Monday, January 31, 2011

Teamster killed in WA; local warned of danger

Jayme Biendl
 Our thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of Jayme Biendl, our Teamster sister who was killed by an inmate in the Washington State prison where she worked.

Local 117 made the announcement about the 34-year-old corrections officer yesterday:

Officer Biendl, an 8-year veteran of the Department of Corrections, was murdered last night by an inmate in the chapel of the Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC).
 Teamsters Correctional Employees across the State have been speaking out for months against the budget cuts that have reduced the size of the staff and programming at prison facilities and put Correctional Employees at risk.
The local held a candlelight vigil last night to mourn her loss.

Last year, Local 117 protested budget cuts that endanger workers.
Local 117 has long been warning that state budget cuts were endangering workers. On Dec. 9, they marched on the Statehouse on behalf of the 6,000 corrections workers. On Nov. 17 they picketed the Monroe prison.

Associated Press reported  that Officer Biendl had said she was worried about being the only guard in the chapel of the prison. inmate serving a life sentence is the primary suspect... She had been strangled with a microphone cord. The male inmate, whose identity has not been released by authorities, was reported missing during a routine count at 9:14 p.m. Saturday. He was found three minutes later in the chapel lobby and told officers he had planned to escape.
Local 117's president, Tracey Thompson told the AP,
...the officer had complained to her union shop steward and prison supervisors about being the sole guard working in the chapel. She worried about being there alone without anyone checking on her, Thompson said.
Just a reminder to everyone that the corrections officers did not cause Washington state's budget problems. We are saddened and angered by the loss of Jayme Biendl.