Representatives from the Federation’s General Government Bargaining Team and Gov. Jay Inslee made it official yesterday (July 27) by signing the new 2017-2019 contract.
The governor thanked Federation members for persuading legislators to fund the contract’s 6 percent across the board raises over two years and the targeted adjustments for more than 12,000 to address the state’s recruitment and retention crisis. The contract also increases vacation leave for the first time in 40 years.
The contract was negotiated last summer and ratified by members in September. But it took the Legislature, mostly because of a Senate Majority-caused gridlock, until just hours before the July 1 deadline to fund them.
The first 2 percent installment of the raise and the recruitment and retention adjustments turned up earlier this week in July 25 paychecks.
“We appreciate all the hard work that went into these and I’m very pleased that your members talked to legislators about the importance of this work and they finally got to understand it,” Inslee said.
“Thank your members for their diligence....These things don’t just happen organically. It takes sweat equity.
“Democracy is a participation sport. Thanks for participating.”
Gabe Hall, a Federation bargaining team member from Green Hill School in Chehalis (Local 862) summed up the impact of the new General Government contract.
“The fact that state employees overall are 99 percent behind on the salary survey was kind a slap in the face to us when we heard that, knowing that our service, our pay raises, have been devalued over the years,” Hall said.
“The across-the-board 6 percent increase will go a long way toward helping restore some faith (on the part of) state employees because it shows us that the people of the state of Washington value our services by giving us an increase.
“Everyone wants to feel valued in what they do. You always want to feel that the work you do is important.”
The governor and Federation also signed the 2017-2019 Language Access Providers contract for our Interpreters Local 1671 members.
Washington Federation of State Employees
1212 Jefferson Street SE #300
Olympia, WA 98501