Workers Memorial Day is April 28
Every year, we observe Workers Memorial Day to honor those who were hurt or killed on the job.The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has compiled a booklet featuring photos and thoughts from families about some of the state residents who died on the job in 2014.
“Each and every day in this country, on average 13 workers die on the job as a result of workplace injuries — women and men who go to work, never to return home to their families and loved ones,” said Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Read The Stand for more info.
Here's a list of commemorations around Washington:
- SPOKANE — Saturday, April 25 at 11am at Mission Park
- TACOMA — Tuesday, April 28 at 11am at Western State Hospital
- BELLINGHAM — Tuesday, April 28 at noon at the library
- TUMWATER —Tuesday, April 28 at 2pm at L&I headquarters
- SEATTLE — Wednesday, April 29 at 11:30am at UW HUB
#Public Service Matters
Last Saturday, WPEA members joined fellow state employees at rallies in communities across Washington state to show that public service matters and to call for funding our collective bargaining agreements.
We received support from small business owners who understand that state employees don’t just provide vital public services. They also shop at local businesses and have a huge economic impact.
Read more on The Stand
Special session will decide budget
On April 24, the legislature ends the 2015 regular session without passing a budget. Legislators will return for a 30-day special session on April 29. And the fate of 2015-2017 collective bargaining agreements--including the three percent COLA--is yet to be determined.
State employees haven't had a cost of living adjustment since 2008. COLAs are supported by the governor, the state House, and a bipartisan majority in the Senate. Even a recent Elway poll said 58 percent of voters want COLAs off the table.
WPEA members continue to take action and show that public service matters to communities across Washington. What you can do:
- Join fellow state employees in Olympia on May 9, waving signs along Capitol Way from 4:30-5:30pm
- Tell your legislators to fund the collective bargaining agreements--call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000
Union coalition says 'NO on Fast Track!'
An unprecedented coalition of more than 100 labor unions, environmental groups, community organizations, small businesses and other civic groups have joined forces to urge Washington’s Congressional delegation to oppose granting Trade Promotion Authority, known as "Fast Track," for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other NAFTA-style trade agreements. Read the coalition's letter to congress.
Despite opposition, "Fast Track" is moving quickly through Congress. UFCW President Marc Perrone voiced his concerns in the congress blog, The Hill.
Editorials slam Senate budget
In reviewing the Senate budget, The Olympian's editorial board gets it right: "It is full of as yet unexamined budget complexities but one thing is obvious: It balances the books too heavily on the backs of state employees." Read the full editorial.
The Daily Herald's editorial board agrees: "The tax increases proposed are fair and allow the state to begin making up for past losses to programs and employee compensation." Read the full editorial.
Budgets set up battle for COLAs
The Senate and House of Representatives have released their competing budget proposals, and the two proposals are drastically different when it comes to state employee compensation. The House of Representatives would fully fund the 3% cost-of-living increase for state employees. The last such increase for state employees was in 2008.
The Senate, on the other hand, has rejected the bargained contracts and is instead offering $2000 over two years to all state employees. This temporary pay-off would leave state employees even farther behind in the next round of bargaining.
The two bodies will be reconciling their budgets over the next three weeks, and they need to hear from you. Call the legislative hotline and tell your senators to respect the collective bargaining process and invest in our state employees by fully funding the 3% cost-of-living increase.
To get more involved, contact your WPEA lobbyist Seamus Petrie at Seamus@wpea.org or (360) 943-1121 x116.
Register now for union women's summer school
Since 1975, the residential school brings together union members, officers, and staff to strengthen their knowledge of the labor movement and develop skills which will enable them to become more active and influential in their unions.
This year, the Washington State Labor Council is offering four scholarships. Applications are due May 11.
Congratulations to Olympic College!
Olympic College was one of the ten finalists for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Learn more about the Aspen Prize.
Paul Baldwin at work at WSSB
At first glance, Paul Baldwin’s classroom probably looks like your typical science class. The room is filled with scales, beakers, books, and skeletons. But when you look closer, you’ll notice there’s a lot more you can touch, like the models of cell division, of the human organs, of plants.
Paul teaches middle and high school science, covering everything from biology to physical sciences. But as a teacher at the Washington State School for the Blind in Vancouver, things are a little different in his classroom. Read more...
Rally calls for Shared Prosperity
On February 20, WPEA members joined 800 other labor supporters at the state Capitol to rally for Shared Prosperity. Read more on the Washington State Labor Council's news site, The Stand.
“Workers deserve a share of the prosperity that they create and the economy grows when this happens. We need to raise wages and grow the economy,” said WSLC President Jeff Johnson as he opened the rally.
Members approve contracts for 2015-17
The contracts include two across-the-board increases: a 3% raise in July 2015 and approximately 1.8% in 2016.
- View the tentative agreement for General Government and
the summary of changes
- View the tentative agreement for Higher Education and
the summary of changes
The new health benefits agreement maintains the 85/15 premium split and limits out-of-pocket cost increases in the UMP Classic plan.