September 24, 2011

First push-back job action set for Monday at Western State Hospital

The first pushback rally at the proposed 10 percent cuts to fill the new $2 billion deficits takes place Monday at Western State Hospital in Lakewood.

Western is just one of the programs and institutions on the chopping block after agencies submitted their ideas Thursday. The governor is calling the Legislature back into session Nov. 28.

Monday’s job action is the first to call attention that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. It’s the first, but not the only. Unless we fight back everywhere, they’ll pick us off one line item, one ward closure, one institutions closure, one program elimination at a time. Their strategy is to attack us by inches, hoping it’ll be incremental enough that no one will notice – until it’s too late. And if while you may not be affected in this next round of budget cuts, remember – if they get away with it here, they will come for you next.

In the proposed budget cuts announced Thursday, DSHS would close two decertified wards at Western State and four civil wards between Western and Eastern State. Those aren’t the only DSHS cuts. But more on those later.

So Local 793 members have mobilized quickly. Monday’s public protest will be at 10 a.m. near the kitchen at Western State Hospital in Lakewood. If you’re able to join them in solidarity, please turn out. As we know, Local 793 has a long tradition of supporting your individual fights, too.

As we said, this is not the only attack and not the only push back action. More are coming or have already started, just in DSHS alone. We will have more details on the other agency cuts in these messages and any calls to action as we lead up to the Nov. 28 special legislative session.


The push-back against already proposed cuts started earlier this week for information technology workers going into the new Consolidated Technology Services agency.

But a months-long action by Local 716 members in Skamania and Klickitat counties hit a major milestone Thursday when they presented petitions signed by more than 1,000 residents to save the Community Service Office in Stevenson. DSHS wants to close the CSO. The action came at a packed town hall meeting Sept. 22 where the community, clients and our members came together to speak against the closure. But DSHS Regional Administrator Dan Owens said his hands were tied and the Stevenson CSO would close in June 2012. So stay tuned. His is not the last word. A copy of the petition was also sent to Gov. Gregoire

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