DOC: Washington State Penitentiary workers will take unpaid time off

The state Department of Corrections secretary says DOC staff will take an unpaid day off each month from July to June of next year.

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WALLA WALLA -- Corrections workers at Washington State Penitentiary and elsewhere are facing unpaid days off as part of a cost-cutting measure.

Department of Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail said today DOC staff members will be asked to take off one day a month without pay between July and June 2011. The plan is in response to a new law, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6503, that requires all state agencies to reduce operational expenses by implementing temporary layoffs.

Corrections officers who provide direct custody, supervision or patient care will be exempt from the temporary layoffs, Vail said.

DOC staff were at work to determine is any other positions were exempt under state law and union leaders were being notified. "We expect that we'll bargain with unions on the impacts soon," Vail said in the memo.

Penitentiary spokeswoman Shari Hall said the number of local corrections workers who may be affected is unknown. Union officials first will have to find out which job classifications will be affected, she said.

The first unpaid day off is scheduled for July 11, according to the memo. One day off is scheduled to occur each month afterward through June 10, 2011.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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