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Snohomish County jailers’ union labor complaint dismissed

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — A state labor fairness board in January dismissed a complaint filed by the county jailers’ union claiming the county violated existing labor agreements by staffing the jail diversion center with a third-party contractor.
Update: An appeal was filed Feb. 3.
The jail diversion center, at the corner of Wall and Lombard streets, is staffed by Pioneer Human Services and serves higher-need homeless individuals as a stopover before entering into either treatment or housing.
The Snohomish County Corrections Guild opened the complaint to the state Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) in 2018 soon after the center opened.
The building previously housed a Community Corrections center for jail-alternative programs, such as work release, for low-level offenders. The sheriff’s office eliminated using the center as a budget cut in 2017.
A decision maker for the PERC board wrote in his ruling how the diversion center is distinctly different.
Compared to the diversion center, which has medical professionals giving trauma-level care, the prior corrections center served relatively stable offenders under the formal custody of deputies.
And unlike jail, the people who enter the diversion center can freely walk away anytime they want, and in fact at least one did so after going out for a smoke break, according to the PERC board’s report. The workers in the diversion center aren’t obligated to chase the clients down.
The Corrections Guild did not give replies to a reporters’ questions about the ruling.



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