Amid budget slog, advocates for children, parks rally

PSM-frontOLYMPIA (June 10, 2015) — With news reports of the setback in negotiations for a budget agreement, advocates for children and state parks plan to escalate actions to protest the Senate Republicans’ underfunding of those programs.

Coordinated by the 40,000-member Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME, the advocates will stage four noontime “Vigils to Protect Kids,” including one on the doorstep of the State Capitol, and a rally for adequate parks funding at the popular St. Edward State Park in Kenmore.

TAKE A STAND! All union members and community supporters of the Public Service Matters coalition are invited to attend the Vigils to Protect Kids at noon on Thursday, June 11 at the following four locations:

OLYMPIA — Along Capitol Way, near Tivoli Fountain, Capitol Campus

EVERETT — DSHS-Children’s Administration office, 840 N. Broadway, gathering at corner of Broadway and Tower (northwest corner).

TACOMA — DSHS-Children’s Administration office, Centennial Building, 1949 S. State St. (southwest corner of building)

VANCOUVER — DSHS-Children’s Administration office, 907 Harney St.

The WFSE reports that the Senate budget proposal ignores the fact that, in order to keep kids safe, an additional 107 positions must be funded, as proposed by the House. Advocates say without this funding, the lives of children are at stake. Right now, Children’s Administration staff oversee 19,124 children, according to numbers from DSHS. And that number of children at risk grows every day.

TAKE ANOTHER STAND! Later Thursday, from 3:45 to 5 p.m., join the Stand Up for Parks rally at St. Edward State Park, 14445 Juanita Drive N.E. in Kenmore.

Advocates say the Senate budget falls short on funding our state parks. They’re pushing for a final compromise budget at the House level of $26 million. Otherwise, they say, parks will continue to decline in services and suffer “death by dilapidation.”

Coming up: The WFSE Executive Board has escalated job actions set for next week to full-blown “Unity Rallies” likely to hit more worksites than the May 20 “Unity Breaks.”

The “Unity Rallies” set for Thursday, June 18, were coordinated for the first day of the U.S. Open golf championship at Chambers Bay in Pierce County. Many legislators, who are all getting 11 percent raises granted by an independent board, are expected to attend the U.S. Open instead of working to avert a government shutdown and layoffs of thousands of state workers whose 4.8 percent negotiated pay raises are also in jeopardy in the budget impasse.

The growing list of June 18 events is posted online.

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