Tentative agreement reached
on the 2023-2025 contract
Your PROTEC17 negotiating team met with agency and State management for an all-day bargaining session on Sep. 20, and we are pleased to announce that we have reached a Tentative Agreement (TA).
You can find the full redlined TA HERE, and a summary of the changes HERE.
Highlights in this bargaining cycle include: a four percent general wage increase on July 1, 2023, along with a $1,000 retention bonus for those hired as of July 1, 2022 and still employed at the time of payment, and a three percent increase on July 1, 2024. Understaffed Communications Officers at the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and Licensing Services Representatives at the Department of Licensing (DOL) are also set to receive targeted increases. For WSDOT members, the Professional Engineer (PE) incentive was permanently memorialized in the TA. Other wins for State members include: a significant increase for those who work at night, the ability to leave work early without using leave during inclement weather, and the removal of language that allowed WSDOT to circumvent the payment of overtime.
Included in the full redlined TA are also the Healthcare Coalition Tentative Agreements. As a reminder, we are prohibited from negotiating healthcare plan designs, but negotiate specifically over the healthcare cost-share with the State, which will remain at the 85-15 split.
While there are many wins in this contract, we are presenting this contract to you for a vote without a “yes” or “no” recommendation. We’re getting the same general wage increase as most other represented State employees, but we feel that it is woefully inadequate in these times of skyrocketing inflation. We also went back and forth a number of times on many of these provisions, especially those relating to targeted wage increases. We provided all the background, data, logic, and other information to aid in getting to this deal and it shows. The State’s first wage proposal at the table was a three percent general wage increase in the first year and two percent in the second, with lower targeted increases for our Communications Officers – and nothing else.
For WSDOT members, we again used every piece of data at our disposal to achieve targeted increases, but because of the way the State assesses these increases – solely based on recruitment and retention issues while ignoring their own salary survey – we were unable to get those increases for our WSDOT group. We plan on working with our allies in the legislature to revise the statute that governs how targeted increases are addressed to allow for consideration of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) factors as well as other objective data (i.e. the salary survey) during next year’s legislative session, and will continue to push for that reform until we have movement. We can no longer work within the rules that exist and are left with no choice but to change those rules ourselves. We will also be holding WSDOT accountable to ensure that they’re collecting recruitment and retention data that is actually reflective of the market and their hiring practices. Finally, we warned WSDOT of the impact this will have on recruitment and retention; since they cannot keep wages competitive, engineers and planners – both entry-level and experienced – are going to start dropping like flies in a time when there is historic levels of work to be done and an unprecedented transportation package to provide funding for that work. We will also work to hold WSDOT accountable before our next bargaining cycle to ensure this work stays in house and doesn’t get contracted out unnecessarily.
While we are disappointed in the State’s response to many topics, we were able to achieve additional targeted increases, as well as a higher general wage increase, and a number of assignment pay provisions that put money in our members’ pockets. It’s the most money we’ve seen from the State in one contract in a very long time — maybe ever. Still, in the next contract cycle, we will once again remind the State how their decisions are impacting their ability to recruit new staff and retain their current, talented staff.
We encourage you to read the redlined document carefully and reach out to a Bargaining Team member or to your Union Representative with any questions you have.