May 12, 2010

Furlough fight heats up as WFSE/AFSCME files demand to bargain

The fight over the new furlough law—which could potentially force state employees to take up to 10 unpaid layoff days—kicked into even higher gear Tuesday as the Federation filed a formal demand to bargain with the state.

The demand to bargain was filed with Diane Leigh, director of the Office of Labor Relations, the governor’s negotiating office.

In it, Federation Executive Director Greg Devereux said that furloughs are a mandatory subject of bargaining under the contract and the 2002 collective bargaining law.

“The Washington Federation of State Employees, as the exclusive bargaining representative of specific state employees, has not been advised of, nor negotiated over, any and all actions the state intends to take, or has taken, as a result of the passage of ESSB 6503 (the furlough bill). With this letter, the WFSE is invoking the right to demand negotiations on this matter.”

The demand to bargain comes as word continues to leak out that several agencies have already prepared furlough plans without negotiations. Some apparently are being pressured to furlough employees even when they could save money with other compensation-reducing options.

We’ll keep you posted. And continue to forward tips about what your agency is saying about furloughs. E-mail us at

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