Department of Corrections Workers Join Local 117
In March, 71 correctional employees joined Local 117 in Seattle, making it five Department of Corrections (DOC) groups that have joined the local over the span of four months.
"Gaining representation brings a lot of value," said Chad Young, a Correctional Specialist who helped with the organizing drive. "Now we have the backing of a whole organization rather than just being a lone voice."
Young and his co-workers were motivated by a growing pay disparity between his CS2 group and members of the existing Teamster bargaining unit. Teamster DOC staff performing similar work were receiving $300 more a month. As Young saw it, the only difference was that his group was responsible for training staff while the Teamster group was training offenders.
"I felt like the state was putting less money toward training staff than training offenders," Young said.
At first some of his co-workers were hesitant about joining the union, but when Young showed them the pay gap, they got on board.
“We support the union and the union supports us,” said Andrea Bacetti, a newly organized CS2.
"I want to welcome these new members to our union," said John Scearcy, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer. "We look forward to ensuring that their rights are protected and that they receive the outstanding representation they deserve."