June 3, 2010

DSHS, 22 other agencies refuse to find alternatives, announce plans for 10 furlough days

The Department of Social and Health Services and 22 other agencies have thrown up their hands and refused to come up with alternatives to employee furloughs.

The Office of Financial Management today (June 2) in a letter to Federation Executive Director Greg Devereux said the 23 agencies will not submit a compensation reduction plan. That means the default option—10 furlough days from July 12, 2010, to June 10, 2011.

“It is not in the department’s best interest to submit a different compensation reduction plan to OFM,” DSHS Secretary Susan Dreyfus told employees in an e-mail today.

Both OFM and Dreyfus said bargaining will take place and only then will a list of exempt and non-exempt job classes be available.

In a sign of how far out in the stratosphere management is, they have stopped using the term “furloughs” because of the union’s “NO FURLOUGHS!” buttons. Instead, they call the furloughs “temporary layoffs.”

The Federation as you know has filed demands to bargain and is contemplating other action. We are following court proceedings in New York and California where AFSCME overturned furloughs. But we have to build a case on our state’s particular furlough plan because the New York and California furloughs were overturned on a different set of facts. Stay tuned.

So here are the 23 agencies with Federation-represented employees that will not submit alternatives and will implement 10 furlough days to affected job classes (pending of course bargaining and other possible actions):
Agriculture; Arts Commission; Commerce; Corrections; Criminal Justice Training Commission; Social and Health Services; Early Learning; Ecology; Employment Security; Fish and Wildlife; General Administration; Health; Health Care Authority; Human Rights Commission; Information Services; Labor and Industries; Licensing; Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises; Recreation and Conservation Office; Services for the Blind; Utilities and Transportation Commission; Veterans Affairs; and Workforce Training and Education Board.

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