(June 27, 2016) — Last week, in the first of a summer-long series of events around the state, hundreds of state employees who are members of the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 rallied at the state Department of Labor and Industries headquarters in Tumwater. Our friends, family and neighbors who provide essential public services in this state are in contract negotiations and are asking for real raises that bring them up to market rates for their positions.
The state’s latest salary survey that shows 99 percent of state employees are paid below market rates. That’s right… 99 percent. The gap has made it hard for the state to attract and retain its employees. WFSE members say this is a crisis that threatens public services provided by employees of the state.
At last week’s rally, Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Olympian) explained why state employee unity and a strong contract are so important to education and other public services:
On Friday, WFSE’s General Government bargaining team reported that they are making progress reaching tentative agreements on specific contract articles, but they are entering the phase of negotiations when discussions become more difficult. So WFSE will continue to hold events around the state to express solidarity with the bargaining team as they “use contract negotiations to tackle the crisis that threatens to make the State of Washington less of a competitive employer of choice.”
Featured actions will expand statewide on Wednesday, June 29 in Medical Lake, Seattle, Lakewood and Tacoma. State employee and their reporters should stay tuned to wfse.org/99-below/ for details and updates on Tuesday.
► In the Olympian — State workers rally on eve of labor negotiations — State workers rallied Tuesday in Tumwater as part of a summer campaign to persuade the state to provide a labor contract that would boost salaries, make health care more affordable and provide better working conditions for public-sector employees. Washington Federation of State Employees, the state’s largest union, organized Tuesday’s rally — the first in a series around the state — to raise awareness about setbacks in the public sector workforce over that past decade and the importance of the upcoming labor contract.