Legislature Wrap Up
For questions about the 2023-2025 contracts click here.
The legislature wrapped up its 105-day session on April 23, passing a final budget that fully funds state employee contracts for WPEA members. This legislative session, WPEA members successfully pushed the legislature to pass a host of bills that will benefit public employees. Here's a list of WPEA priorities that passed this year:
Full Funding of Contracts
The 2023-2025 state employee contracts that WPEA members negotiated are fully funded in the final budget, including...
Union Communication Privacy
HB 1187 (David Hackney)
Union members rely on confidentiality when talking with stewards or other union representatives about issues at work; WPEA stewards and staff work hard to protect the confidentiality of those communications. Just like talking to a lawyer, a doctor, or a counselor, talking to a union rep can involve personal or sensitive information that must remain confidential. But that kind of communication with a union rep doesn’t have the same protection under law that communication with a lawyer or counselor does. HB 1187 is a common-sense, bipartisan bill to protect communication between union members and their union representatives.
HB 1187 passed the House unanimously and passed the Senate 34-14.
Data privacy for survivors of DV/stalking/sexual assault
HB 1533 (Sharlett Mena)
Arising from a case originally brought by a WPEA member, this bill protects personal information in the personnel files of public employees from being disclosed under the Public Records Act. For survivors of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault, this bill would provide stronger protections than HB 1888 (2020’s birthdate bill) currently does. Under the bill, their birthdate, job title, addresses of workstations and locations, work email address, work phone number, and bargaining unit will be protected from disclosure under the PRA. Members could provide a sworn affidavit that they need protection because they are survivors of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault, along with some form of verification such as a police report, a petition for protective order, or simply by providing the name of their harasser. The protection from disclosure would last two years and can be renewed if necessary. As part of a compromise to get the legislation passed, we incorporated the same carveout for news media that was included in HB 1888.
This bill took quite a hard road to get to passage. Lots of WPEA members signed in supporting the bill or wrote their lawmakers in support, and two testified in public hearings. Senator Sam Hunt, chair of the Senate State Government committee, specifically credited WPEA members' senate testimony as the thing that pushed the bill over the finish line in his committee.
The final version of the bill passed the Senate unanimously and the House with an odd bipartisan vote of 57-41.
Public Safety Telecommunicator Pensions
HB 1055 (Drew Stokesbary)
911 communication centers, including those operated by Washington State Patrol, have been hit as hard as any agency by the ongoing staffing crisis at the state. The Wenatchee communication center was closed last year due to short staffing, and the rest are in dire straits. This bill would put these members into the Public Safety Employee Retirement System, which offers earlier retirement for those who serve at least 10 years. The bill recognizes the value of the work that public safety telecommunicators are doing, and should help with recruitment and especially retention.
It passed the House unanimously and passed the Senate 48-1.
Public Employer Data Sharing
HB 1200 (Emily Alvarado)
This bill standardizes and improves the data that public employers share with public employee unions. This bill covers our libraries and higher education employers, but not general government agencies.
It requires employers to provide info within 21 days of hire and a bargaining-unit-wide update every 120 days. Much of the information covered in the bill we have contractual language for, but some we do not in most contracts.
The Senate amended the bill to prevent unions from selling member personal information, an amendment we happily accepted.
The final version of the bill was mostly a party-line vote, passing the Senate 29-20 and the House 57-41.
There were other successful bills we worked on this year, including...
Not all our priority bills passed this year. Here are some bills that didn't make it all the way through the process, that we will keep working on through the year, to get passed next session.
Thanks to all the WPEA members who contacted lawmakers, signed in on bills, and spread the word about legislation this year.
Summer Institute for Union Women
The attendees for the Summer Institute for Union Women are now announced. They include:
Debi Schoonover Walla Walla Community College
Sarah Frazier Yakima Valley College
Elizabeth White DOR
Serena Mitchell Pierce College
We wish our attendees well and hope they have a great time learning!
Labor Resurgence: Learning from the Recurring Conflict with Capital
Our annual conferences bring us all together to keep our members informed and award significant contributions to labor history in the PNW
Join us for this year’s conference May 5-6, 2023!
Labor Resurgence: Learning From the Recurring Conflict with Capital
Featuring Keynote speaker: Moon-Ho Jung, Harry Bridges Endowed Chair in Labor Studies at UW
Also including: Michael Honey, Dan Berger, Ragya Kaul, Sara Palmer, Aaron Goings, Jim Gregory, Michael Goldfield and more!
Workshops on the history of labor on the waterfront, in timber and canneries, racial justice and the fight against restrictive covenants, migrant workers’ unions, Black liberation struggles and more Pacific Northwest working class history.
More Information Click Here
WPEA would like to approve 6 members and 2 E-board/WPEA Staff to attend this conference. Please send your name for approval by April 25th to email@example.com and the attendees will be announced on April 27th.
Hundreds of union members and supporters have learned how to run a successful campaign for public office via the WSLC’s candidate training program
OLYMPIA (April 12, 2023) — Unions strive not only to win strong contracts for their members, but also to elect pro-worker candidates who will support policies that strengthen our communities and benefit all working people. There’s no better place to find great candidates for public office than from labor’s own ranks.
That’s why the Political Department of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO seeks to build worker power not only by supporting the election of pro-worker candidates, but also by recruiting and training our own members and supporters to run for office.
On March 29-31, in partnership with its affiliated unions, the WSLC hosted its latest Path to Power political candidate training program in Olympia. This in-person training hosted by WSLC President April Sims and Secretary Treasurer Cherika Carter provided about 30 union members and local community activists with the tools and tips necessary to run a successful political campaign.
Path to Power training — facilitated by union political directors, campaign gurus, and elected leaders — covers fundraising, crafting an effective message, creating a campaign plan, building a campaign team, effective targeting, how to talk to voters, and more. Because many labor supporters may not have an opportunity to join a union at their workplace, the Path To Power program provides space for both union members and union supporters to learn to run successful campaigns.
The 2023 cohort of the WSLC Path to Power candidate training program.
Because this year’s Path to Power training was held in Olympia, participants got to hear from some true labor champions in the Washington State Legislature. State Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), a former WSLC staffer and OPEIU member, and Rep. Liz Berry (D-Seattle), who was a Path to Power participant herself, shared their campaign experiences and advice.
“The Washington State Labor Council and its affiliated unions continue to offer the Path to Power program because it works,” Sims said. “Since 2017, we have identified and trained hundreds of union members and community partners to run for public office through this program. Many of them have been elected and are making a difference in their communities.”
SEIU Local 925 member Chelsea McElroy is a great example.
McElroy returned to this year’s training to speak to participants about her successful 2021 campaign to become a member of the Tacoma Public School Board. One of the primary concerns she heard from the students was regarding the financial costs of campaigns. Asked for her advice about how much money a campaign requires, McElroy said, “Child care workers are broke, so I ran broke and I won broke, and I’m going to keep running and winning!”
Craig Woodard, a retired member of the International Union of Operating Engineers who was among the 2023 Path to Power cohort, called the training a “first-rate experience.”
“For me the highlight was when all of the participants gave their three-minute stump speeches and received feedback from fellow participants. It was a good way to practice public speaking and to hear others share their thoughts and ideas,” Woodard said. “All in all, it was a very comprehensive and useful program that laid out exactly what is involved with running for office. I also made some friends, and met people I want to be around!”
The WSLC thanks the following additional facilitators and guests for their participation in the 2023 Path to Power training:
WSLC Wednesdays is a regular feature of The Stand where different departments of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO describe their recent activities and the services they are providing to WSLC-affiliated unions.
Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=115893
News From Around Washington
Thurston-Lewis-Mason CLC plans May Day event in Olympia
All are invited to attend, organize, sponsor this celebration at Heritage Park
OLYMPIA — The Thurston-Lewis-Mason Central Labor Council and its new committee, the South Sound Labor School, invite all working people and families in Olympia and the surrounding area to join them for a May Day Celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Olympia’s Heritage Park, 5th Ave. SW, on International Workers Day, May 1, 2023.
“With this event, TLM CLC joins millions around the world in celebrating International Workers’ Day and hopes to unite our diverse communities around the common struggles for dignity, democracy, and justice,” said Alice Rosewater with AFSCME 3758. “Almost everybody is expected to work for a living, but not all those people see themselves as part of the working class. TLM CLC hopes to help change that with our May Day celebration, to show what unites us and to promote our common bonds as we seek to build a better future.”
All working people in our region are welcome to enjoy the event’s live music, food, and games. They’ll also have the chance to hear from notable figures in the South Sound’s Labor community, including
○ Bob Guenther (TLM CLC)
○ Mike Yestramski (WFSE/AFSCME Council 28)
○ Dylan Lux (Starbucks Workers United Tumwater)
○ Clint Bryson (IBEW 76)
○ Rachelle Martin (TLM CLC)
○ Kimberly Klontz (BLET 238)
○ Mark McLaughlin (UFCW 367)
As the council prepares for the May Day Celebration, all are invite to participate in a number of ways:
● Attend the event as a participant! Come and eat, play some games and connect with us!
● Staff a booth to advertise your local union or program. Showcase the work you do or an initiative you are proud of and want to share.
● Send a speaker to address the crowd. We want to hear from you! We are building a program of speakers and music. If you or anyone in your group wants time at the microphone let us know!
● Sponsor the event as a Supporter ($250), Associate ($500), or Partner ($1,000).
● Join the planning committee. All committee members have access to all planning documents; including permits, budget, contracts.
Get more information on the event at tlmlabor.org or contact TLM CLC Treasurer Rachelle Martin at 360-261-2090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=115839
Actions opposing grocery merger this week across state, nation(April 5, 2023) — Grocery store workers from seven UFCW local unions – representing more than 100,000 Kroger and Albertsons workers in 11 states and the District of Columbia – are holding actions in front of stores now through April 13 to connect with customers about the impacts of the proposed megamerger.
Since the companies announced the proposed merger in October, workers, unions, consumer groups and others have raised the alarm about the negative impact on workers, shoppers, and suppliers such as farmers and ranchers. In mid-March a national coalition of more than 100 organizations was announced with a new website: NoGroceryMerger.com.
If the $24.6 billion megamerger is approved, it will drive out competition, increase food prices, create food deserts, and put up to 100,000 union jobs at risk. The growing opposition is asking the Federal Trade Commission to block the megamerger from moving forward and prevent its negative impact on both consumer and labor markets.
The local unions participating in the actions include UFCW 3000 (WA & northern ID) and UFCW 367, South Puget Sound of Washington state, plus UFCW 400 (MD, DC, VA, WV, OH, KY, TN), UFCW 7 (CO & WY), UFCW 770 (Southern CA), UFCW 5 (Northern CA), and UFCW 324 (Orange County CA/Southern Los Angeles County).
Actions are scheduled at the following dates, times, locations:
Wednesday, April 5 — PORT ORCHARD
11 a.m., Safeway, 3355 Bethel RD SE
Wednesday, April 5 — BELLEVUE
Noon, QFC, 15600 NE 8th St Suite K-1
Thursday, April 6 — MARYSVILLE
3 p.m., Fred Meyer, 9925 State St.
Thursday, April 6 — SPOKANE
4 p.m., Albertsons, 6520 North Nevada St.
Thursday, April 6 — SEATTLE
Noon, QFC, 9999 Holman Rd NW
Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=115831
University Place Hotel and Conference Center in Portland, OR
June 25-28, 2023
SIUW is a comprehensive leadership institute consisting of skills building workshops, cultural activities, and education sessions designed to expand our understanding of solidarity and rebuild connections across our region. This event is for all cis and trans women, non-binary, queer, questioning, and those who are comfortable in a space that centers our experiences.
WPEA would like to approve 4 members to attend this conference. Please send your name for approval by April 18th to email@example.com and the attendees will be announced on April 24th.