General Government Bargaining Updates

WFSE 2021-2023 General Government Bargaining Team, Photo taken pre-COVID-19.

Meet the Team

Click here to view the 2021-2023 bargaining team.

Bargaining Updates

September 17, 2020 - 2021-2023 Agreement Reached!
September 12, 2020
   
September 4, 2020

August 26, 2020
August 24, 2020
August 10, 2020
August 3, 2020
July 24, 2020
July 22, 2020

September 17, 2020

We have a tentative agreement!

Tonight after 10 p.m., our General Government Bargaining Team reached a 2021-2023 tentative agreement with the state that accomplishes the following:

  • Preserves yearly step increases in both years
  • Extends and codifies our telework agreement
  • Extends a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with DSHS institutions that allows for the use of comp time in lieu of cash payment for certain holidays
  • Acknowledges the need for all of us to embrace our role in improving workplace culture and safety (cultural competence, genuine care for one another and a commitment to improvement)
  • For DOT, expands use of reimbursement for safety footwear accessories (not just boots), updates the list of job classes eligible for schedule C equipment pay, and maintains the wellness incentive for CDL
  • ...and more.

Furloughs The projected $9 billion budget shortfall over the next 3 years has resulted in furloughs for state employees. We negotiated the impact of those, with a re-opener, in hopes that additional revenue will be achieved during the biennium.

Thank you to those who completed our quick survey regarding economics. The survey re-confirmed our approach from the beginning: prioritize protecting steps and health care while recognizing that furloughs are a better alternative to layoffs and permanent job loss.

Our solidarity made the difference. We would like to thank all the members who made it possible for us to negotiate the strongest possible contract during this global pandemic and economic crisis.

Ratification: Your bargaining team endorses the contract and asks that you VOTE YES.

This agreement will be distributed to the membership for a ratification vote next week. Stay tuned for a TA summary, the full TA and more details about ratification.

In solidarity,

WFSE General Government Bargaining Team

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September 12, 2020

Some Good News!

A global pandemic. A recession. Wildfires. The last thing we need is a pay freeze.

We have good news.

Our team bargained Wednesday and late into the evening on Thursday. We secured additional agreements, including one that secures our yearly step increases.

Our union is leading the nation. Let’s be clear. This is a major victory for state employees. While many states and cities across the country are repeating mistakes made in 2008 by throwing their public service workers under the bus, our union is showing a better way forward.

We heard you loud clear. The survey we distributed reconfirmed our approach to this economic crisis from the beginning: preserve health care and protect yearly step increases. Furthermore, the majority of members indicated that furloughs are a better alternative to layoffs and permanent job loss. State workers are the ones who will lead a recovery, so let’s keep them on the job!

What’s next? We’ll return to the bargaining table Thursday to continue negotiations on outstanding items. Once we reach a finalized tentative agreement, it will go to the membership for a ratification vote.

Negotiating a contract in the middle of a global pandemic and economic recession isn’t easy. But our solidarity and our action have proven effective. Let’s keep it going!

It’s about shared responsibility. Until lawmakers fix our unfair tax system, working families will continue to shoulder the burden.

To protect jobs and services in the long run, we need our state to hold billionaires accountable. Let’s require them to pay their fair share and unrig this current system where the working poor and middle class are paying more than those making billions off of this pandemic.

Click here to get involved in our People First Campaign and call on our elected officials to invest in WA now. Click here to send your legislators an email.

Stay safe this weekend. Together, we can pull through this.

In solidarity,
WFSE General Government Bargaining Team

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September 4, 2020

This Labor Day, Help Stop Cuts to Jobs & Services

Your General Government Bargaining Team met with management Monday to discuss our 2021-2023 collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Items discussed include the following:

  • Expanding shift exchange to DCYF employees
  • Adding telework language to our CBA
  • Hours of work and more.  

What’s next? Economics.

On September 9 and 10, we’re meeting with management to discuss our pay. To preserve what we’ve already won (most importantly our steps) we need to speak up and make our voices heard.

Click here to send a message to State HR and the governor’s office. Tell them: Don’t throw state employees under the bus.

Washington State is facing an economic crisis far more severe than what we faced in 2008. And every time our state faces an economic crisis, state employees are asked to shoulder the burden. We’ve sacrificed plenty, and this year, we’re calling billionaires to pitch in a little.

Responsibility – not cuts. Click here to email your legislators. Tell them to put people first.

Please stay tuned for a survey regarding upcoming bargaining sessions.


Together, we can speak up for our jobs, families and communities.

In solidarity,

2021-2023 General Government (GG) Bargaining Team

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August 26, 2020

Monday, our General Government Bargaining Team met again with management to discuss our 2021-2023 collective bargaining agreement. You’ll find a brief update below along with ways you can help us reach a strong contract.

Protecting Our Steps

We’ve made significant process on housekeeping items and continued some previous agreements, but we have yet to reach an agreement regarding economics. As we approach our statutory deadline, we’re calling on state officials to put people first and proceed in a way that recognizes our commitment and sacrifice.

Protecting Our Health Care

We begin negotiating our health insurance in coalition with other unions today. Any changes to our health care premium share would have long-term and likely permanent impacts on our personal budgets. Our union sees maintaining our health insurance as a top priority.

Our Willingness to Sacrifice

We’ve demonstrated our willingness to make temporary sacrifices (furloughs) in order to hold the line on our steps and health care. Now, it will take all of us to hold the line on those long-term economic items.

What We’re Up Against

As a result of the pandemic and a regressive tax code that doesn’t tax Washington’s most wealthy, our state is facing an economic crisis that will likely eclipse what we faced in 2008. Some projections show a budget shortfall of $9 billion over the next 3 years. Who will shoulder the burden? Working people.

Let’s put that in perspective: Jeff Bezos of Amazon pulled in $13 billion in a single day during the pandemic. None of his income will be taxed by Washington State. While he gets a free ride, the rest of us pay between 11-18 percent in state and local taxes.

Two Ways You Can Help Right Now

  1. While we continue to work toward a fair and equitable contract with management, we need your help in delivering them a message: Email state HR and Governor Inslee’s office today. Tell them to put people first and not throw state employees under the bus.
  2. Until we fix our revenue code, our jobs and the services we provide will continue to be on the chopping block. Email your state legislators today. Tell them to put people first and invest in public services.

In solidarity,

Your WFSE General Government Bargaining Team

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August 24, 2020

State employees like you have worked tirelessly in 2020 to help our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis. We've put our own safety and security on the line—often without necessary PPE—and have lost some of our co-workers to this deadly virus along the way.

While we continue to get the job done, we now find ourselves having to hold the line for our jobs, families and communities.

We're bargaining with the state right now. Will you help us deliver a message? Send a letter to State HR and Governor Inslee's office.

We've made some significant progress on non-economic items, but now we must hold the line on our pay, health care and benefits.Click here to send an email to WA State HR and Governor Inslee's office.

Here's what we're asking for:

1)Extend our collective bargaining agreement for 2 years with steps maintained in both years.
2)Improve our CBA to ensure quality services and safe staffing.
3)Maintain existing terms regarding health care
4)Commit to supporting revenue reform that holds billionaires accountable
5)Work with us to build a Washington that works for everybody, not just the wealthy few.

In solidarity,

Your WFSE General Government Bargaining Team

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August 10, 2020

Our elected bargaining team continued contract negotiations with the state Monday. Read on to learn more about what we discussed and how you can help us build a better future for state employees.

8/10/20 General Government Bargaining Update

Work-life balance: We discussed issues that directly impact employee work-life balance in this challenging environment and looked at telework and alternative work assignments.

Contract clean-up: We made some adjustments to ensure our contract is consistent with state law and renewed some existing memoranda of understanding (MoUs).

Economics: It will be a significant feat to hold the line on what we have already won. We continue to fight to maintain our step increases in the next contract period and we continue to look for creative ways to better position ourselves to hold the line on our health care benefits. (Health care benefits are bargained separately with other state employee unions).

Want to help fix the budget crisis? Tell Washington lawmakers to hold wealthy billionaires accountable.

Let’s be clear. Austerity doesn’t work. States that cut public services and laid off public employees during the 2008 recession took the longest to recover. To get through this pandemic and budget crisis, we need an investment in public services, not cuts.

How you can help. Without significant changes in our state’s revenue code, state employees and those we provide services to will bear the brunt of austerity measures. Learn more about our state’s budget crisis, and tell lawmakers to put people first.

Your proposals: We want to be sure we improve the contract, even in these difficult times. Our team will take another look at previous proposals received from members prior to the pandemic challenges.

Our next bargaining session is scheduled for Aug. 20. We are determined to ensure state employees are treated fair with compassion and respect. Stay tuned for updates.

In solidarity,

Your WFSE General Government Bargaining Team

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August 3, 2020

This morning, your General Government Bargaining Team met with management and heard their proposals regarding various Memorandums of Understanding (MOU).

All afternoon, bargaining team members met with one another and:

  • Looked carefully at management’s proposals and worked on counter proposals
  • Reviewed the provisions in expiring MOUs to ensure they had been implemented; if they had, we voted to allow them to expire
  • Discussed extending some MOUs or rolling provisions into the Collective Bargaining Agreement to preserve employee rights
  • Tabled numerous items to get feedback from members and to check the accuracy and impact of management’s proposals

We continue to await further information — from employers and from our members — to find creative ways to hold the line on health care, maintain our annual step increases, and mitigate permanent cuts and layoffs through temporary furloughs.

You’ll hear from us!

In solidarity,
Your 2021-2023 General Government Bargaining Team

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July 24, 2020

We continue to speak up for you at the bargaining table.
Thursday afternoon, we met with management again to discuss a 2021-2023 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the goal of minimizing the impact of the current economic crisis on state employees. Each time we meet, we do so with a recognition of the sacrifices many of us have made and continue to make—furloughs, long hours, hazardous conditions and uncertainty.

Our state will not recover without state employees. We reminded the state’s bargaining team of the numerous sacrifices we’ve made to protect residents from COVID-19 and to help address the budget shortfall.  While we recognize budget constraints, the state cannot cut their way out of a recession. It’s about shared responsibility.

Join us in calling on legislators to put people first. Instead of cutting state jobs and services, lawmakers need to require wealthy billionaires to contribute their fair share. Write your legislators today.

No other workforce has more at stake in the decisions made by elected officials. Have you voted in the August primary? Check out our endorsed candidates and send in your ballot today.

Quick Update On What We Discussed:

Cost-saving measures: We explored some cost-saving measures, such as a reduction in printing. It’s imperative that we save where we can to maintain the status quo, such as the current health care premium share.

Information requests: In response to state proposals, we requested some additional information on revenue. We want real data before we make decisions. Management respected our requests, and they are  working to fulfill those before our August meeting.

Dept. of Corrections: We asked the agency to move on a work group recommendation about the arming of community corrections officers.

Housekeeping items: We extended some existing agreements with the state (memoranda of understanding), adjusted contract language to be consistent with new state law, and fixed some typographical errors in our current CBA.

Next Meeting In August: We will meet again with management in August. Stay tuned for more details.  

Please know that we are continuing to speak up for our jobs, families and communities. We are raising issues that matter to you most and exploring every option to lessen the economic burden on state employees.

Together, we must call on elected officials to put people first. Text savejobs to 237263 to join our campaign.

In solidarity,

Your General Government Bargaining Team

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July 22, 2020

Please see the update from your elected General Government Bargaining Team below.

Want to help speak up for our jobs, families and communities? Join our campaign to put people first and take action today.

Not a member? Join here.

Summary Update From Your
2021-2023 General Government (GG) Bargaining Team

March:
The General Government (GG) bargaining team vetted contract proposals received over the past year. COVID-19 was just starting to be known at this time, and March was the last time we were able to meet in person. We have acclimated to online video meetings to continue this important work.
 
April:
The leadership of the coalition of labor unions who bargain our health care benefits (separate from the GG table) unanimously passed a proposal for status quo health care for the 2021-2023 biennium. This proposal remains in place as the Governor/State HR determine
fiscal feasibility. This remains a significant concern with the economic forecast.
 
May:
The GG bargaining team got together via video conference to recalibrate expectations and priorities due to the economic forecast impacting the EXISTING contract period (2019-2021) and the anticipated budget implications of the next biennium (2021-2023) for which the elected team negotiates. This meeting resulted in a motion being passed that requests an extension of the existing terms and conditions through the next biennium and includes caveats that would allow us to negotiate economics if the June 2021 forecast demonstrates significant improvement that could be included in the Governor’s 2022 supplemental budget. Other caveats include a “me too” clause if any other state employee classification that is same or similar to any of ours received an enhanced economic benefit through bargaining or interest arbitration award, that the same would apply to the same or similar classifications within our unit, it also includes commitment to continue to work on identified language via memoranda of understanding (MoU) that do not have an economic impact.
 
June:
The GG bargaining team got together to learn about research received from our parent union, AFSCME, that provides a unique and time sensitive opportunity to help close THIS biennium without clawbacks that were rumored to be coming through a legislative special session and/or pressure on the Governor to declare a budget emergency that would re-open our existing contract and put the existing wins – such as the July 1, 2020 increase of 3% - at significant risk. While THIS biennium doesn’t technically fall to the 2021-2023 bargaining team, the team felt strongly enough to pass a motion that directed WFSE leadership to share this research with the employer in order to prevent permanent layoffs and other austerity measures that would exacerbate the economic downturn. This research was shared with the employer by WFSE leadership– Mike Yestramski, President; Leanne Kunze, Executive Director; and Dennis Eagle, LPA Director – and several policy discussions were held. We were told on multiple occasions that without that research being shared, we most likely would not have been spared the austerity measures of clawbacks, etc.
 
Late in the day on June 16th, WFSE leadership was made aware of the Governor’s intended policy position that took into account the research we provided. With that knowledge, a “demand to bargain” process was completed late the evening of 6/16 and reached a tentative agreement (the one we all just voted in) but we were embargoed from communicating until 6/17.
 
We all heard/read the Governor’s policy position the morning of 6/17, and we were all caught off guard with the lack of an opportunity to get information out to staff, member leaders, etc., to be prepared for the onslaught of questions that were rightfully spurred by the rapid movement to get the MoU ratified in time for the massive amount of agencies who needed to get their applications moving for the ESD SharedWork program. We all scrambled and made the best of this situation with Zoom information sessions, and GG voter participation was its highest (30%) with 94.7% approving the MoU.
 
The GG unit met with the employer for the 1st session relating to the 2021-2023 biennium. The employer is still considering our proposal from May and have provided their proposals on the incorporation of existing MoUs into the CBA so they would be “extended” if the employer is able to meet our proposal for extending current CBA through 2021-2023.
 
We also selected who from the GG bargaining team will participate in the health care coalition bargaining: Mike Yestramski, Andrea Vaughn, Gabe Hall, Steve Segall, Cindy English, and Leanne Kunze.
 
We are scheduled to meet with the employer this week and have weekly sessions beginning in August. Stay tuned.


In solidarity,

Your AFSCME Council 28/WFSE Bargaining Team

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The 2021-2023 General Government Bargaining Team

Need help reaching your bargaining team representative? Contact the Member Connection Center at 833-MCC-WFSE or at [email protected].

TeamElection GroupTeam Members
GGCorrectionsDon Malo
Employment SecurityAshley Fueston
Human Services/CSDWilbert Pina
Human Services/DCSCarol VanArnam
Human Services/DCYFAnne Hinojosa
Human Services/HCSCynthia English
Human Services/At LargeSteve Segall
Institutions/DCYF(JR)Gabe Hall
Institutions/BHAMark Camacho
Institutions/DDA (includes CMO, RHC’s, DD Field, SOLA & DVR)Brittany Barber
Jason Molzahn
Institutions/DVABarbara Holbrook
L&IKen Grubb
Chuck Pirtle
Natural ResourcesPat Bailey
Jade Monroe
TransportationSteve Fries
Dave Hurlbert
Unified State AgenciesSarah Decker
Michael Weisman

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