Surpassing the coordinated “Unity Breaks” held around the state in May, thousands of state employees will escalate their efforts Thursday, June 18 with more than 90 “Unity Rallies” held around the state in a huge effort to stop the state shutdown on July 1. The “Unity Rallies” come as the stalemate in Olympia continues with no end in sight just 12 days before a budget deal must be reached to stop a state shutdown of services. The shutdown means tens of thousands of state employees will be prohibited from providing important state services.
Thursday’s “Unity Rallies” are coordinated by the 40,000-member Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME. Attendees at most sites will announce further escalated actions the union will take as the state approaches a shutdown. The union’s executive board meeting in emergency session June 7 authorized escalated actions if the Senate Republicans succeed in forcing a shutdown of state services on July 1.
TAKE A STAND! — All state employees, union members and community supporters are invited and encouraged to attend the Unity Rally in your community. Most, but not all, of the events will begin at noon on Thursday. Click here for the full list. ALSO, send a letter to your state legislators urging them to “Stop the Shutdown!”
If there is no budget by June 30, thousands of state employees will be laid off. Some 31 state agencies, including Parks, Liquor Control Board, Lottery, Horse Racing Commission and the Utilities and Transportation Commission will close. All state parks will close right before the July 4th weekend. Most of Community Corrections’ supervision of dangerous offenders will end. Major areas of Children’s Services and Juvenile Offender Parole will be suspended. Hatcheries will close. Employment Security Department WorkSource offices will lock their doors.
Also at stake are the modest 4.8 percent negotiated pay raises for state employees — their first in seven years. This when legislators are already getting an 11 percent raise enacted by an independent salary-setting board.
Most “Unity Rallies” start at noon with major events at the University of Washington in Seattle, the Kennewick DSHS office, the Vancouver DSHS office, Lower Columbia College in Longview, Western State Hospital in Lakewood, three Community Corrections offices in Spokane, the DSHS Building in Yakima, an I-5 overpass in Bellingham and the East Capitol Campus Plaza across Capitol Way from the Capitol in Olympia.
The entire list of Statewide Unity Breaks is at at wfse.org.