to ensure CCO safety issues are included

SSB 5907 addresses safety concerns within DOC, but fails to extend these safety provisions to Community Corrections Officers. The bill just passed out of Senate Labor Commerce and is headed to Ways and Means.

Call the Legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000 this weekend and urge your Senators to support our community corrections officers by insisting that Community Corrections safety issues be included in SSB 5907.

Safety issues don't go away when offenders reach the community. CCO's need to be included in any advisory committees or safety studies that the legislature implements. Issues of safety need to be a mandatory issue at the bargaining table.

Calls are especially needed if your Senator is a member of the Ways and Means Committee:
Murray (D-43), Chair;
Kilmer (D-26), V-Chair/Capital Budget, Chair
Baumgartner (R-6)
Baxter (R-4)
Brown (D-3)
Conway (D-29)
Fraser (D-22)
Hatfield (D-19)
Hewitt (R-16)
Holmquist Newbry (R-13)
Honeyford (R-15)
Kastama (D-25)
Keiser (D-33)
Kohl-Welles (D-36)
Parlette (R-12), Capital
Pflug (R-5)
Pridemore (D-49)
Regala (D-27)
Rockefeller (D-23)
Schoesler (R-9)
Tom (D-48)
Zarelli (R-18)

March 24, 2011

Calls needed to oppose Senate version of IT Consolidation bill in current form

The Senate Government Operations Committee Thursday (March 24) took up its version of the bill to consolidate state information technology services in a new Consolidated Technology Services Agency.
But unlike the version that passed the House (SHB 1841) with the good amendment retaining all civil service and collective bargaining rights, the Senate version (SB 5761), strips those rights away.
Federation Lobbyist Alia Griffing told the panel the union is opposed to SB 5761 in its current form with workers’ rights taken away.
“Quite frankly, we’re offended by the message that civil service is a problem,” Griffing said.
Management can bring issues to the bargaining table at any time, but haven’t, she said.
“Agencies can be nimble and the flexibility sought in this legislation is already built into the system,” Griffing said.
She said the bill takes out the protections against wasteful contracting out, “which means there is no required demonstration that the work being taken away from state employees will be actually cheaper, more efficient or more effective in the private sector.”
“If we can do the work more efficiently and cheaper in-house, we should be allowed to demonstrate that and present numbers and bid on the work that does in fact go out the door.”
“Rather than bargaining over these impacts, the bill stops those conversations from happening and the message here is that we, the union, are too bothersome so we’re taken out altogether,” Griffing added. 
CALL TO ACTION: Call your senator at 1-800-562-6000 and urge her or him to oppose SB 5761, the IT merger bill, in its current form and to instead support amendments retaining state civil service, collective bargaining and competitive contracting rights.

Calls needed on bill limiting liability for Community Corrections and DSHS

The bill (ESSB 5605) to limit liability for Community Corrections and DSHS actions done in good faith did not come to a vote in the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. But there’s a proposed committee amendment that would not extend the provisions of the bill to child abuse investigations.


Call your two House members at 1-800-562-6000 to support ESSB 5605 in its current form and reject the Klippert amendment to expand liability. This is especially important if you have a member of the House Judiciary Committee from your district. The members of the House Judiciary Committee are:

(Chair) Rep. Jamie Pedersen of the 43rd District.

Rep. Roger Goodman of the 45th District.
Rep. Jay Rodne of the 5th District.
Rep. Matt Shea of the 4th District.
Rep. Bruce Chandler of the 15th District.
Rep. Deb Eddy of the 48th District.
Rep. David Frockt of the 46th District.
Rep. Steve Kirby of the 29th District.
Rep. Brad Klippert of the 8th District.
Rep. Terry Nealey of the 16th District.
Rep. Tina Ordwall of the 33rd District.
Rep. Ann Rivers of the 18th District.
Rep. Mary Helen Roberts of the 21st District.

Calls needed on off-duty arms bill for CCO's

Call your senator at 1-800-562-6000 to support ESHB 1041 to give off-duty Community Corrections officers who’ve received training the right to carry weapons to protect themselves from released offenders who may recognize them in everyday life. The bill had no opposition in a March 23 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Federation Lobbyist Matt Zuvich said many of the original concerns were fixed in the House before it passed there.

Bargaining Updates

THE EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE. After the latest mediation session March 22, the TESC Bargaining Team reports that management is unwilling to agree that exempt staff will take the same 3 percent salary cut as proposed to classified staff. Otherwise, agreement is close. The team encourages TESC members to continue wearing their “Fair Contract” buttons and signing the petition being circulated on campus.

Members of the Interpreters United Bargaining Team began their negotiations with the governor’s Labor Relations Office Wednesday (March 23). The team presented and explained its 18 contract article proposals to management. They return to the table March 30.

March 22, 2011

In memoriam: Genoveva Tavares

And we have sad news from the Tri-Cities. Long-time Local 1253 member Genoveva Tavares, a WorkFirst program specialist at the Kennewick Community Service Office of DSHS, died Monday (March 21). She was 45. She had been courageously battling cancer. As we get more details, we will pass them along. The entire Federation family joins in sending condolences to her family, friends and co-workers.


Services have been set for Local 1253 Genoveva Tavares, who passed away Monday. Viewing will be from 3 to 8 p.m. today, Thursday, March 24, with Rosary at 6 p.m., at Mueller’s Funeral Home, 1608 West Court Street, Pasco. Her funeral will be at 11 a.m., tomorrow, Friday, March 25, at St. Patrick’s Church in Pasco, with burial following.

There may be a new middle ground on workers' comp - ESB 5566

The bad ESB 5566 to pressure injured workers to settle for lump-sum payments may have met a counter in a package of bills that came up for a hearing today in House Labor and Workforce Development Committee.

These bills aren’t perfect, but if legislators insist on continuing to pursue cost savings beyond the $218 million already approved this session, these new bills could be a more responsible course of action than dismantling the system, which is what ESB 5566 would do.

The new bills are:
  • HB 2023 that would offset already-paid partial disability awards from the amount of a total disability award, should the injury prove to permanently keep the worker from returning to work.
  • HB 2025 that would freeze the system’s annual cost-of-living adjustments for the 2012 fiscal year.
  • HB 2026 that would create an industrial insurance rainy day fund.

Union joins in DOT Worker Memorial ceremony to remember the 59 who've died on the job since 1950

The Federation joined with Department of Transportation workers and families of fallen DOT workers Tuesday at the annual DOT Worker Memorial ceremony at agency headquarters in Olympia.

Betty Rhynalds, widow of Local 378 member Billy Rhynalds, killed on the job in January, thanked the agency and the families of other fallen workers.

“There was not one day that he did not want to be part of the community or a department (where) he was helping others,” she said.

Agency officials said they should break ground on a permanent WSDOT Worker Memorial adjacent to headquarters soon. The National Work Zone Memorial Wall was part of the ceremony.

Those in attendance were encouraged to contribute to the new WSDOT Memorial Foundation to remember the fallen, care for DOT retirees and help family members left behind. The Federation recently contributed $2,012 to the foundation -- $1 for each of the union’s 2,012 DOT members. We have a link on our website at or go directly to the foundation’s website at

“We simply can’t lose any more DOT workers,” said Federation President Carol Dotlich. “They are vital to our state. But more importantly, they are husbands and wives, dads and moms and sons and daughters. The impact on the families left behind is the most tragic outcome.

“In the words of Mother Jones, we mourn the dead, but we will fight like hell for the living.”

BULLETIN: Norm Schut, Pioneering WFSE/AFSCME Executive Director, dies

You may know the name of Norm Schut only from the scholarship we sponsor. But he was WFSE's first executive director from 1952 to 1974, and during that time established the Federation as THE state employees union, instituted a civil rights committee in the union in the early 1960s and started the fight that brought comparable worth/pay equity.

In 1972 he took the historic step of taking to the floor of the AFSCME Convention to nominate William Lucy for International Secretary-Treasurer, the first African-American to hold that post. Norm later went on to found our retirees chapter and in retirement also headed the Senior Citizen Lobby and was a trustee at South Puget Sound Community College and a leader in the association of trustees.

We got word from his niece that Norm died Monday. As we get more details on any services, we will pass them along.

Norm Schut was a big piece of the history of the Federation, AFSCME, and our state.

Binding arbitration over safety issues good for Community Corrections - and good for law enforcement

The Federation-backed bill to bring binding interest arbitration over safety issues for Community Corrections members will help CCOs “resolve issues that involve personal safety.”

That’s what King County State Corrections Local 308 President Ginger Richardson told the Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee Monday (March 21).

It was the first hearing in the Senate for EHB 2011, which passed the House 59-36.

“The state of Washington needs to recognize corrections and supervision is a dangerous occupation,” Richardson said.

Attempts to address some safety issues through agency-specific, or supplemental bargaining, hit a brick wall in 2010, Richardson said, so Community Corrections officers had no where else to turn except the Legislature and EHB 2011.

“”Our issues are often not addressed,” she said.

Supporters have worked to keep costs low on the binding arbitration bill, but, said Richardson:

“I don’t think you can put a price on my safety and my co-workers’ safety to be able to go home at night.”

Bill limiting liability for Community Corrections, DSHS workers acting in good faith picks up some powerful supporters

The bill to limit liability for Community Corrections and DSHS social workers acting in good faith picked up the support of the state Attorney General’s office and the Department of Corrections Monday (March 21) in a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.

ESSB 5605 had earlier passed the Senate 40-9.

A trio of Federation speakers applauded the high-level support.

“As a CCO, I do believe in accountability,” Local 308 member Ton Johnson told the committee. “But the problem from my perspective is we don’t have a good balance. Subsequently, the liability becomes the determinant consideration on operational decisions.”

Mike Wiseman, a Local 443 member of the Department of Health, who serves on a special Federation committee on liability reform issues, said ESSB 5605 supports the values of “accountability and improved services.”

The bill “doesn’t reduce the duties owed but it does set the criteria under which the government will pay for certain errors and omissions,” Wiseman said. “We don’t see any diminishing of the dedication or motivation of DSHS caseworkers. And we would suggest that that should not be read into the bill.”

“Too often bad outcomes are caused by non-state actors,” said another member of that task force, Steve Segal, a Local 443 member in DSHS. 

“This legislation will not cause bad outcomes. State employees who work these cases are conscientious, caring, hard-working. This legislation won’t change those attributes.”

Health Savings Account bill still bad in the House; support for Transporation budget; opposition for cost-of-living increase limits for PERS1

The bill passed by the Senate that would impose Indiana-style high insurance deductibles on state employees here should be stopped in the House.
That’s the message delivered by the Federation and others at Monday’s hearing on ESB 5773 before the House Ways and Means Committee.
The health savings account bill may initially attract state employees who are younger, healthier and without families to support, said Federation Lobbyist Alia Griffing.
But over time, “it boxes in the state and does nothing to actually reduce the costs but shifts them onto the workers across all state plans at a time when state workers’ paychecks and out-of-pockets are already going backwards,” she said.
The only state that implemented a health savings account for state employees was Indiana, she said. Far from being voluntary, employees were forced into the health savings accounts when costs for other state plans were artificially jacked up. Once in the health savings accounts, Indiana state employees saw those costs skyrocket, too, Griffing said.
  • The 2011-2013 House Transportation Budget fully funds the jobs of Federation Department of Transportation members. The union indicated support for HB 1175 at a Monday hearing before the House Transportation Committee.
  • The Federation joined with members of the Retired Public Employees Council of Washington/AFSCME to oppose HB 2021, the bill limiting cost-of-living increases for PERS 1 retirees. Federation Lobbyist Matt Zuvich said the PERS I retirees didn’t cause the budget deficit and it’s unfair “to solve the problem on folks who have made their payments.”

WFSE/AFSCME welcomes newest unit - and contract

With little fanfare, the first group of private-sector employees in the Federation ratified their contract and signed it last week.

They are the five or so members of the faith-based Americans Friend Service Committee’s Pacific Northwest Regional Office. They ratified their agreement March 15 and signed it with management Friday, March 18. Their contract is retroactive to October 2010 and runs until Sept. 30, 2011. They had been represented by Oregon AFSCME Council 75, but over time most of their workforce ended up in Seattle.

March 21, 2011

Put People First! rally on April 8 in Olympia

Rally at the Capitol steps at noon on April 8 to demand that legislators put people first when seeking solutions to the budget crisis. 


Washington state's economy has been brought to its knees over the past several years - not by working men and women, but by Wall Street bankers who created the worst economic crisis in our country since the 1930's. Many ordinary working-class people have already paid the price in lost jobs, homes, services and hope.

People are looking for real solutions. We don't need more cuts to working families. We need legislators to recognize that public servants and middle-class workers have already made deep sacrifices to help fix the economy.

The legislature gave away $3 billion in tax breaks in the past 10 years. We need legislators to close tax loopholes and protect the safety net.

On April 8th - come to Olympia and stand in solidarity to demand that legislators protect the middle class and find real solutions to the budget deficit. 


We now know that well over 5000 labor and community people are ramping up for this rally. I hope to see your face in the crowd! 

Buses are running from Arlington, Everett, Seattle, Tukwila, Federal Way, Tacoma, Lakewood, Spokane, Richland, Sunnyside, Yakima, Vancouver and Kelso. Seats are limited, so register today. 


March 18, 2011

Send a thank you note to the WI-14

Please take a minute to email a thank you note to the 14 Wisconsin Democratic State Senators who left the state in order to stall the anti-worker bill.  

Below you will find the Senators’ email addresses and a sample letter.  Please copy Doug Burnett (, Debra Garcia ( and Flo Walker ( on your email so we are able to track how many are sent.  Thank you.

E-mail addresses:
Senator Tim Carpenter:
Senator Spencer Coggs:
Senator Tim Cullen:
Senator Jon Erpenbach:
Senator Dave Hansen:
Senator Jim Holperin:
Senator Bob Jauch:
Senator Chris Larson:
Senator Julie Lassa:
Senator Mark Miller:
Senator Fred Risser:
Senator Lena Taylor:
Senator Kathleen Vinehout:
Senator Robert Wirch:
Sample Thank You Letter:
As an AFSCME leader, I would like to take a moment to thank you for your support of workers in Wisconsin. 
Through your brave actions, a line was drawn in the sand in the attacks on working people.  While this was the right thing to do, we know that it was not necessarily an easy thing to do.  You sacrificed time with your own families and dealt with a great amount of pressure to stand up for what is right.  You have inspired us all.
Thank you again for standing up for workers’ rights in Wisconsin, the birthplace of our great union.
In Solidarity,

March 17, 2011

"Put People First!" demands presented to governor, legislature by 3000-plus at rally today

On the day the latest state revenue forecast predicts the deficit will grow by nearly $700 million to $5.1 billion, some 3,000 Federation members and their allies rallied at the Capitol and presented a list of demands to the governor and Legislature to put people first with a responsible budget that protects vital services and asks the wealthy and the corporations to take on their fair share of sacrifices.

A delegation including Federation President Carol Dotlich went from the Protect Our Economic Future rally to meet with representatives from the governor's office, the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader.

They then joined the crowd that had marched from the Capitol steps into the rotunda.

They made it clear they expect an answer by the week of April 4, when a Week of Action will culminate with another huge rally at the Capitol April 8.

"You the governor and the state Legislature have a choice," said rally emcee Robby Stern. "You can create a budget that lessens human suffering and inequality, or you can protect corporations and the wealthy from sharing the sacrifice.

"The people of Washington await your response."

In the past 10 years, the Legislature gave away $3 billion in tax breaks, which could have put to good use in this economic crisis.

Legislators "need to know that we are deadly serious, that the time for taking out this Wall Street-produced recession and economic crisis on working people, low-income people, our children and the vulnerable in our state has come to an end."
For information on the Week of Action, go to our Action Center at

March 16, 2011

Up to four community and technical colleges could close under Governor's proposed budget cuts

Legislative budget writers continued their look at the devastating impacts of the governor’s proposed budget cuts on higher education.

The House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday (March 15) learned that the governor’s cuts would range from 23 percent to 27 percent in state community and technical colleges. That translates to tuition hikes between 18 percent and 23 percent. That means 8,800 fewer individuals a year prepared for jobs.

The potential impact on enrollment is stunning. Between 26,000 and 38,000 students would be turned away at state community and technical colleges.

And that translates to closure of between 2.5 and four colleges. No closures are being proposed but the fact the possibility is in black and white is chilling.

Senate committee gives a quarter of its hearing over to Indiana advocate for closure of Residential Habilitation Centers

The Senate Health and Long-Term Committee today (March 16) spent a quarter of its public hearing listening to a member of The ARC of Indiana who talked from a “parent’s perspective” about how that state “successfully” closed its five residential habilitation centers and moved residents into the community.

The testimony came just days after a legislative delegation visited Frances Haddon Morgan Center in Bremerton and learned the center provides more cost-effective care than community options.

The Indiana presentation raised the skepticism from at least one of the committee members.

“My worry here is the fiscal realities of the current recession are probably limiting the resources that might be available to assist in this transition,” Sen. Steve Conway of the 29th District said. “That’s just an obvious question as well as an observation.

The issue of RHC closures is expected to be a big part of the biennial budget debate that starts next week when the House unveils its spending plan.

Bill alllowing legislators to meet with state employees gets good Senate hearing

Rep. Sam Hunt’s bill to clarify it’s OK for legislators to meet with state employees for informational meetings at worksite lunchtime meetings and the like had no opposition in its first Senate Hearing Tuesday (March 15). SHB 1179 came before the Senate Government Operations Committee.

“It would allow you as legislators to come and give information to our members or any other state employee for that matter and not have it be a conflict of interest,” Federation Lobbyist Matt Zuvich told the committee.

WFSE/AFSCME testifies for latest bill to save HPA program

The Federation Tuesday (March15) testified in favor of HB 2008, the latest bill to preserve the hydraulic project approval process and charge user fees to benefit natural resources programs.

Federation Lobbyist Alia Griffing said HB 2008 like earlier bills gets at the reality of funding natural resources with too few dollars available. And the HPA process is a specialized service that users should pay for.

  • The House today introduced HB 2019 today to redirect cigarette tax money to the state General Fund.
  • Also introduced today: HB 2021, another bill to limit the COLA for PERS 1 retirees.

March 15, 2011

Bargaining updates:


Good news! The WSU Bargaining Team on Friday (March 11) reached tentative agreement on a 2011-2013 contract. The team is putting together summary information, formatting the tentative agreement for review by WSU members and a ratification schedule. For updates, go to > Bargaining > WSU.


The TESC Bargaining Team made substantial progress March 11 and reached tentative agreement on four important articles: 17 – Suspended Operations and Inclement Weather; 35 – Layoff and Recall; 40 – Union Activities; and 8 – Overtime. Significant issues remain, including wages and vacation leave. TESC members continue their contract campaign, wearing “Fair Contract Now!” buttons and signing the petition for fair and shared sacrifice. The team returns to the table March 22.

Improved Social Worker Title bill gets first House hearing

The bill that originally would have stripped state social workers of their title that has since been heavily amended thanks to the activism of Federation social worker members got its first House hearing Monday (March 14).

“We raised a number of concerns over in the Senate and have since worked out those kinks,” Federation Lobbyist Alia Griffing told the House Health Care and Wellness Committee.

Current social workers can keep their title, even when moving to a new job in state government. Children in dependency will still be represented by DSHS social workers, she said. 

Because of those improvements, “we’re neutral on the bill,” Griffing told the committee.

WFSE/AFSCME continues concerns over bill reducing staffing in transition facilities tied to the special commitment center

The Federation took its concerns over SHB 1247, the bill reducing staffing levels in secure community transition facilities, to the House Ways and Means Committee Monday (March 14).

The transition facilities are tied to the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island, which houses civilly committed sexually violent predators. One of the transition facilities is located on McNeil Island. Two are in Seattle.

Federation Lobbyist Matt Zuvich said the Legislature mandated that members go into the community with the civilly committed residents.

“Our members tell us scenarios where if staffing is cut from where it currently is now that might end up leaving folks single-staffed with folks back at the house while other folks are transporting out in the community doing what they need to do for the legislative mandate,” Zuvich said.

Cutting staff will also lead to overtime costs and the “burnout that comes with having to do overtime on a daily basis,” he said. 


• The Federation on Monday registered support for: ESHB 1740, creating a health benefit exchange to increase access to quality, affordable health care (House Health and Long-Term Care Committee); ESHB 1311, improving health care in the state using evidence-based care (House Health and Long-Term Care Committee); SSB 5025, limiting costly public records requests by inmates (House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee).

Continue calls against bad workers' comp bill:

Call 1-800-562-6000 and urge your House members to oppose ESB 5566 and any form of “Compromise and Release;” this policy harms workers.

Good bill for real budget solutions gets hearing tomorrow

We hope you’ll support a “real solutions/shared sacrifice” bill put forward by Sen. Nick Harper of the 38th District.

SB 5872 would require that if a budget cut is made that resulted in increased costs in another area of the budget that those increased costs must be accounted for.

SB 5872 comes before the Senate Ways and Means Committee at 3:30 p.m., tomorrow, Wednesday, March 16, in Senate Hearing Room 4 in the John A. Cherberg Building on the Capitol campus in Olympia. The bill has bipartisan support.

So please call 1-800-562-6000 and urge your senator to support SB 5872.

Legislators tour Frances Haddon Morgan Center

Rep. Tami Green (28th Dist.) and Sen. Phil Rockefeller (23rd Dist.) toured Frances Haddon Morgan Center with parents and workers.

Federation Executive Board Member Julianne Moore (Yakima Valley School) and Federation Executive Director Greg Devereux led several legislators on a tour of Frances Haddon Morgan Center in Bremerton March 11.

The center has been targeted for closure, but advocates argue that the autistic residents wouldn’t be well served by a move to other facilities and that the Morgan Center is actually the most cost-effective care available. Closure would end up costing the state more.

House expected to release 2011-2013 budget proposal next week

Thursday’s revenue forecast is the milepost legislators wait for before starting the tough debate over the 2011-2013 biennial budget. The House is expected to lead the way by unveiling its spending plan sometime next week. Stay tuned.

Revenue forecast day is on St. Patrick's Day - what you can do:

  • Turn out for the “Rally to Protect Our Future,” sponsored by our allies in the Economic Future Coalition, this Thursday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, Noon, Capitol Steps, Olympia. This rally will focus on education, health care, the environment and civil rights. It also comes the day of the March revenue forecast.
  • Wear your AFSCME green t-shirt to show support for real solutions and shared sacrifice, not blaming public servants and harming the services we provide.

March 10, 2011

Corrections Local 308 challenges other WFSE/AFSCME locals to meet or beat contribution to Wisconsin Workers' Rights Emergency Response Fund

State Community Corrections Local 308 in King County has sent a check for $500 to support embattled AFSCME public workers in Wisconsin. 

Local 308 is now challenging other WFSE/AFSCME locals to meet or beat their contribution. 

AFSCME President Gerald McEntee has sent out an appeal. Here is the link to contribute to the Wisconsin Workers’ Rights Emergency Response Fund.

This is all the more important after supporters of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker rigged a state Senate vote there to pass the bill eliminating collective bargaining rights and workers’ voice. 

Marty Biel, executive director of our counterpart Wisconsin State Employees Union/AFSCME, said the rigged vote turned Wisconsin into a “banana republic.” 

Here, Sen. Joe Zarelli is keeping a low profile after the chair of Washignton’s state Senate Ways and Means Committee, Sen. Ed Murray, said he opposes Zarelli’s bill to scuttle our contracts and force negotiations to cut pay more and impose even higher health cost increases. Murray said the bill will not get a hearing in his committee. But he told the Seattle Times it’s possible Zarelli and the supporters of his SB 5870, which includes at least one Democratic co-sponsor, may use a procedural ploy to relieve the committee of the bill and bring it straight to the floor. Zarelli told the Times more senators “may be open to the idea after the March 17 revenue forecast” which is expected to show a larger budget deficit.


  • Call 1-800-562-6000 and tell your legislators to oppose SB 5870. Legislators need to enact real solutions, like closing the $100 million tax break for out-of-state banks and billions in other loopholes rather than blaming public servants and imposing deeper pay cuts and even higher health costs.
  • Turn out for the “Rally to Protect Our Future,” sponsored by our allies in the Our Economic Future Coalition, Thursday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, Noon, Capitol Steps, Olympia. This rally will focus on education, health care, the environment and civil rights.
  • And save the week of April 4 for the “Week of Action,” with a big rally expected for later in that week. Details to come.

March 9, 2011

Scuttle state contracts, Zarelli/Tom legislation says

This isn’t Wisconsin, but it’s starting to look like it.

Thwarted in their attempt to wipe out your collective bargaining, union and contracting out rights, Senate Republicans have now targeted the just-ratified Federation’s General Government contract and the eight higher education contracts that are still in negotiations.

This time, Sen. Joe Zarelli of the 18th District has attracted a Democratic co-sponsor, Sen. Rodney Tom, the former Republican from the 48th District.

They and seven other Republican senators today introduced Senate Bill 5870  - titled "Rejecting the request for funds necessary to implement state collective bargaining agreements for the 2011-2013 fiscal biennium" - basically says the 3 percent pay cut and 25 percent increases for health costs aren’t a big enough sacrifice. 

The bill says the General Government agreement and, prospectively, the eight higher ed agreements are not financially feasible. The bill would order the union back to the table to negotiate: higher health costs, doing away with step increases, reductions in health coverage, permanent pay cuts and an end to sick leave cashout.

The other seven Republican co-sponsors of SB 5870 are: Sen. Michael Baumgartner of the 6th District; Sen. Dan Swecker of the 20th District; Sen. Val Stevens of the 39th District; Sen. Doug Ericksen of the 42nd District; Sen. Bob Morton of the 7th District; Sen. Jim Honeyford of the 15th District; and Sen. Linda Evans Parlette of the 12th District.

SB 5870 has been referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

We can’t let our guard down. Call your senator at 1-800-562-6000 to oppose SB 5870. We’ve sacrificed and done our part – senators need now to find real solutions instead of blaming public servants.

Mobilization needed to counter grim higher education budget picture laid out to legislators today

House Higher Education Committee this morning (and its Senate counterpart this afternoon) got a grim overview of the potential, devastating cuts proposed by the governor.
At the University of Washington alone, the 30 percent proposed cuts would eliminate 1,500 jobs, cut access for in-state students, reduce safety programs, reduce the number of degrees awarded and more.
Mike Reilly of the Council of Presidents said the cuts overall would worsen Washington’s ranking of 47th worst in the nation for spending on higher education students.
Washington has the best graduation rate in the nation, and those with bachelor’s degrees have lower unemployment, he said. Not spending the money on higher education will reduce the number of degree earners and society will end up paying for more social services and prison, Reilly said.
Washington State University President said the state’s economic recovery will lag if lawmakers “continue to disinvest” in higher education.
And one student speaker said the potential cuts “weaken the promise to Washingtonians” and “suck away the life” of campuses.
The committee was told that cuts on other campuses would include:
  • Washington State University – cuts in university maintenance, safety and libraries, a loss of 750 jobs and loss of state and federal grants. 
  • Central Washington University – cuts to maintenance and technology, increased student debt. 
  • Eastern Washington University – cuts to custodial and police, infrastructure deterioration, job cuts. 
  • The Evergreen State College – cuts to building support services, increases in maintenance backlog, cuts to student support services. 
  • Western Washington University – cutting three colleges, replacing 2,037 in-state students with 2,037 out-of-state undergraduates, reducing student support services, reducing facilities maintenance and safety, job losses. 
  • Community and Technical Colleges – reduced access for low-income students, GED and literacy programs, reduced facilities maintenance, furloughs, layoffs.

            Mobilization opportunities coming up . . .

            The Federation is joining with a number of allies for high-visibility job actions in Olympian. Job actions at your worksite are also encouraged.
            • Rally to Protect Our Future, sponsored by our allies in the Our Economic Future Coalition, Thursday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, Noon, Capitol Steps, Olympia. This rally will focus on education, health care, the environment and civil rights.
            • Details are still being finalized for the Week of Action that will culminate in a huge rally Friday, April 8, in Olympia. Watch for details.

            WFSE/AFSCME supports new hydraulic permit bill

            The Federation this morning testified in favor of SB 5862 to preserve the hydraulic project approval (HPA) process and charge fees to users.

            The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Hargrove of the 24th District, would generate needed funds for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

            The HPA process requires approval for any project that will use, divert, obstruct or change the natural flow or bed of any salt or fresh waters in the state.

            There “no longer is adequate revenue to fund the agency,” Federation Lobbyist Alia Griffing told the Senate Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee.

            The agency is facing a $30 million shortfall.
    “DFW will no longer be able to perform important agency functions and adequately protect the state’s natural resources,” Griffing said. “The HPA is a special service not utilized by the general public and should be paid for by the users….

            “No one wants to lose their valuable natural resources found in this state. Our members in DFW work in this field not for the money, but because they believe in what they do and want Washington to be the rich, diverse, beautiful state it has always been.”

            March 8, 2011

            Register to attend a scheduled Lobby Day

            Lobby Days already scheduled during the session that focus on specific bargaining groups or locals. Use the links below to register online:

            Interpreters are scheduding individual days.  Please contact Pam Carl at 800-562-6002 or to schedule. 

            Need a different day? Schedule your own lobby day.  Contact Diane Whitmore at 800-562-6002 to schedule a day that works best for your schedule.

            Compromise binding arbitration bill for Community Corrections Officers passes House

            Thanks to all of you who responded to yesterday’s text message and e-mail call to action on HB 2011, the compromise bill extending binding arbitration over safety issues to Community Corrections officers. The measure passed the House Monday on a vote of 59-36 with three excused.

            Next legislative deadlines:

            Yesterday’s “Cut-off Monday” deadline is a prelude to the next major deadlines. March 25 will be the deadline for most House bills to pass Senate committees and for most Senate bills to pass House committees. April 1 will be the next fiscal committee deadline. And April 12 will be the deadline for most House bills to pass the Senate and for most Senate bills to pass the House.

            Many of the bills we’re pushing have been exempted from those deadlines because they have been deemed “necessary to implement the budget.”

            Wellness incentive bill introduced

            We’re assessing a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Rodney Tom, Sen. Randi Becker and Sen. Doug Ericksen on wellness incentives that would impact your future bargaining on health benefits. 

            Senate Bill 5869 was introduced today and referred to the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee. It comes fairly late in the session so we don’t quite know what to make of it.

            SB 5869 would mandate that all contracts include performance-based wellness incentives to reduce the actuarial costs associated with obesity, smoking, body mass index, cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The bill said incentives would include rebates or co-payment or coinsurance adjustments.

            Anyway, we put it out there for your information.

            Town Hall meetings this weekend

            Several legislators are holding town hall meetings back in their districts this weekend. Our allies in the Our Economic Future Coalition have a list of town hall meetings you’re encouraged to attend. Go to: 

            We encourage you to attend to press your case for real solutions to the budget problem that include closing tax loopholes and trimming the Washington Management Service and not closing Yakima Valley School, Frances Haddon Morgan Center, Maple Lane School, funding state parks, not harming services with the various agency consolidations, keeping Fish and Wildlife enforcement strong, funding Community Corrections and much more.

            Our Economic Future Coalition has put together a list of some of those unjustified tax giveaways. Go to their website at: 

            Of the town halls meetings, one we need a good turnout for is the one in the 43rd District. House Speaker Frank Chopp and his seatmate Rep. Jamie Pedersen will hold their town hall meeting  from 2 to 3 p.m., this Saturday, March 12, at Seattle First Baptist Church, 1111 Harvard Ave. (on First Hill up from Broadway). It is crucial to get advocates for the residential habilitation centers to the 43rd District town hall and urge Speaker Chopp to continue his strong support for the RHCs.

            Call to action for Frances Haddon Morgan Center

            We can take nothing for granted, but parents and staff at Frances Haddon Morgan Center in Bremerton have been told that the DSHS Division of Developmental Disabilities still plans to downsize the facility by June 30 – even though the Legislature has not authorized closure. 

            So once again call your legislators at 1-800-562-6000 and urge them to stop the fast-track closure of Frances Haddon Morgan Center.

            March 4, 2011

            Support bill allowing legislators to meet with state employees

            HB 1179, the bill clarifying it’s OK for legislators to meet with state employees at the worksite for informational or educational meetings, must pass the House by Monday.

            Call your two House members at 1-800-562-6000 and urge them to support HB 1179, the bill allowing legislators to meet with state employees.

            Support bill increasing the death benefit for duty-related deaths

            SB 5160, the bill increasing the duty-related death benefit for public employees from $150,000 to $214,000, is awaiting a vote of the full Senate. 

            Call your senator at 1-800-562-6000 and urge her or him to support SB 5160, the duty-related death benefit bill.

            Support bill allowing off-duty community corrections officers to carry firearms

            ESHB 1041 must pass the House by Monday to stay alive for Senate consideration. The bill would allow Community Corrections officers who have completed government-sponsored enforcement firearms training to carry a concealed weapon off-duty, with some restrictions. It will protect CCOs when they’re off-duty – especially in the wake of last month’s incident where a wanted felon used a sawed-off shotgun to shoot at two officers in Longview. The suspect fired when he recognized one of the CCOs – if it had happened off-duty, the CCOs would not have been armed.

            So call your two House members at 1-800-562-6000 and urge them to support ESHB 1041, the off-duty firearms bill to protect Community Corrections officers. It must pass the House by Monday.

            Mobilize against terrible workers' compensation bill - members needed in Senate gallery on Sat., 3/5

            The Governor’s workers’ compensation “package” bill, SB 5566, is expected for a vote of the full Senate Saturday.

            We need Federation members in the Senate gallery with AFSCME green shirts on. The Senate convenes at 10 a.m., tomorrow, Saturday, March 5. Get there whenever you can.

            At issue: Washington State Senators are negotiating "compromise" legislation that will include significant benefit cuts for workers who get injured or permanently disabled on the job in Washington state. These cuts have nothing to do with the budget crisis.

            This is a serious threat to the quality services provided by our members in the Department of Labor and Industries. And it’s a direct attack on L&I members’ jobs. We defeated Initiative 1082 this past November. We need to finish the job in the 2011 legislative session. 

            Please show up Saturday and call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000:

            Tell your legislators to “OPPOSE SB 5566 and any bill that would cut workers' comp benefits. OPPOSE compromise-and-release lump-sum buyouts and OPPOSE cutting injured workers off of their disability pensions.”

            Tell legislators - don't cut injured workers benefits!

            Washington State Senators are negotiating "compromise" legislation that will include significant benefit cuts for workers who get injured or permanently disabled on the job in Washington state. These cuts have nothing to do with the budget crisis. The workers' compensation system is separate, and employer costs in our state are LOWER than they are in 35 other states. But powerful corporate lobbying groups are demanding benefit cuts anyway so they can save more money on their workers' comp premiums.

            This is a serious threat to the quality services provided by our members in the Department of Labor and Industries. And it’s a direct attack on L&I members’ jobs. We defeated Initiative 1082 this past November. We need to finish the job in the 2011 legislative session.

            CALL TO ACTION:

            1. Email your State Senators TODAY and tell them: No "compromise" that includes benefit cuts for injured workers! Follow the link here:

            2. Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message for all of your legislators. Tell them: "OPPOSE any bill that would cut workers' comp benefits. OPPOSE compromise-and-release lump-sum buyouts and OPPOSE cutting injured workers off of their disability pensions."

            Hundreds march to support UW Stewards

            Members of Local 1488 and their student body allies twice marched on management Wednesday (March 2) to protest the University of Washington’s attempts to tell members which stewards could represent them.

            “We don’t tell you who your management representatives are, so we don’t feel like you need to be telling the union who their stewards are,” Local 1488 Steward Paula Lukaszek told UW Vice President for Human Resources Mindy Kornberg. The members presented hundreds of signed petitions to Kornberg and Peter Denis, labor relations director.

            Both sides met moments later in a regular joint labor-management meeting.

            March 2, 2011

            Tell ADD to to remove recommendation to eliminate congregate care.

            Our allies in the VOR (Voice of the Retarded) are urging our members in the DSHS Division of Developmental Disabilities to contact the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) to remove its recommendation to eliminate congregate care.

            ADD oversees the DD Act programs in this state. The comment deadline has been extended to March 4.

            Submit your comments here:

            Calls needed to save workers' compensation benefits

            Our workers’ comp system continues to come under attack from the business community. We need you to call NOW! To tell your legislators not to cut workers’ comp benefits.

            Call 1-800-562-6000. Tell your legislators to oppose any bill that would cut workers’ comp benefits. 
            • Tell them to support HB 2002, HB 1869 and SB 5801 because this state has proven methods to address injured workers by providing up front medical care and getting workers back to work faster.
              Our workers’ comp system is a critical safety net that helps the 150,000 workers injured on the job every year.  Learn more at

                Legislative bills to watch for:

                Every day, we’ll recap some of the major bills still alive in Olympia. Many have been deemed “necessary to implement the budget,” meaning they’re exempt from committee cut-offs. 

                Here are a few of the bills you’ve been following still alive as the Senate and House debate bills on the floor this week:
                • SSB 5459, the heavily amended bill on transition services for developmentally disabled residents. Otherwise known as the Kline Bill. This is a far cry from its original form – for instance, it now retains statutory authority for all the residential habilitation centers. While better, it’s the vehicle that could still be used to close one or more RHC. So stay tuned.
                • SB 5622 and HB 1796, the Discover Pass Bill to replace general funds to save state parks and fund parts of Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources.
                • HB 1387 and SB 5385, increasing revenue to the state Wildlife Account.
                • SB 5807 (Federation-initiated bill) for medical interpreters.
                • Closing tax loopholes to fund the Basic Health Program (HB 1847) and accounting for state tax expenditures in the state budget process (HB 1889 and SB 5831).
                • SSB 5605, limiting liability for certain Community Corrections and DSHS workers.
                • SSB 5024, placing restrictions on legal claims initiated by persons serving criminal sentences in state prisons.
                • All agency re-organizing bills likely remain alive because they’re budget-related: SSB 5669 – Natural resource agencies; SHB 1720 – Department of Enterprise Services; and SHB 1841 – Information technology.
                • SB 5160, increasing the duty-related death benefit for public employees.
                • HB 1179, clarifying that legislators and state employees may attend worksite informational or educational meetings.
                • SHB 1518 (Federation-initiated), authorizing pre-tax payroll deductions for qualified transit and parking benefits.
                • SSB 5126, salary reductions for elected officials and SSJR 8202, authorizing the reduction of public officials’ salaries.
                • HB 1625 and SB 5494, addressing the default investment option available to new PERS 3 members.
                • HB 1395 and SSB 5036, eliminating the expiration dates for the derelict vessel and invasive species removal fee. 
                 The 2-ton gorilla still to come: The 2011-2013 biennial operating budget.