Corrections union protests omission from federal probe

The union says investigators never talked to it during a probe of Officer Jayme Biendl's murder.

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The union representing Department of Corrections employees is protesting being left out of a federal investigation into the murder of a corrections officer.

In a letter to the governor and lawmakers, Tracey Thompson, Teamsters 117 secretary-treasurer, said National Institute of Corrections investigators never spoke with the union during their probe of the murder of Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl at the Monroe Correctional Complex.

"Our union represents virtually all of the non-management staff who work inside Washington's adult prisons. At the Monroe Correctional Complex alone we represent more than 1,000 employees. It is reasonable to expect that an investigation into the murder of one of our members and into the security practices within the state prisons would have included at least a conversation with the correctional employees' union," Thompson wrote.

The union also criticized legislation proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire to address the NIC recommendations, saying the measures will "not meaningfully enhance the safety and security" of employees.

In conclusion, Thompson said the most effective way to address staff safety is interest arbitration legislation. That measure, EHB 2011, is currently before the state Senate Committee on Labor and Consumer Protection.

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