Washington State Department of Transportation

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Contract Negotiations Update – April 2024

Your PROTEC17 State Bargaining Team met with agency and Office of Financial Management (OFM) leadership for an in-person, two-day bargaining session on April 9 and April 10 to continue discussions regarding your 2025-2027 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The sessions got tense at multiple points when management seemed unprepared to present their proposals or address our 14 proposals directly. While management took excessive time in caucus (when the parties are separated and preparing proposals and responses), our union Bargaining Team was able to put together additional initial proposals. At the end of the second day, we finally received, in total, four non-substantive proposals from the employer, as well as a handful of counters to our original proposals.

In addition to our original set of initial proposals, we also passed proposals that would:

  1. Increase max comp time accrual allowed to 240 from 160 hours
  2. Allow for 40 hours of comp time to be carried over to the next biennium
  3. Clarify Communication Officer (CO) overtime rules
  4. Add a floating holiday for Licensing Service Representatives who work in Tuesday through Saturday offices
  5. Increase the vacation accrual and the vacation max (from 240 to 280 to reflect union-supported legislation)
  6. Establish a 40-hour, non-cash-value sick leave bank to address the new culture of minimizing coming into the office sick
  7. Add court-reporting language for Washington State Patrol (WSP) employees who need to appear in court for work purposes
  8. Add a footwear allowance
  9. Add language to allow for those with substance-abuse issues to be reported and treated prior to discipline
  10. Add language to protect PROTEC17 employees from losing work to Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  11. Mandate quarterly Labor Management Communications Committee (LMCC) meetings for all three agencies we represent

The employer:

  1. Rejected our proposal to extend the hour of paid leave for inclement weather to the end of the day
  2. Denied our proposal to increase security protections at the Department of Licensing (DOL), replacing it with language that mandates “yearly safety training”
  3. Denied footwear allowance proposal
  4. Rejected most of our language to strengthen telework
  5. Countered with more specific language around CO overtime scheduling
  6. Agreed to increase the maximum comp time accrual to 280
  7. Agreed to allow for more education around the reasonable accommodation process
  8. Proposed that employees must use comp time before vacation
  9. Rejected the idea of carrying over 40 hours of comp to the next biennium
  10. Rejected our vacation accrual increase but accepted our proposal to increase the max comp time allowed from 240 to 280 hours (pursuant to the new legislation passed by the 2024 legislature)
  11. Rejected our idea of putting unused vacation accruals into a Shared Leave bank, citing administrative issues
  12. Agreed to most of our LMCC proposal
  13. Agreed to change reporting distance for some Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers at WSP

Our next negotiation session with the State will take place virtually on April 25. We will send out another update following the session, as soon as we’re able.

Contract Negotiations Update – Mid-March 2024

Your PROTEC17 State bargaining team met with management on Tues., March 12 to set ground rules and make the first set of proposals for your 2025-2027 contract. The proposals were based on survey responses, bargaining team member input, and other issues identified by members and staff. We proposed the following changes to the contract:

  • Strengthening telework language to allow for more flexibility
  • Strengthening WSDOT contracting out language
  • More flexibility in the event of inclement weather
  • Adding parent of employee’s child to bereavement leave
  • More safety measures at DOL
  • Better guidance on reasonable accommodations
  • Incentives for PLS, PLSIT, FE, and PLA at WSDOT
  • Better access to new employees to educate them on the importance of union membership
  • Clean up of residency requirement for WSP CVEOs

We will meet again on April 9 and expect to receive an initial set of proposals from the employer. As a reminder, we will start talking about pay/compensation in July after the economic forecast is released. We will continue to send updates throughout the Summer as negotiations continue. Please reach out to your respective Union Representative (you can find that info on this page in the right side menu bar) or one of your Bargaining Team members with any questions.

Get ready for YOUR contract negotiations, join an upcoming prep meeting!

Join your fellow PROTEC17 State members as we prepare for YOUR upcoming contract negotiations for your 2025-2027 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)! We will host TWO options for a contract negotiation prep meeting — one on Tues., Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. and another on Sat., Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. Please note that these meetings will have the SAME content, just two options to accommodate different schedules. You can find full meeting details, including how to join, in your personal email and the Member Portal Events page HERE.

We will go over results from your recent bargaining survey, explain the bargaining process, and establish a bargaining team. Hope to see you at one of the upcoming prep meetings!

Kaiser insurance premiums rising

If you have health insurance through Kaiser, please be advised that some premiums are increasing exponentially. We are sharing information to make sure you have everything you need as open enrollment approaches on November 1, 2023. We are not giving any specific advice other than to sit down with your family and determine whether staying with Kaiser is the best option for you.

Please see the table below:

Please see this document for the full document including the table with all info: https://www.hca.wa.gov/assets/pebb/whats-changing-2024-pebb.pdf

  • Additional information can be found here and here
  • Information on how to contact the Health Care Authority (HCA) here
  • Contact Kaiser here

As a reminder, your union is prohibited by statute from negotiating the plans itself or plan costs. The only piece we can negotiate is the cost share, which is 85% paid by the employer and 15% paid by the employee.

Booster Incentive

As part of your new 2023-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), PROTEC17 members will receive a one-time, $1,000 incentive for receiving a COVID-19 booster shot. You can read the redlined Tentative Agreement (TA) here. You can view the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) here. While legislative approval is still required and payments won’t start until the beginning of the new biennium (July 1, 2023), employees who have received the shot can start providing verification to their employers for payment.

COVID-19 booster verification is met when the employee provides proof they received the most recent COVID-19 booster dose recommended by the CDC based on their age. At this time, the CDC recommends one booster for all adults; however, the CDC’s recommendations are subject to change. If the CDC recommendations change, the requirement for the incentive payment could change as well. Employees will receive $1,000 total if they meet the booster requirements, not $1,000 for each booster shot.

For Washington State Patrol (WSP) members, email your vaccination card to . You will receive two subsequent emails, one stating that your email has been received and one after vaccine verification.

For Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) members, booster verification will be similar to the vaccine verification process through the Med+Proctor website. Employees should NOT provide documentation to their supervisor as Med+Proctor will be used for all WSDOT verifications regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters. You can find instructions on how to submit verification on a computer here and instructions for a mobile device here.

Please note: if you send your work email a copy of your booster record to enter it into the Med+Proctor system you may want to delete it once it has been uploaded. Med+Proctor is private but employee emails are subject to Public Records Requests.

For Department of Licensing (DOL) members, you can email a picture of your record to . Please put “PROOF OF COVID-19 BOOSTER” in subject line. Once you receive confirmation from Human Resources (HR) that your document has been accepted, you should delete the record from your sent items. You may also fax a copy to HR’s Fax number: 360-570-7062, mail a copy to DOL Human Resources Division (PO Box 6007, Olympia, WA 98507), or take a copy of your vaccination record in a sealed envelope to “1125 Washington St. SE, Olympia, 98501 WA.” If you choose to drop off a copy, please e-mail  or call HR at (360) 902-4000 so they can promptly retrieve your confidential medical record.

Questions? Contact your Steward or your Union Representative.

TA Vote Results

Thank you to everyone who voted on the tentative agreement (TA) with the State of Washington for the 2023-2025 contract. The ballots have been tallied and the contract has been ratified by an overwhelming majority of members. The contract will now go through the final approval processes with the Governor and State Legislature, and is slated to go into effect on July 1, 2023. For reference, you can find the full redlined TA HERE, and a summary of the changes HERE.

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.

Negotiations continue; all
economic proposals on the table

Your State negotiating team met with agency and OFM management again this week for two in-person bargaining sessions, during which full economic proposals were exchanged. We have come to agreement on many important language changes, but remain far apart on wages. We do, however, remain hopeful we can come to an agreement during our Tues., Sep. 20 bargaining session.

Please keep your eyes peeled for an update and voting information next week. Per state statute, we need to ratify our agreement by Sat., Oct. 1 for it to be included in the budget, so we may have a tight turnaround with regard to voting. Before you vote, you will have access to the all of the changes in redline format as well as a summary of those changes for your consideration.

State bargaining continues;
economic proposals exchanged

Your PROTEC17 State Negotiating Team met again with State and agency management Thurs., Aug. 26 to continue discussions around both economic and non-economic issues. We’re pleased to report that we’ve come to agreement on issues relating to Licensing Service Representatives’ (LSR) overtime rules, telework, refining the transfer process for Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers (CVEOs) and creating opportunities for probationary CVEOs, strengthening language to protect Washington State DOT work from being contracted out, permanently putting the WSDOT Professional Engineer incentive in our contract, Shared and Family leave improvements, improved notice for schedule changes at the Department of Licensing (DOL) and Washington State Patrol (WSP), improvements around New Employee Orientation access, and the ability to utilize State emails and equipment for meetings and  notifications.

We remain far apart on a few key issues, including holiday equity for LSRs, the ability for the State to cease dues deduction upon transfer or promotion out of the bargaining unit, and, most importantly, economics. While our Team presented a robust proposal around the general wage increase, market increases, and Assignment Pay provisions, the State came to the table largely unprepared with inadequate yearly increases and targeted increases for our WSP Communication Officers that do little to address a staffing crisis resulting in vacancy rates near 50%.

While we were underwhelmed, disappointed, and, frankly, insulted by the State’s initial proposal, three bargaining sessions remain to hash out our differences and come to an agreement that acknowledges the important work you do every day. While all our bargaining sessions have been virtual thus far, we will meet in person in Olympia for our remaining sessions and will keep you apprised of progress.

State employee negotiations continue;
full economic proposal on the table

Your PROTEC17 State Negotiations Team met again with State and agency management this week for two back-to-back bargaining sessions where we presented the final piece of our economic proposal. Our economic package is robust, providing increases to every classification we represent based on recruitment and retention issues, the State’s salary survey, other independently researched comparables, and economic factors such as the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Our proposal brings all our represented classifications to market rate as determined by the salary survey, and some go above and beyond market rates due to high turnover and/or recruitment issues. We also made a number of Assignment Pay proposals, proposed to tie each year’s general wage increase to the CPI rate, and continue to discuss a number of non-economic issues that are on the table.

At our last bargaining session in July, we received a proposal to memorialize the governor’s ongoing booster mandate for state employees into our contract. While PROTEC17 supports safe and healthy workplaces, many members at large and on your bargaining team – even those who supported the initial vaccine mandate – had concerns about an ongoing booster mandate; many felt it was an overreach, some had reactions to the vaccine and/or the boosters, and some just felt it was a sign of mandates to come. We expressed these concerns at the bargaining table, and the governor’s office heard us loud and clear. On Fri., Aug. 5, Governor Inslee announced a reversal of the recent mandate, signifying the strength of State employees’ collective power at the bargaining table and beyond. The proposal has also been rescinded and replaced with a booster-incentive program.

These are unprecedented and unusual times in which to negotiate a union contract, with a number of factors favoring employees instead of employers. While the State relies largely on recruitment and retention issues to determine targeted wage increases, we used all the leverage at our disposal to help the state recruit and retain good employees. We haven’t received an economic proposal yet from the employer, but will update you when we do.

Finally, we also started Healthcare Negotiations this week in coalition with all other State employee unions, with our Executive Director, Karen Estevenin, co-leading the coalition along with Jane Hopkins of SEIU 1199NW. We are trying to balance the need to keep healthcare costs low with getting members fair and equitable wage adjustments, and will also continue to keep you apprised as that process continues through September.

Proposal update, vaccine mandate
update, and lump sum reminder

Your PROTEC17 State negotiations team met again with State and agency management on Thursday, July 14, during which your union team made a partial compensation proposal. Our proposal includes tying the General Wage Increase to the CPI-W, the addition of a new longevity step, an education incentive, WSP Specialty Pay, and a proposal to place the burden of L&I premium payments on the employer instead of the employee. We also made a variety of Assignment Pay proposals that would put money in the pockets of our members for doing specialized work and/or work outside of their Class Specification. The last part of the proposal will be targeted wage increases; we’re currently waiting on a variety of data from the State before we finalize this proposal.

We also discussed the governor’s new vaccine update and additional health and safety measures, as well as the PE incentive MOU, the process for calling out sick, and union access.

Also remember that PROTEC17 members will be getting a lump sum on their July 25th paychecks to recognize your hard work during the pandemic. This is in addition to the 3.25% general wage increase. This is your union at work: non-represented state employees will not receive the lump sum bonus.  

Click here to see more details about the lump sum.

We will meet again with management on August 9 and 10, and will continue discussions on economics at that time.

Negotiations for your 2023-2025 contract are underway!

Your PROTEC17 state employee negotiating team met virtually with Department of Licensing (DOL), Washington State Patrol (WSP), and Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) management on Wed., April 27 to begin bargaining for your 2023-2025 contract.

So far, five proposals on contract language and working conditions have been presented. As a reminder, discussions on targeted- and cost-of-living increases will commence after the State’s June economic forecast, and we’ll negotiate in coalition with other State employee unions over healthcare costs later in the summer. We are restricted by statute from negotiating over healthcare and pension benefits. Also per state statute, we’re required to have a contract ratified by October 1, 2022 so the agreement can be reviewed by the governor’s office for financial viability and then go through the legislative process next session. This is why it’s so important to have elected officials in the legislature who support state employees – they have to the power to approve or deny your contract prior to it being finalized and signed by the governor.

Remember, you will be receiving a 3.25% COLA on July 1 of this year, and those who worked through the most dangerous part of the pandemic will also receive a lump sum payment on their July 25, 2022 paycheck (see below).

Our next bargaining session is May 19. Please make sure that we have your preferred personal email address on file to receive updates throughout the summer. If you have any questions in the meantime, please reach out to your Union Representative or a member of the bargaining team: Faith Shuler (WSDOT), Mike Roy (WSDOT), Brian Brannies (WSDOT), Brendan Byron (WSDOT), Steve Morgans (WSDOT), Bonnie Caress (DOL), Chanel Johnson (DOL), Mindi Mezek (WSP), and Christina Belt (WSP).

Wage increases for 2022 and lump sum payments; plus vaccine mandate MOU passes

Your PROTEC17 Bargaining Team met with State and agency management during the week of Sept. 20 to negotiate a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for next year.

Recognizing we’re in a very different budgetary situation than we’d anticipated around this time last year, PROTEC17 requested a wage reopener this summer, and the State agreed to meet on the topic. The State’s original proposal was for a 3% COLA in 2022, along with lump sum payments to employees based on income. Through negotiations, we were able to secure a 3.25% COLA for 2022, along with higher lump sums for those employed before July 1st of this year and risked their own health and safety by continuing to work during the most dangerous part of the pandemic. We also got the State to agree to provide those lump sum bonuses to our career seasonal members, which will apply to our members who work at the mountain passes forecasting and controlling avalanches during the winter months. The lump sums will be calculated prior to the 2022 COLA, and will be based only on your base wages. See the table below to see how the lump sums will be calculated. HERE is a link to the final agreement.

We’re also pleased on announce another victory, this time for public health and due process: Our vaccine mandate MOU was passed overwhelmingly by the membership yesterday. The agreement will provide important protections for those who request exemptions and those who remain employed, as well as additional flexibility for those who haven’t yet complied with the mandate. That agreement will also be posted on our website once we have the final signed copy.

Please reach out to your Union Representative or Steward with any questions.

Vaccine mandate negotiations

Your PROTEC17 bargaining team met again with the State and agency leadership during the week of Sept. 13 to present a counterproposal during negotiations over the impacts of the vaccine mandate. Our counterproposal allows for: flexibility for those who haven’t received their vaccinations by the October 18 deadline and for those whose exemptions/accommodations are denied; two personal days for those who got their shots prior to the mandate and one personal day for those who received it after; extra pay for those required to work overtime due to staffing shortages; seniority and outsourcing protections; paid time to get the vaccine; and an expedited grievance process for those whose contractual or legal rights are violated.

We haven’t yet received a response from the State, but expect to get one soon. As a reminder, we are negotiating the impacts of the mandate, but the mandate will still be enforced, likely with the same deadlines currently in place. Remember that it’s important to get your exemption requests in as soon as possible to ensure they can be reviewed prior to the deadline. It’s also important to note that just because an exemption is granted doesn’t guarantee you will be accommodated in your position.

We will send out another update when we get a response from the State. Please be prepared to vote on the agreement on short notice and with a quick turnaround.

Furloughs eliminated; new contract in effect July 1

Because of advocacy and pressure from State employee unions – including PROTEC17 – the furloughs scheduled for the 2021-23 biennium have been eliminated. The furloughs weren’t included in the biennial budget signed by the governor, and the language has been removed from our contract.

Another proposal that was rejected by the State at the bargaining table this cycle was making Juneteenth a paid holiday for State employees. This, too, was passed by the legislature and will be included in the 2021-23 CBA, which goes into effect on July 1.

These changes would not have happened without strong State employee unions in Washington, and our advocacy in Olympia. What we can’t get at the bargaining table, we can sometimes achieve through our legislature. If you have questions about your 2021-23 contract, please reach out to your Union Representative.