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Pierce Co., Tacoma employees struggling to get fair contracts

TACOMA (March 29, 2022) — The Pierce County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO wants all union members and supporters of quality public services to be aware of two contract struggles happening right now in Tacoma and Pierce County.

Throughout the pandemic, Pierce County employees have served the county’s citizens and maintained essential public services. So far, their “thanks” has been four hours off work to get a COVID vaccination. But now, these county employees — represented by Teamsters Locals 117 and 313; Operators Engineers Local 612, IBEW Local 483, PROTEC17 and AFSCME Council 2 — are all negotiating new contracts with the county.

The PROTEC17 bargaining team, representing more than 200 Pierce County employees.

But despite inflation that’s nearing 6 percent, negotiators for Pierce County have offered only 2.9 percent raises and they are refusing to budge.

“This is no way to thank Pierce County’s public employees,” said PCCLC Secretary-Treasurer Patty Rose. “This is the time for Pierce County leaders to step up and show their appreciation for these hard-working county employees and the services they have provided under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.”

Meanwhile, a small group of Tacoma Police Managers — a small unit of three employees represented by PROTEC17 — are seeking an initial contract with the City of Tacoma. But city administrators are refusing to include just-cause language outlining disciplinary procedures in the contract, and instead they want the power to fire these employees at will.

Just-cause language is standard for union-represented employees in the City of Tacoma, and these employees should have the same protections.

“While this bargaining unit is small, it is clear these employees are long-term, highly dedicated professionals,” Rose wrote in a letter of support of the Tacoma Police Managers to City Manager Elizabeth Pauli. “To offer them less than what other City Employees receive is an injustice. We believe these and all workers should have just-cause provisions related to their employment.”


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