June 24, 2010

BULLETIN: WFSE/AFSCME charges state with unfair labor practice (ULP) over furloughs

The Federation late today (June 24) filed an unfair labor practice complaint charging the state with a number of law and bargaining violations over the plans to furlough state employees on 10 days starting July 12.

The complaint charges the state with dragging its feet on bargaining over the issue, then trying to jam the union with hasty negotiations.

“Instead, the state first drug its feet regarding bargaining, and then insisted bargaining had to take place on short notice and without the WFSE having been provided any meaningful or useful information regarding which employees were considered exempt,” the complaint alleges.

The complaint charges the state with a direct attempt to “discredit and undermine” the Federation by negotiating with other unions but not the Federation. Some agencies also contacted employees directly about furloughs, which is illegal “direct dealing” that violates collective bargaining obligations.

Finally, the union alleges the state, in effect, is using the furlough days as a ploy to take work away from bargaining unit employees and give it to non-bargaining unit workers. That is called illegal “skimming” of work.

“The totality of the state’s actions…constitutes a refusal to bargain and an interference with employee rights guaranteed by” law, the complaint says.

The unfair labor practice complaint was filed with the Public Employment Relations Commission.

The filing of the unfair labor practice complaint comes two days after the Federation filed a grievance against the furloughs on other grounds.

Meanwhile, members across the state this week are signing “Furloughs Hurt” petitions to the governor. You can fill out the petition online here.

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