June 16, 2010

All-out assault on furloughs moves

There’s a lot we can’t tell you in writing about how the union is challenging the 10 furlough days being imposed by the state.

You know that the Federation has filed a demand to bargain.

Today (June 15) the Federation asked the state Labor Relations Office to bargain the issue July 6 and 7. That will allow the union time to get accurate information from the agencies that have announced they will furlough. For instance, DSHS submitted more than 400 pages of names, then provided a different list with no indication of differences between the two. Labor and Industries sent a list with 2,250 names, then told the union there were errors. But as of now, we have not received a corrected list. We expect the same snafus with the other 20 agencies that will implement furloughs. So we need the time to figure out who is targeted so we can adequately bargain the impacts. Furloughs would take money from a good chunk of the state workforce. The state needs to take accurate information seriously.

The union has asked for your personal intelligence from your agency as evidence in planned challenges. Continue to let us know what your agency is saying, especially any talk where your agency wanted to find alternatives to furloughs but was blocked by the governor’s budget office. The reams and reams of intelligence you’ve already provided have been priceless. Keep it coming. E-mail us at: info@wfse.org.

Most agencies, especially those under the governor’s control, have announced they will impose the 10 furlough days starting July 12. DSHS dropped a bombshell last Friday by releasing 400 pages with the names of DSHS employees targeted for the furloughs. They did not bargain to reduce or eliminate harmful impacts. This is unacceptable. If you believe your job class is exempt under the law -- that it’s a quote unquote “emergent” or “essential” position -- please get a copy of your position description form to your Federation Council Representative to forward to Federation Headquarters in Olympia.

Other agencies, most not under the governor’s control, have announced they will not do furloughs. Those include the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Department of Natural Resources.

Watch for other actions.

And stay tuned here. Many options are close to breaking. But for strategic reasons, we can’t discuss them publicly.

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