In the "committee" drop-down menu, select "Labor and Commerce"
In the "meeting" drop-down menu, select "1/24/23 10:30 AM"
When the list of bills pops up, click "SB 5217," then "I would like my position noted for the legislative record"
5. On the next screen, select "Pro" as your position in the drop-down menu, then fill in the rest of the fields. Make sure that the "organization" field is either blank or says "WPEA" - don't enter the name of your employer. If you aren't comfortable providing your phone number (which is a required field), you can use WPEA's number: 360-943-1121.
6. Click "Submit Registration" and you're done!
Welcome to the WPEA legislative report for week 2 of session. Last week, the legislature held public hearings on the governor’s budget. The governor’s budget funds our contracts, including the 4% COLA on July 1, targeted pay increases for specific job classes, plus the COVID booster bonus and the retention bonus. This week, the legislature held hearings on a handful of bills important to WPEA members. On Monday, the legislature heard House Bill 1055. This is a bill that would give public safety telecommunicators, including our communication officers at Washington State Patrol, the opportunity to enroll in the PSERS pension system. That’s a pension system that better fits the work that these members are doing. The state’s staffing crisis is hitting the state patrol’s communications centers especially hard. I talked to one member who works 12 hour shifts, five days a week, at a 911 call center. HB 1055 will help with recruitment and retention in these call centers and give these members access to retirement a bit earlier. On Wednesday, the House Civil Rights and Judiciary committee heard House Bill 1187, which protects the privacy of union members when they talk to their stewards or reps. For years, the confidentiality of communication between union members and union stewards was a given. But recently, an employer has gone to court (twice!) to try to force unions to turn over confidential communications from members. HB 1187 will close the loophole in the law and stop employers from trying to pry into confidential communication. In the hearing, union stewards testified about how important trust is in representing their fellow members, while lobbyists for employers argued that it would be, somehow, impossible for employers to maintain a safe workplace if they couldn’t subpoena the private communications between union members and stewards.
Next week, the Senate labor committee is hearing SB 5217, which will allow Labor and Industries to issue regulations to prevent repetitive motion or stress injuries. Though this category of injury has devastating impacts to workers, Labor and Industries is prohibited from issuing rules to protect workers. You can help make sure this bill gets passed. Check out the link in the show notes for this podcast for instructions on how to get your voice heard in support of Senate Bill 5217.
I’ll be back with more updates from the legislature next week. For now, remember that you are this union, this union is you, and that we all do better when we all do better.