Despite the pandemic – and in part because of it – PROTEC17 grew its member-powered strength last year, adding nearly 200 members in 14 new classifications to our union. In an unprecedented year of job, health, and economic uncertainty, this growth highlights an upward trend in the national labor movement where union members are slowly gaining a larger share of the workforce.
While the majority of our organizing campaigns took place within the City of Seattle, brand new union members joined from King County and Snohomish Health District (SHD) as well. Our newest King County members are Functional Analysts at the Department of Natural Resources and Parks, and Project/Program Managers, Educator Consultants, Engineers and even one Statistician at the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS). At SHD, Emergency Management Specialists voted to join PROTEC17. And in Seattle, Civil Rights Analyst Seniors, Planning & Development Specialist Seniors at the Human Services Department, Tennis Professionals, Building Inspectors, Research and Evaluation Assistant IIs at the Office for Labor Standards, Strategic Advisors I/ IIs at the Office for Civil Rights, Legisltive Analysts, and Conservation Policy Analysts all won their union in 2020. Most of the 14 organizing campaigns that started in 2020 were because current or former members wanted to connect their coworkers with our union.
The King County DCHS unit is the largest member group to join, with 127 represented positions throughout the department.
Sung Cho, who helped organize the DCHS unit and serves on the bargaining team to negotiate their new contract is excited to be a part of PROTEC17 and hopeful that it will create a climate of fairness.
“Being in a union is a way to get genuine discussion going and hopefully movement on topics that impact staff, as well as to get leadership to take staff seriously and hear our concerns and recommendations,” said Cho, who works in both the Developmental Disabilities and Early Childhood Supports Division and the Office of Equity and Social Justice.
The Seattle Tennis Professionals were finally added to the PROTEC17 Seattle bargaining unit after waiting patiently for four years – the group was first certified by the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) in 2016, but various hurdles delayed the accretion into our Seattle contract. And member Al D’Allesandro, a Business Finance Officer at King County who has tried to unionize his position in four campaigns over the last three years, finally won his union, which was certified by PERC on February 4.