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Fact check: Senate REJECTED state employee contracts

Legislators can’t fund contracts ‘in part,’ dictate terms of renegotiation


The following is from the Washington Federation of State Employees:

OLYMPIA (June 8, 2017) — Another week of the second special session, another week without a budget and another week closer to a shutdown of state government and temporary layoffs for thousands of state employees come July 1.

Notices of intent to implement temporary layoffs in several state agencies have gone out. And just recently, state employees and their supporters have generated more than 8,000 separate communications to legislators to get the job done and pass a budget that preserves the safety net, funds public services and funds our negotiated pay raises and contracts.

And legislators are responding. But several senators in the ruling majority have gotten the facts wrong and it’s not clear if that is intentional or just careless. But many senators in the majority are suggesting the the Washington Federation of State Employees’ claim that they’ve rejected state employee contracts and raises is false. Or that they might offer a little of what was negotiated.

For instance, Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) of the 18th Dist. in Clark County emailed one member: “I anticipate voting for a final budget that funds your contract, at least in part.”


Here are the facts


The facts are as clear as night and day in the Senate majority’s version of the state budget and the roll call on the Senate vote on that budget version. The truth is they voted on March 24 to reject state employee contracts and raises. And they broke the law by dictating the terms of any renegotiation.

First, under state law, legislators can approve or reject funding for our contracts, which would trigger renegotiation. They cannot change our pay raises or dictate the terms of re-negotiation. They cannot fund state employees contracts “at least in part.”

Look at the version of the budget passed on the Senate way back on March 24. This version approve 25-24 with all members of the majority voting did, in fact, reject our contracts.

The Senate Majority didn’t mince words — they use the term “rejects” (page 253) to indicate they reject all of the WFSE’s contracts. General Government. Community College Coalition. University of Washington. Washington State University. The Evergreen State College. Eastern Washington University. Western Washington University. Central Washington University. Medical Interpreters.

And the Senate Majority not only rejected the 6 percent across-the-board raises over two years for all WFSE members, but also the targeted raises for more than 12,000 to address the recruitment and retention crisis and other issues. And they rejected the arbitrated targeted raises for our Community Corrections members.

The truth is the Senate Majority – all 25 of them – rejected state employee contracts on March 24. They rejected union-won raises for state employees (even though 99% of state employees are behind, according to the state’s own salary survey).

Here is the roll call from that March 24 vote so you can see the names of the 25 Senate Majority members who rejected state employee contracts and raises, and illegally dictated terms of renegotiation that may have led some to falsely believe they could fund part of our contracts.

ROLL CALL:  ESSB 5048 Operating budget
3rd Reading & Final Passage — 3/24/2017
Yeas: 25 Nays: 24 Absent: 0 Excused: 0

VOTING YEA (a “Wrong” vote): Senators Angel, Bailey, Baumgartner, Becker, Braun, Brown, Ericksen, Fain, Fortunato, Hawkins, Honeyford, King, Miloscia, O’Ban, Padden, Pearson, Rivers, Rossi, Schoesler, Sheldon, Short, Walsh, Warnick, Wilson, Zeiger

VOTING NAY (a “Right” vote): Senators Billig, Carlyle, Chase, Cleveland, Conway, Darneille, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hobbs, Hunt, Keiser, Kuderer, Liias, McCoy, Mullet, Nelson, Palumbo, Pedersen, Ranker, Rolfes, Saldaña, Takko, Van De Wege, Wellman

Do not be fooled: Illegal dictation of the terms of any renegotiation is not support for your contracts “at least in part.” The Senate Majority in the March 24 budget vote illegally dictated the terms of any renegotiation, capping any renegotiated raises at no more than the equivalent of $500 a year. And let’s be clear: There’s no guarantee of $500 a year; the Senate Majority way back in March, voted to give state employees absolutely nothing.

The WFSE hopes that the Senate Majority senators in the budget negotiations see the error of their ways and fund state employee contracts and raises, and drop the insulting ruse that they can even “at least give you something.”

TAKE A STAND — Please help the Senate Majority and all legislators see the light, and their moral and legal obligation to fund state employee contracts. Call your senator now at 206-693-2926. Tell them to pass a budget that puts working families first and funds state employee contracts.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!