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Saturday, June 3, 2023
June 3, 2023

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Letter: Fund negotiated contracts

The Columbian

As a transportation engineer for the Washington State Department of Transportation office in Vancouver since 1999, I have worked to ensure that transportation projects in this region are completed in a safe, efficient and responsible manner. I am proud of the work that I do for WSDOT and find that working for the public good is rewarding.

The state House and Senate are currently debating the operating budget that funds state employee contracts, as well as public health and local government services. But the Senate Majority Caucus doesn’t want to approve our contracts, denying my colleagues and I of our first cost-of-living increase since 2008. The modest contract, which was negotiated in good faith with the governor last fall, recognizes the sacrifices that state workers made during the recession, including taking a 3 percent pay reduction in 2010 to help the state get back on its feet.

While I didn’t choose a career in public service for the money, the last seven years have been especially economically challenging. The costs of essentials have gone up, while my paycheck has remained stagnant or been reduced. At work, I’ve had to do more work with less help as co-workers have left for more lucrative positions in the private sector, taking with them their knowledge and expertise.

I urge the Legislature to pass a budget that prioritizes funding for the valuable services that public employees provide.

Caroline Bricheux


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