2017-19 state contract ratified by members
The electronic ballot for the 2017-19 state contract closed at 12 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 30, with a significant majority of members voting to ratify the contract.
In accepting the terms of the new contract, the following changes will be enacted on July 1, 2017:
- A 6% cost-of-living increase, which includes a 2% increase in July 2017, a 2% increase in July 2018, and a 2% increase in January 2019.
- Additional targeted salary increases for more than 80% of our members
- An increase in vacation accrual (for the first time in decades!)
- An increase in the number of rest hours paid after 16 hours of work in a 24 hour period
- The ability to grieve workplace behavior investigations
- Improved supervisory pay for DOL-LSRs
- A 53% increase in the night shift premium
- Flexibility for employees' whose day off falls on a holiday
- Maintainance of the healthcare premium-sharing ratio (85/15)
But our work is not done yet!
Members must be prepared to strongly lobby legislators to pass the state employee contracts. The funding of this agreement and all state employee union contracts will be determined by the 2017 legislature that must approve a budget to absorb the cost of the agreements. Lawmakers will be challenged by this while also considering the needs within the entire state budget including a State Supreme Court mandate that billions of new funding must be provided to basic education.
Additionally, Local 17 staff and members will challenge the State agencies covered by this process to continue to look at those classifications at DOL, DOT and WSP that did not receive special targeted classification salary increases. Members will be needed to get involved in this process as well.
You can read more about this year's negotiations, and find the details of the 2017-19 agreement below.
Summary of Changes
Full tentative agreement (red-lined)
Compensation Appendicies C and E
State employee birthdates prohibited from release to Freedom Foundation
In the on-going court case between public sector unions in Washington state -- including Local 17 -- and the Freedom Foundation, the Court Commissioner this week prohibited the release of state employee birthdates to the anti-union group pending the outcome of the appeal. Since this could take up to a year to work its way through the Appeals Court, this is a victory for state union members who are concerned about safeguarding their personal information.
In compliance with the Public Records Act (RCW 42.56.250), state employee names and work emails have been released to the Freedom Foundation. Local 17 will be working with other unions in the 2017 legislative session to ammend the requirements of this law to ensure that your privacy is protected.
Labor Management Committee
Meeting Summary - May 3, 2016
Your LSR officers and union staff met with representatives of DOL management on May 3 for the second of four Labor Management Committee (LMC) meetings for the year. These quarterly meetings are held to discuss and sometimes resolve ongoing issues that aren’t necessarily part of contract negotiations.
Tom Darcy of the Spokane LSO, Mike Wetsch of the Bellingham LSO, union representative Yoko Kuramoto-Eidsmoe, and union legislative director and lead negotiator Vince Oliveri attended on behalf of Local 17 members. (Donna Blume, who works as a Pro-Rate and Fuel Tax Auditor, ordinarily attends these meetings but was on vacation that week.)
The first issue we discussed was parking at the DOL’s Black Lake offices for auditors who have a telework agreement. The auditors’ offices are moving from a Tumwater location, where parking was plentiful, to the Black Lake offices, where parking is more scarce. Previously, those auditors who usually telework had not had to pay for parking. DOL management said they would check on previous arrangements and whether teleworkers in other areas were being asked to pay for parking.
We also discussed the issue of conversion of all Licensing Services Offices to Enhanced Drivers License offices. Union officers and staff asked whether the agency anticipated widespread problems with background checks and citizenship requirements.
Management representatives said they thought that most LSRs would be able to qualify as EDL LSR’s without a problem, but explained that because all offices will be entirely EDL, any transfer options would likely be in headquarters in Olympia.
Finally, we discussed vacation scheduling for LSRs. Assistant Director Chuck Simchuk explained some of what he’d like to see in the process that would go into effect this fall, including a process that gives priority to vacation segments of a week or longer with conflicts resolved based on office seniority. He expressed an interest in doing things this way in order to ensure that LSRs are able to get a real break from work each year and also to make sure that excessive amounts of vacation time aren’t being carried over from year to year.
Simchuk plans to bring a draft of a vacation plan to the July LMC so that we can take a look and discuss any concerns we might have with it well in advance of this fall’s bidding period.
Labor Management Committee
Meeting Summary - Feb. 23, 2016
One of the ways your fellow union members (and union staff) address workplace issues is through meetings with representatives of Department of Licensing management four times a year.
Although the big issues get addressed at contract negotiations that happen every other year, these meetings are useful to discuss and sometimes resolve ongoing issues.
Ordinarily, the following people attend these meetings on behalf of the union: Tom Darcy of the Spokane LSO, Mike Wetsch of the Bellingham LSO, Donna Blume, who works as a Pro-Rate and Fuel Tax Auditor, union representative Yoko Kuramoto-Eidsmoe, and union legislative director and lead bargainer Vince Oliveri. (Darcy was unable to attend the most recent meeting because of flight delays.)
At the meeting held on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, we discussed the following issues: uniform standards, tentative leave process, work-shift adjustments, and PRFT audit software update.
DOL Assistant Director for Customer Relations Chuck Simchuk indicated that he’d like to see some changes in the area of LSR uniforms. In his first several months on the job, he’s traveled around the state and seen a wide range of types of attire worn by LSR’s in different offices, and he’d like to eventually move toward a more polished, uniform appearance.
Simchuk acknowledged that there have been fit issues with past LSR uniforms and assured us that the agency is working with the Department of Corrections vendor to ensure that LSR’s have more options and a better fit.
When the agency provides formal notice of its intent to make the changes, Local 17 plans to request bargaining to discuss any concerns with the agency’s plan.
Going forward, Simchuk would also like to establish a uniform committee that would include LSR’s in order to address any issues.
We also discussed management’s interest in making changes to the tentative-leave bidding process. The parties agreed that when the topic was first brought up last fall, the timeframe was too short to properly discuss and understand any changes.
Simchuk had intended that the leave calendars both expand (offering more vacation slots during some slower times of the year) and contract (during busy times), but some district managers misunderstood and had issued calendars offering only contraction and not expansion.
Both management and union members hope that starting the discussion earlier in the year will give us time to come to a better understanding in time for this fall’s bidding for 2017. Most of May’s LMC meeting is anticipated to be on this topic.
Another topic we discussed was “flex time” used when LSR’s have had to work beyond their normal schedule (to finish helping a customer after hours, for example). In many cases, supervisors have asked them to adjust their schedule by coming in a few minutes later the next day.
This practice is allowed because LSR’s don’t have daily overtime, and overtime requirements kick in only after 40 hours in a week. We expressed our frustration that LSR’s end up working beyond their normal hours, delaying them from getting to after-work activities, picking up children from childcare, etc., but then don’t get the benefit of doing so through overtime pay or comp time.
We suggested that one of the things that’s particularly bad for morale is that even though we get the time “back” the next day, it’s often not at a time that would be more helpful or meaningful. Instead of just coming in late the next day, for example, some LSRs might prefer a longer lunch break, or using less leave time for a doctor’s appointment, or leaving early for a child’s soccer game.
Simchuk said he understood that and said he would talk with district managers about asking employees for input on when they’d like to make those schedule adjustments to make up for extra time worked. Management would still have the final say if an employee’s preference interfered with operations and staffing too much, but LSR’s would at least have the ability to express a preference and supervisors would be expected to justify denials.
This type of issue is handled differently with Local 17’s WSDOT engineering members, who have overtime when they work in excess of their scheduled shift. The union may propose similar language for LSRs in the upcoming round of negotiations.
From the pro-rate and fuel-tax-auditing side, DOL management gave an update on new software being introduced. Training is expected to be complete by July with rollout beginning in August.