December 14, 2011

Is this the last day of the special session?

This could be the last day of the special session.

The House Tuesday night passed the “early action” package of administrative savings and cuts that trim about a quarter off the deficit problem.

HB 2058 raises about $480 million of the $2 billion needed. The vote was 86-8. The Senate Ways and Means Committee passed its version of the same bill (SB 5883). The Senate is poised to vote on the package today.

Both the House and Senate convene at 10 a.m. today. It’s believed they will work until they have an agreed-upon early action bill to send to the governor’s desk.

With that, there’s the real likelihood the Legislature would then adjourn the special session today and go home for the holidays. They’ll return for the regular session on Jan. 9 to finish work on the deficit.

The early action bill is a promising move, but you know much work remains to save public safety, public services, health care and higher education.

By the way, both budget committees passed the “joint memorials” asking Congress to allow states to tax out-of-state Internet sales. SJM 8009 passed the Senate Ways and Means Committee and HJM 4012 passed the House Ways and Means Committee.

Public Safety Matters: Senators urged to reject cuts to community corrections, junvenile parole

The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday held what’s is likely it’s last budget hearing for the special session – this one focusing on criminal justice issues.

Federation Lobbyist Matt Zuvich said frontline officers “have grave concerns” with the proposed cuts to community supervision and early release of dangerous offenders.

Zuvich said 80 percent of those released from prison would have only half the parole they used to get.

“What that ends up shaking out to is that they just don’t have time to complete the kind of programs that help them not get back into jail,” he said. “Like cognitive behavioral treatment, like drug and alcohol treatment, like psychotropic drug treatment, mental health treatment, those kinds of things are going to be reduced because their parole time is going to be shortened to such an extent that they just literally can’t complete the programs.”

Zuvich also urged senators to reject proposed reductions in juvenile parole.

He said that the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration estimates that 48 percent of juvenile offenders released would commit more crimes if they had no parole.

“These would be folks that would go to jail in their next round,” Zuvich said.

December 13, 2011

Lawmakes thinking out of the box on budget/revenue solutions


Pushed by your job actions, ideas on closing tax giveaways and personal visits and messages to legislators, many lawmakers are starting to come up with alternatives to the all-cuts budget.

Starting to. Where it ends up is still uncertain.

Here’s a roundup
  • The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled this morning to vote on an “early action” bill that would solve about a quarter of the $2 billion deficit problem. It would find the savings from administrative cuts like fund transfers, changed caseloads and implementation assumptions and the like.

    It raises some problems we have to watch closely – like cutting several positions at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island and releasing 21 non-violent juvenile offenders on their earliest possible release dates.

    It may not be the full answer but it’s a step forward in finding a solution to stopping the cuts and finding revenue to save public safety, public services, health care and higher education.

    Both the House version (HB 2058) and Senate version (SB 5883) had hearings Monday in the respective Ways and Means committees.

    Observers believe the Legislature will adopt the early action bill this week and adjourn their special session. They’d then come back for the regular session starting Jan. 9 to tackle the rest of the deficit problem.
  • Legislative measures ask Congress for authority that could raise $500 million. Both Ways and Means committees on Monday held public hearings on companion messages (called “joint memorials”) to Washington’s two United States senators and nine members of Congress asking them to support the Main Street Fairness Act to allow the state to collect sales tax on Internet sales from out of state. It could raise $500 million, according to the top House budget writer.

    HJM 4012 and SJM 8009 also ask President Obama to sign the federal legislation if it passes Congress. Again, another promising concept that could get us closer to an alternative to the all-cuts budget. HJM 4012 is scheduled for a vote of the House Ways and Means Committee this morning.
  • Jobs Bill. A unique partnership between the Washington State Labor Council and the Association of General Contractors has authored a bill to issue revenue bonds to fund construction projects – and create jobs. And if there are more jobs, there’s more revenue – and another alternative to an all-cuts budget.

    We can’t say it any better than the Washington State Labor Council:

    “It’s time to stop dealing with the symptoms and to treat the disease. What Washington needs to fully recover from the Great Recession is JOBS.

    The clearest way for state government to create jobs is to hire people. Right now, budget cuts are doing the opposite: taking away thousands of public-sector jobs from Washington families. There’s insufficient revenue in the general fund to maintain those jobs and services. But capital budget revenue can be leveraged to support substantial job creation. Washington is in position to frontload that money and create real jobs NOW by investing in public buildings and infrastructure.

    “The Washington State Labor Council/AFL-CIO, the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council and others in the labor movement have formed an unprecedented coalition with industry groups led by the Association of General Contractors (AGC) to support jobs legislation that would accomplish this.

    “The idea is to pay for state construction projects through revenue bonds.”
We’ll keep you posted on this promising idea.

December 9, 2011

Hydraulic fees to protect the environment supported by union

Olympia Local 443 Fish and Wildlife member Tim Young testified Tuesday in favor of HB 2135, to impose a permit fee for hydraulic projects (construction projects around water). It would defray costs of the vital environmental program.

“Without these fees, I think there are going to be some serious compromises relative to resource protection,” Young told the House Ways and Means Committee.

Rainier School boosted

At the Tuesday Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing devoted to health care and developmental disabilities, Federation Lobbyist Matt Zuvich urged the panel to reject the governor’s plan to close Rainier School in Buckley.

“Closing and limiting those beds is not looking very far down the road in our opinion and we don’t believe it’s going to be cheaper, so we hope you’ll take another look at that,” Zuvich said. “We hope you’ll take a look at the option of revenue and revenue that deals not only with the short-term immediate need but some medium and long-term structural needs that our state system needs.”

Community Corrections members conintue to mobilize

• On Tuesday (Dec. 6), WFSE/AFSCME Community Corrections officers and specialists from Spokane, Okanogan County, the Tri-Cities and Tacoma turned out in force to show opposition to plans to turn community supervision over to the counties. The idea was discussed in the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee.
• On Wednesday (Dec. 7), DOC members of Local 1299 staged peaceful picketing in Wenatchee (pictured here).
• Thursday, DOC Local 308 in Seattle holds a Public Safety Matters/Save Community Supervision Peaceful Picketing, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, outside Seattle Criminal Justice Center, 1550 4th Ave. S., Seattle.

Legislation to help make up Parks shortfall, but situation still dire

On the day after the stunning announcement that state Parks was cutting $11 million and potentially laying off some 160 staff because of the slow takeoff in sales of the Discover Pass, members on Wednesday (Dec. 7) continued their fight on several fronts.

• The Parks Union-Management Communication Committee held an emergency meeting at the agency’s Tumwater headquarters.

• A majority of both the Senate and House signed onto companion bills aimed at helping to boost sales of the Discover Pass to make up the $11 million deficit.
Senate Bill 5977, prime sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker of the 40th District, had 33 of the Senate’s 49 members sign on. House Bill 2153, prime sponsored by Rep. Zack Hudgins of the 11th District, had the backing of 53 of the House’s 98 members.

Both bills would correct a flaw some believe has hindered sales. It would allow the Discover Pass to be transferred to one other vehicle.

• And at a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Natural Resource agency programs, Statewide Parks Local 1466's Terry McCullough asked lawmakers for help to make up the shortfall caused by the slow takeoff of Discover Pass sales.

“If we don’t fill the shortfall, parks will be forced to cut $11 million from our budget,” McCullough told the senators on the committee. “Because of that, this week, 160 park employees were told that their positions will be eliminated.

“What does that look like to the public? There will be parks with no ranger assigned to it. No one there to sell a Discover Pass. No one to check camper registrations. No one to quiet noisy campers after 10 o’clock. No one to chase away the bad guys. There will be no law enforcement to keep our families safe. ...

“Pick parks. Look at your budget. Increase revenue. Ask corporations to take the same 3 percent cut on their tax exemptions that state employees have taken in our wages. It’s only fair.”

At the same hearing, Federation Lobbyist Alia Griffing encouraged lawmakers “to look other places to raise dollars to help support critical services and keep our state from going backwards. It’s clear that we need additional revenue and we know that it will take some creativity and proverbial cojones.”

• And the union continues to independently promote the Discover Pass. You can help by buying the $30 annual Discover Pass, which gives you access to nearly 7 million acres of state parks, water-access points, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas and trailheads. You can purchase the Discover Pass online at or call (866) 320-9933 24 hours a day. The online site also has links to some 600 local vendors where you can buy the passes in person.

If you buy the Discover Pass at a state park or agency headquarters in Tumwater, you won't have to pay the extra transaction fee. Join the team and buy your Discover Pass! Great gift idea for the holidays.

December 6, 2011

Parks Commission announces deep cuts - and there's a simple way each and every one of us can help

The State Parks and Recreation Commission this morning holds a special meeting this morning to move a budget cut of $11 million by mid-January because the lifeline the Legislature threw the agency – the Discover Pass – has not brought in as much revenue as needed.

We can help by buying the $30 annual Discover Pass, which gives you access to nearly 7 million acres of state parks, water-access points, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas and trailheads. You can purchase the Discover Pass online at or call (866) 320-9933 24 hours a day. The online site also has links to some 600 local vendors where you can buy the passes in person.

The Legislature created the pass last year when the governor and lawmakers cut state general funds for parks.

It was supposed to bring in $54 million but is only generating about 50 percent of the needed revenue.

The problem is the agency doesn’t have the budget to promote the Discover Pass so a lot of people don’t even know about it. A lot of us have just put off buying it. But with the holidays approaching, it’s a great gift for families. And it will literally help save the quality of our state parks. And the jobs of some of the most dedicated Federation members we have.

Here are the sad facts coming out today:
  • Staff who may be affected by layoffs are getting at-risk letters.
  • The agency proposes moving to a more seasonal approach to field operations in some areas to save $7 million.
  • Headquarters staff and program reductions of about $1.3 million.
  • Regional staff reductions of about $1.4 million.
  • Equipment, office leases, contract reductions to be determined.
This doesn’t mean we don’t have issues with the agency. The Federation and Statewide Parks Local 1466 have raised the red flag for months now. But we’ll deal with that at the proper time. Right now, we need to help our Parks members.

Because they’re in a statewide local, you may not have one-on-one contact with our Parks members. But they’ve been there for the rest of the Federation, including last week during the Week of Action to push legislators to find revenue to save public safety, public services and higher education.

Now we need to stand with them.

Please, set aside some of your holiday gift-buying budget and buy a Discover Pass. Again: You can purchase the Discover Pass online at or call (866) 320-9933 24 hours a day. The online site also has links to some 600 local vendors where you can buy the passes in person.

Buy a Discover Pass. Save a job. Save a wholesome family recreational resource.

Tell us how you Discover, share photos or plans for 2012 - on Facebook DiscoverPass Washington.

December 5, 2011

It's time to take the "stop cuts - find revenue" campaign to your hometown

The Legislature is not doing much in this second week of the emergency special session. Today and Friday, lawmakers will pretty much be on the floor or in caucus. Some important hearings take place this week, but the pace we expected hasn’t materialized.

Legislation has already surfaced on revenue alternative ideas different than the governor’s. Rep. Chris Reykdal will shortly introduce legislation to close some 160 tax breaks and giveaways. Sen. Paull Shin of the 21st District introduced SB 5972 to tie a sales tax increase to the unemployment rate. There’s lots of debate on different revenue ideas and it’s clearly too early to have a fix on what will come out of special session or the regular session starting in January.

At this point, we applaud all efforts to actually debate revenue alternatives to the governor’s all-cuts budget. But it’s way too early to get bogged down in details – because there are no details at this point. But know you are shaping the debate with your longtime efforts to push to close billions in tax giveaways. Remember, the governor actually addressed closing tax breaks in her budget package – something she might not have undertaken had it not been for you. And legislators have the tax giveaways report from the Federation that they got when members visited them in Olympia last week.

Progress to stop the cuts and find revenue to avoid the all-cuts budget is being made. Just not as quickly as most would like.

So it’s time to take the campaign to your hometown – to the legislative districts of lawmakers.

Many of these have already taken place. More are planned. We need to do more.

If you’re interested in doing a local job action in your legislative district, contact April Sims at 1-800-562-6002 or We can help with logistics, signs, buttons and recruitment.

    • On Tuesday, the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee holds a work session on community supervision alternatives – we believe this is the proposal to shift Community Corrections duties to the counties. 10 a.m., Senate Hearing Room 1, Cherberg Building.

    • On Wednesday, the same committee looks at evidence-based options to improve statewide outcomes – a report from the Washington Institute for Public Policy. 1:30 p.m., Senate Hearing Room 1, Cherberg Building.

    • The Senate Ways and Means Committee holds important budget hearings on parts of the all-cuts budget: Tuesday, Dec. 6 on health care, long-term care and developmental disabilities; and Wednesday, Dec. 7, on natural resources and general government. The original Thursday, Dec. 8 on criminal justice has been changed to another topic. We’ll keep you updated. The Ways and Means hearings are all at 3:30 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 4 in the Cherberg Building.


Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 3:30pm - 19th Legislative District Job Action In front of WorkSource office, 511 W. Heron, Aberdeen to support jobs package and revenue.

Thursday, Dec. 8 from 4-6pm - 30th Legislative District Job Action
Peaceful picketing in Federal Way on the corner of 348th and Pacific Highway S., near the Chevron station.

Wednesday, Dec. 14 from 11:30am-12:30pm - 44th Legislative District Job Action
Sidewalk at 12906 Bothell-Everett Highway, Everett to call on Sen. Steve Hobbs to stand with the 99%

Thursday, Dec. 15 at 3:30pm -41st Legislative District Job Action
Sign-waving and leafleting at Chase Bank; delegation will then deliver a holiday card to Sen. Steve Litzow’s district office nearby. Meet at Chase Bank, 10550 N.E. 8th St., Bellevue, WA 98004 (corner of Northeast 8th Street and 106th Avenue Northeast).

December 2, 2011

Members rally for children


Members from the University of Washington, Children’s Services and Western State Hospital joined the "Protect Our Future/Protect Kids" children's rally at the Capitol Friday.


The union’s Children’s Administration Union Management Communication Committee team walked out of their meeting with DSHS management Friday morning over the agency's ongoing refusal “to do anything substantive to alleviate workload,” said the union's Jeanine Livingston.

They then trekked to the Capitol to fill the hearing room for the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee as a show of strength after the walkout. They wore “Respect” stickers to show what the real issue is.

“They tell us at every meeting why they can’t do something we suggest, yet they never come with a plan or something they can do,” Livingston said. “Workload has been an issue since 2007 with no movement. Yet we see expedited implementation of what management makes a priority. We told management that until dealing with workload becomes a meaningful priority, there's nothing more to talk about.”

Special Session Week 1 - Recap

As move into more action at the Capitol and, more importantly, back home in legislative districts, it’s a good time to sum up some of the testimony given at budget hearings and rallies this week.

Senate Ways and Means Committee, 11/28/11

Federation Executive Director Greg Director joined more than 160 other speakers in calling for revenue and a stop to cuts.

“In 18 years of doing this work, I don’t think I’ve every seen a hearing like this,” Devereux said. “I suspect at the end of the day, all 162 people who have testified will be saying to you that we need revenue. I don’t think I’ve every seen that unanimity in anything up here before.

“Our message…is very simple. We need to stop the cuts. We do need to raise the revenue.”

All week long, Federation members have been passing out a compilation of tax giveaways that could be closed to save public safety, public services and higher education. This is just one option in the push for new revenue to stop further drastic cuts.

“Our members understand the financial straits we’re in,” Devereux added. “They see the devastation every day in the services they’re trying to provide.

“Closing the Frances Haddon Morgan Center last year saved no money. But one of those residents has since died in the community. And that didn’t happen in the previous 20 years.

“Closing Maple Lane didn’t save money, but it’s resulted in a lot of confusion in our juvenile rehab system.

Passing 5931 (the bill creating the Department of Enterprise Services and Consolidated Technology Services agency) last year saved no money, but it took away collective bargaining rights for state employees and left them at the whims of some of their bosses.

“Enough is enough.

“The Occupy movement and the backlash against banks and corporations indicate the public is looking for a better way to protect our communities than an all-cuts budget.

“Closing Yakima Valley School, Rainier State School, additional mental health beds, eliminating Medicaid interpreters, seeking further takeaways from state employees who’ve already had furloughs, wage cuts, health cuts – those aren’t the answers.

“State workers and many other groups have already taken their fair share. It is time – if 162 people can come before you and say raise revenue, it’s time for all the legislators of all parties to raise revenue.”

Public Safety Matters, 11/30/11

    At the rally to expose the excesses of the wealthiest 1 percent, Ginger Richardson, president of King County State Corrections Local 308, called the all-cuts budget “a threat to public safety in so many ways.”

    The proposed budget would slash supervision of dangerous offenders released from prison in the community.

    “You may not know this, but Community Corrections officers make a difference in your lives,” Richardson told the rally crowd. “They’re in your communities. And they’re your neighbors.

    “Without me and my other professionals keeping an eye on them, they are out there waiting to do more bad things and create more victims.”

Higher Education cuts pricing our kids out of an education, 11/30/11

    Pam Carl, the Federation’s Volunteer Member Organizing coordinator whose daughter attends a community college, told the Senate Ways and Means Committee Nov. 30 that it’s cheaper for Washington students to go out of state.

    She said her research showed that the in-state tuition at Washington State University is $9,886 a year, while the out-of-state tuition at Oregon State University is more than $2,000 less, at $7,756 a year.

    “As a taxpayer and a resident of this state, I find it appalling,” Carl said.

    The proposed budget slashes state funding for state colleges and universities from 13 percent to 17 percent.

    “The $160 million-plus in cuts in the governor’s proposed supplemental budget robs the future of our children,” Carl said. “We are in danger of falling to the bottom of the list of states when it comes to the quality of our higher education system.”

Senate Ways and Means Committee, 12/1/11

    At the Senate budget hearing on human services programs, Federation Lobbyist Matt Zuvich took time to urge saving the four wards at Western State Hospital and the medical interpreters program, plus two programs that haven’t always been in the spotlight this week.

    On the proposed closure of Rainier School in Buckley:

“It would be taking away one of four or five people in the whole world that know how to communicate with a vulnerable adult that doesn’t communicate normally,” Zuvich said. “Displacing and closing that facility would put them into the community and the people that have worked with them all their lives would not necessarily go with them.”

    On the cuts to Juvenile Parole:

“Those kids that they now serve and hook up with critical services that help prevent them from going on into a lot more severe life of criminality won’t get those services and that we would end up paying for them later.”

Zuvich summed up the week well: It’s the revenue, folks:

“I think it’s time to face facts,” he said. “We don’t have a budget problem, we have a revenue problem. Those who would say that we can fix this problem with all cuts need to talk to my members. And we’ll be here and we’ll find you and all you have to do is let us in the door and we’ll tell you just how bad it is right now.”

December 1, 2011

Stop cuts, find revenue message hitting home as legislator annouces bill to roll back some 160 tax giveaways, raise revenue

At yesterday’s Capitol campus rally against the excesses of the wealthiest 1 percent, Rep. Chris Reykdal of the 22nd District said he’ll introduce legislation next week to close some 160 tax breaks and make other changes to raise revenue to protect public safety, public services and higher education.

He told the crowd of about 200 his bill will also create jobs.

He said the court fight challenging the constitutionality of Tim Eyman’s initiative requiring an undemocratic two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise revenue also continues.

“It recognizes that the 99 percent make this country great,” he said. “We are not great despite government, we are great because of government….We can do this. Go tell the fat cats we can do this.”

And the crowd did just that marching off campus to the state headquarters of the Association of Washington Business.

So the news from Day 3 shows someone is listening to the 99 percent. Reykdal’s plan will go far beyond the Federation compilation of 27 tax giveaways from six groups that could be cut to find revenue.

November 30, 2011

Medical Interpreter Day at the Capitol -- and legislators began wearing "Take the Vote" pledge buttons

WFSE/AFSCME Local 1671 Medical Intepreters, whose program faces elimination in the governor's budget, met with dozens of legislators over lunch Tuesday on Day 2 of the Week of Action in Olympia. Some legislators, like Rep. Cindy Ryu, D-32, donned one of the union's "Take the Vote" buttons to signal they're ready to vote on cutting tax giveaways to find revenue for public safety, public services and higher education. Others studied the union's compilation of 27 tax giveaways that, if closed, would raise $2.3 billion revenue.

November 29, 2011

Federation members show their colors as they join 3000 at Capitol on opening day of the special session

Several hundred Federation members descended on the Capitol Monday to lobby their legislators and to join 3,000 allies from a wide range of good government groups and social service advocates to set the agenda for this extraordinary moment in time.

Federation President Carol Dotlich summed it up well during the morning briefing of members, who were joined by dozens of Occupy Seattle activists who shared a bus ride to Olympia with UW Local 1488 members.

“We’ve all heard about the drastic cuts proposed by the governor,” Dotlich said. “And we know that some legislators are looking at cutting our health benefits, our wages and trying to figure out how to fill the state’s $2 billion deficit by cutting our programs, dumping our clients, cutting off our students, endangering our neighborhoods by letting felons go unsupervised and increasing an historic unemployment rate by laying us off. That about covers it, doesn’t it? So we’re not going to let that happen!”

Some in the press and corporate special interests have tried to steer our message away from cutting tax giveaways to the wealthiest 1 percent as a way to save public safety, public services and higher education.

Press reports focused on a handful of the 3,000 who were arrested for disorderly conduct, all but one involving protesters trying to get back into the Capitol after the state shut it down at 5:30 p.m. Reports of state troopers tazering protesters are also overblown – it involved a few protesters trying to get back into the Capitol in the evening.

The truth is, throughout the day, the protesters, many of them schooled in the Occupy Movement, praised the troopers, even giving them the peace sign during an afternoon sit-in outside the governor’s office.

As one trooper told the Tacoma News Tribune: “A small number of individuals here were causing trouble. Everyone else, it was very peaceful and no issues.”

It’s not believed any Federation members were involved in any of the arrests. The Federation, as part of AFSCME, has led the coalition’s emphasis on peaceful, non-violent protest modeled after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King died for striking AFSCME sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968.

The press, unfortunately, has drunk the poisoned punch from longtime enemies of state employees, who are throwing up the smokescreen that the debate is not about ending billions in corporate tax giveaways but about blaming public workers.

House Deputy Republican Leader Rep. Joel Kretz was trying to steer the debate away from tax giveaways (telling PubliCola today that state workers “make up a majority of state budget costs”). But House Ways and Means Committee Chair Rep. Ross Hunter said it’s a delusion to peg state employees as the budget cost drivers. “There’s not much money there,” Hunter told PubliCola. “It’s in the tens of millions at best.” He rejected the Kretz plan to blame state employees and cut pay even more. “The question isn’t weather or not you can do it, the question is can you do it and still have an effective workforce,” he told PubliCola. PubliCola also noted that “Hunter, a former Microsoft exec, said the state should take note of the Redmond company’s focus on raises and ‘quality.’”

Kretz says he can’t go back to his district and tell voters they’ll be better off if they cut state employee pay, should instead ask his voters if they’d be better off cutting tax giveways that rob us of billions in tax giveaways.

Starting yesterday, Federation members set out to give each and every legislators a copy of the union’s publication outlining $2.3 billion in tax giveaways that could be cut, as suggested by six authoritative groups. As Dotlich said yesterday:

“$2.3 billion in revenue we give away ever year. A $2 billion budget deficit. You do the math.

“We can cut public safety, vital services or education, or we can restore – even temporarily – the obligations of the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes.”

    Here’s what’s on tap this week.

Week of Action at the Capitol, Nov. 28

NOTE: If your local is planning to bring members down, please contact Diana Whitmore at 800-562-6002 or so we can coordinate your action.

    To get information on and register for our Week of Action in Olympia Nov. 28-Dec. 2, go to the Federation website at

• TUE., NOV 29:  The face of the 99% - personal stories that highlight the impact of budget cuts on the 99%. Our members are standing up for Public Health and against cuts to Basic Health and Interpreter Services. Join them!

On this day, our allies at the Washington Community Action Network (WashCAN!) will occupy the Capitol in Olympia. Their message to Federation members and the entire coalition: “Enough is enough. The 99% Movement and progressive organizations are uniting to Occupy the Capitol during the special session. It’s time to close corporate tax loopholes and raise revenue instead of making more cuts. Big corporations and the wealthy in this state need to pay their fair share. For more information, go to

The Senate Ways and Means Committee looks at the governor’s supplemental budget, 3:30 p.m., Nov. 29, Senate Hearing Room 4, Cherberg Building.
  • WED., NOV 30:  The face of the 1% - identifying tax breaks that take away from the safety net. We're fighting to preserve Public Safety! Help Community Correction Officers fight against cuts to community supervision, community safety. The Senate Ways and Means Committee, K-12 and Higher Education cuts in the supplemental budget, 3:30 p.m., Nov. 30, Senate Hearing Room 4, Cherberg Building.
  • THU., DEC 1:  Which side are you on?  Asking legislators to take the vote to end tax breaks and raise revenue.

    The House Education Appropriations and Oversight Committee take up the education parts of the supplemental budget, 1:30 p.m., Dec. 1, House Hearing Room A, John L. O’Brien Building.

    The House General Government Appropriations and Oversight Committee looks at the budget, recommendations from the Statewide Security Advisory Committee, and the state parks Discover Pass, 1:30 p.m., Dec. 1, House Hearing Room C, John L. O’Brien Building.

    The House Health and Human Services Appropriations and Oversight Committee takes up children’s mental health and regional habilitation centers, 1:30 p.m., Dec. 1, House Hearing Room B, John L. O’Brien Building.

    The Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee looks at proposals for state hospital ward closures, Dec. 1, 1:30 p.m., Senate Hearing Room 1, Cherberg Building.

    House Ways and Means Committee, looks at the budget outlook, Dec. 1, 3:30 p.m., House Hearing Room A, John L. O’Brien Building.

    The Senate Ways and Means Committee looks at human services issues in the supplemental budget, Dec. 1, 3:30 p.m., Senate Hearing Room 4, Cherberg Building.
  • FRI., DEC 2:  It’s about our future. Hearing  from those who are unfairly burdened with student loan debt and a loss of economic opportunities. Local 793 will be here to fight against cuts to Mental Health. Join them!

November 21, 2011

Governor unveils all-cuts budget, proposes ballot measure


    Gov. Chris Gregoire this morning unveiled her all-cuts budget that will go before the Legislature when lawmakers return to Olympia for an extraordinary special session starting next Monday.

    She proposes $1.7 billion in cuts offset by $59 million in revenue requiring only a majority vote of the Legislature and $282 million requiring a two-thirds vote. She said she’s not optimistic about the latter.

    She also proposes sending to voters in March a referendum temporarily raising the sales tax a half penny until 2015. That would raise $494 million -- $411 for education, $42 million for long-term care and developmental disability services and $41 million in public safety.

    She said the revenue referendum would avoid $160 million in cuts to state support of colleges and universities.

    The revenue referendum would also stop the early release (150 days) of offenders assessed at low to moderate risk of reoffending, including sex offenders. It would also maintain the length of post-prison community supervision for all offenders.

    The governor defended not cutting state employee compensation more – she produced a chart showing that public servants’ sacrifices made up $2 billion or 19 percent of the $10.5 billion in budget cuts the past three years. But she is cutting $16 million for funding of your health benefits; but she says the cut in the amount the state pays from $850 per employee per month to $825 per employee a month does not affect your negotiated benefits plan. We believe it’s a slippery slope that could result in higher costs for you if the short-term decline in use rates spikes up again.

    The governor largely discounted calls by the Federation and our allies to cut deeply into tax breaks to raise revenue. The Federation has a plan to cut 27 tax breaks that would raise more than $2.3 billion. She said she proposes closing only a handful of tax breaks because it’s not as easy to do as some think.

    But the special session revenue proposals and the voter referendum are all iffy. The reality is she’s proposing an all-cuts budget we still must fight starting with job actions this week and the special session starting next Monday.

    In no particular order, here are the major cuts in her proposed 2012 Supplemental Budget:

• Eliminate medical interpreter services, specifically discontinuing the subsidy that covers the costs of interpreter services offered by medical providers to communicate with Medicaid clients whose primary language is not English. The budget would also delay the new reforms in delivery of interpreter services from Jan. 1, 2012, to July 1, 2012.

• Eliminate Disability Lifeline and the Basic Health Plan by Feb. 1, 2012.

• In Higher Education, reducing state support by: 17 percent at the University of Washington, Washington State University and Western Washington University; 16 percent at Eastern Washington University, Central Washington University and The Evergreen State College; and 13 percent at community and technical colleges.

• In Corrections, early release of offenders. Specifically, releases 150 days early those offenders assessed at low to moderate risk of reoffending, and sex offenders assessed at low to moderate risk of reoffending. Affects about 370 offenders, according to the budget.

• In Corrections, reduces the length of supervision to 12 months for all offenders except about 3,000 sex offenders, who will be supervised for 24 months. Right now, non-sex offenders are supervised from 12 to 36 months, and sex offenders are supervised for 36 months.

• In Juvenile Rehabilitation, reduce parole services for juveniles by 20 percent – reducing the time in which parole is provided or reduces the numbers of juveniles served. The budget does not mention closing any JRA institution – earlier “budget alternatives” had targeted Naselle Youth Camp – but there’s squishy language about shifting positions and funding “to better align staff and funds with the programs.”

• Closure of four wards at Western State Hospital, including two for patients suffering from traumatic brain injury and dementia. No mention was made of a ward closure at Eastern State Hospital, which was an earlier “budget alternative.”

• Closure of Rainier School in Buckley in the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

• Elimination of several Child Welfare programs, including receiving care centers, foster care assessment program, continuum of care, sex abuse recognition training, children’s advocacy centers, adoption support recruitment, street youth and state funding for educational coordinators.

• In Ecology, holds vacant 14 and eliminates 13 state-funded positions in a number of programs, including air quality, water resources, water quality, toxic clean-ups and hazardous waste management.

• The governor’s budget would lay off another 1,500 state employees.


• Go to the Federation website at for information on job actions this week and actions during the special session starting next Monday, Nov. 28.


    Call 1-800-562-6000 or send an email from our Action Center at

    Tell your legislators to cut tax breaks to raise revenue. Save public safety, public services and higher education.

    The choice is clear.

    • Legislators can yield to the wealthiest 1 percent and cut public safety, public services and higher education.


    • They can stand with the 99 percent – the rest of us – and take the vote to cut billions in tax breaks to raise revenue. We need to create jobs, save the middle class and restore our economy. You can see a series of possible tax breaks that could be closed to cover the $2 billion deficit. Go to the Federation website at

• WHY? We can do better. The future of our state depends on the choices we make now. We have to make the profitable corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent pay their fair share. It doesn’t make sense to hand out tax breaks to big banks and special interests at the same time we’re raising tuition, harming our environment, damaging public safety and putting people with disabilities and mental illness out on the streets.

November 17, 2011

Latest revenue forecast: deficit no worse.

The latest state revenue forecast released today (Nov. 17) was not much worse than the September forecast. The deficit problem remains about $2 billion. That deficit is what’s bringing legislators back to town for an extraordinary special session starting Nov. 28.

And as you know, that will bring the forces against corporate greed in unison with the Federation and others who for 10 years have been calling for a cut to billions in tax breaks to save public safety, public services and higher education.

In today’s revenue forecast, you can’t help but notice evidence that critics of state government – those who want to contract out, lay off and cut your pay and benefits – are cutting their noses off to spite their face.

The Washington economy gained only 500 new jobs since September – the loss of 5,100 public-sector jobs almost negates the addition of 5,600 private-sector jobs.

A job is a job is a job and continuing to attack public jobs is not a recipe to recover our economy. 

We're 11 days away from the special session.

Call 1-800-562-6000 or take action online at

Tell your legislators to cut tax breaks to raise revenue. Save public safety, public services and higher education.

The choice is clear.
  • Legislators can yield to the wealthiest 1 percent and cut public safety, public services and higher education; OR
  • They can stand with the 99 percent – the rest of us – and take the vote to cut billions in tax breaks to raise revenue. We need to create jobs, save the middle class and restore our economy. You can see a series of possible tax breaks that could be closed to cover the $2 billion deficit. 
Take action online at

Jobs and Revenue Summit

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO hosts a Jobs and Revenue Summit with remarks by WFSE/AFSCME Executive Director Greg Devereux, WSLC President Jeff Johnson, stories from people receiving services, Occupy Seattle, small business and more.

November 9, 2011

27 Ways to cut the deficit by cutting tax breaks

Tell Legislators to cut tax breaks to raise revenue

Emboldened by election results, defenders of corporate greed waste no time targeting public safety, public services and public servants

Emboldened by the COSTCO-bought passage of Initiative 1183 to privatize state liquor sales, politicians on both sides of the aisle and their supporters in Big Media have wasted no time once again blaming public servants for our economic mess as a smokescreen to protect corporations from paying their fair share.

But they might want to look for lessons from as far away as Ohio and as close to home as Snohomish County.

And we’ve saved the best for last: 27 ways to save public safety, public services and higher education by cutting tax breaks.

But first….

An editorial in today’s The Olympian blamed the Federation-led Health Care Coalition -- who rejected Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire’s request to re-open health care negotiations so you’ll pay more while corporations sacrifice nothing.

The Olympian, echoing the governor’s office,  said state employees who have sacrificed more than 10 percent of their pay – including successive rounds of furloughs, a 3 percent pay cut and health premium costs that increased at least 25 percent – should give even more, while corporations sit on billions in unpaid taxes—otherwise known as “tax breaks.”
The politicians, the corporations and Big Media have their talking points down. Wrote The Olympian: “Union leaders have left open the possibility that lawmakers will order additional cuts in staffing and/or pay cuts for all state workers.”

Translation: Blame public servants. Protect corporate greed.

Now it isn’t just the current Democratic governor who’s trotting out these talking points. Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna used Tuesday’s Election Day to kick off his bid to be the next governor at a posh Bellevue reception hall. As the Seattle Times reports, McKenna and Gregoire are on the same page. “McKenna also said he’d try to force state workers to pay a higher share of health-care costs, something Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire has already pursued,” the Times reported today (Nov. 9).

Translation: Blame public servants. Protect corporate greed.

And it appears the Republican minority in the Legislature also has their “blame public servants” talking points down, too. They tipped their hand when Rep. Charles Ross of the 14th District appeared on KIT radio in Yakima Friday morning (Nov. 4). Our Community Corrections officers and the police chief came to talk about the harmful impact of the governor’s potential proposal to end community supervision of offenders released from prison. But Ross came armed with charts and graphs and a book of talking points.

Summary: Attack collective bargaining and contract rights.

He said we ought to do in Washington what governors have tried in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere.

“When you look across the nation right now, there are states that are realizing and going back and saying, ‘Hold on a second, that choice to create collectively bargained contracts with one person – the governor – is not working,’” Ross said.

Later, he said, “You have contracts that are in place that we cannot stop, you cannot adjust for a situation like this, to the point where I can review lawsuits where we’ve tried to make adjustments to people’s pay and benefits that now we get sued….”

Without the rollback of collective bargaining and “contract law,” he said, “the only solution is layoffs and that’s the worst solution.”

Still later, said Ross, the state needs to “re-prioritize….And a lot has been done through the whole process of two things, contract law and also entitlement programming to where the courts come back because we’re being sued on that very issue that it we decline those people the benefits, they’re going to come back and enjoin us.”

Still later, he said, “And it’s not just on the poor folks – I want to make sure that’s clear – it’s on pension benefits on auto-pilot, it’s many other facets of we spend the tax dollar that’s truly not in our control.”

And referring to the expected passage of the liquor privatization initiative, Ross said: “I’m telling you anytime the state has an opportunity to remove itself from a function of business it should. We’ve tried that in the DSHS world, in social services, we’ve been sued for sending work out to the private sector. We’ve been sued. It’s been prevented.”

The reference to DSHS was apparently to the union’s victory in court this past May when a judge issued an injunction against the fast-track contracting out of Child Welfare services. He may have also referred to the union’s recent court action on pensions and health insurance.

So Ross, a legislator we deeply respect, was just doing his loyal duty to his party by trotting out the talking points inspired by the Unholy Trinity of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Koch Brothers and Grover Norquist.

Translation: Blame public servants. Protect corporate greed.

But, as the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

So Gregoire, McKenna, Ross, ALEC, the Kochs, Norquist, Big Media can’t change the facts:


Last night, voters in Ohio rejected their governor’s attempt to strip away public employee collective bargaining rights. It wasn’t close – a nearly 2-1 margin to retain workers’ rights. Ross may use Ohio as a model for rolling back collective bargaining here, but voters saw through the smokescreen there. They’d do it here, too.


After Gov. Scott Walker’s bill stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights, two of his supporters were recalled, giving the Democrats working control of Wisconsin’s state Senate. Walker and several other senators can’t be recalled until they’ve been in office for a year. But those recall efforts are coming – while the FBI probe of Walker’s campaign and former county executive office continues.


Democratic Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon was considered a goner. He faced a nasty campaign, including a last-minute criminal investigation sparked by an anonymous – and suspicious source. Reardon won in a landslide and in doing so sent a message to other timid Democrats. “I’m not your typical liberal Democrat,” Reardon told KING TV. “If you hit me, I’m going to hit back. I’m a working-class kid from Everett. I think Democrats lose when they sit on their hands. I don’t sit on my hands.”


We believe the special legislative session that starts Nov. 28 will last nearly until Christmas and then they’ll resume when the regular session starts Jan. 9.

The Federation and a broad-based coalition of labor, churches, community groups and others are joining for a week of action Nov. 28-Dec. 2.  
    Guess why the corporate forces and their supporters continue to blame you? They know with the Occupy Movement there’s a movement to force corporations to pay their fair share.
    Everyone cites the billions in tax breaks. But no one’s really toted up the various possibilities of which could be closed to help tackle the newest $2 billion deficit.

    Until now.

    We’ve gathered 27 ideas put forward by just six groups that could roll back more than $2.3 billion in tax breaks that largely benefit corporations. The groups range from the Federation and its 3 percent corporate tax break furlough proposal (to raise $450 million) to the Citizen Commission on Performance Measurement of Tax Preferences, which proposes ending $44 million in specific tax breaks.

    We’ll have this list in a pdf form you can download from our website at It’s printed below, too.

    Some of these ideas may overlap and all members may not support some. But our purpose in compiling this list is to show that many groups of thoughtful citizens are proposing creative ideas to save our state without devastating cuts.

    November 1, 2011

    Seattle Times columnist endorses Federation's 3% corporate tax break furlough plan

    We’ve had our differences with the Seattle Times Editorial Board. But Times columnist Danny Westneat did a little digging and thinks our call for a 3 percent furlough of this state’s corporate tax breaks would bring in a cool $450 million, or nearly a quarter of the money needed to cover the new $2 billion deficit.

    Wrote Westneat:

    “But what if the corporate world was asked to give the same as the unions – three? Not a 3 percent increase in their base tax rates. Just forgo 3 percent of the value of their tax breaks (which by their nature are special carve-outs, anyway)….

    “The union was probably out just to make hay. Maybe it spun a little gold instead.”

    Read the full column here:

    Well, we were serious. And so are you. The 3 percent corporate tax break cut has inspired you to add your voice to why it’s needed. Go to the Federation website at and share your reasons with legislators why they should cut corporate tax breaks to avoid the horrendous budget proposals put on the table by the governor last Thursday.

    And watch the website and these hotlines for calls to action for the week of the special session, Nov. 28-Dec. 4. We’re meeting with our coalition partners and we’ll have lots of information coming soon.

    KOMO TV investigation blows the lid on cuts to DOC Community Corrections

    KOMO TV's Oct. 31 investigation turned up victims of sexual assault who "fear they are living on borrowed time" because of budget cuts to supervision of the sexual offenders who ruined their lives.

    Watch the report here:

    Job actions by DOC members continue

    The peaceful information picketing by DOC members in Yakima continues 4-6 p.m., tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 2, at the corner of 40th and Summitview in Yakima. This is just one of many actions Community Corrections members have undertaken and will continue to do.

    October 28, 2011

    WFSE/AFSCME-led health care coalition declines re-negotiations

    The Federation-led State Employee Health Care Coalition late yesterday (Oct. 27) told the governor’s office they are not interested in the invitation to re-open negotiations on your health insurance contract article.

    In the response, the coalition said state employees and the people they serve have given enough in pay cuts, higher health costs and program cuts.

    “Enough is enough,” the coalition said in its letter to state Budget Director Marty Brown. “It is time for other organizations who benefit from the state budget to embrace a fair share of concessions as well. All organizations should share equally in this sacrifice.

    “We, therefore, respectfully decline your offer to re-open our 2011-2013 Health Care Agreement.”

    The Federation has gone on record saying the governor should convene a meeting of corporations and ask them to take a 3 percent cut in their corporate tax breaks – because state employees have taken a 3 percent pay cut while billions in taxes go unpaid through corporate tax breaks.

    Federation Executive Director Greg Devereux told the on Wednesday:

    “‘State employees have given as much or more than anyone else in our state, and they are tired of this administration and the Legislature feeling like there are an endless amount of takeaways,’ he said. ‘All [the governor] has to do is look out the window and see Occupy Olympia, Occupy Seattle, Occupy Spokane. People are fed up.’

    “Devereux said it makes more sense for the Legislature to order a three percent cut in all corporate tax breaks. ‘I think if we do that the $2 billion deficit goes away. Let’s just have a 3 percent across the board cut on all tax breaks.

    “’This to us is the path of least resistance. She needs to stand up and say enough is enough. We thought she had said that, actually.’”

    CALL TO ACTION: Tell legislators to cut tax breaks and raise revenue. 

    October 27, 2011

    All-cuts budget options announced; urge legislators to cut tax breaks and raise revenue

    Read the message at
    Governor Gregoire today presented a list of budget reduction alternatives that lawmakers may use to resolve the state’s budget deficit. The list is long and the cuts basically decimate the state’s safety net.

    Here’s a quick overview: elimination or reduction of supervision by Community Corrections Officers; closure of Rainier School and loss of services for the developmentally disabled; closure of two civil wards and two wards caring for patients with dementia and traumatic brain injury at our state hospitals; closure of juvenile youth camp (we believe this to be Naselle, our only remaining youth camp) and reductions to JRA caseload; elimination of medical interpreter services; elimination of basic health; increased caseloads for CA social workers; and unfortunately there’s more.

    The governor stated she is not seeking further pay cuts to state workers, however the list includes a number of cuts that could considered: 10 additional furlough days; additional 1% salary reduction for one year; increase health contributions from 15-25%; and suspension of step increases for one year.

    Expect the governor to release her budget proposal CORRECTION after the Nov. 17 revenue forecase, likely Thanksgiving weekend. Special Session begins Nov. 28.

    CALL TO ACTION: Tell legislators to cut tax breaks and raise revenue. 

    Pressed about revenue, the governor said her focus is in cuts in order to present a balanced budget. “If congress had done its job in August; if the European economy wasn’t in crisis and stabilized; and if Washingtonians were buying more,” things would be different. But we don’t have control of these things.

    The governor denied she is making a case for revenue to the public. “This is what the cuts look like.” Legislative leadership from both sides of the aisle have approached her in respect to revenue, but nothing was release showing us what form the revenue would take nor the programs most likely to see the benefit of revenue.

    Cuts to mental health services were identified as particularly troubling. Those who need the services may turn to crime or turn to emergency services that could result in higher costs. “They aren’t going to be fine.”

    It doesn’t make sense to hand out tax breaks to big banks and special interests at the same time we’re raising tuition and putting people with disabilities and mental illness out on the streets.

    It doesn’t make sense to continue corporate welfare while cutting public health and public safety.

    If implemented, these cuts would cost our state thousands of jobs and set back our economic recovery. These cuts do more to hurt the middle class and widen the gap between the wealthiest and the rest of us. Legislators need to take a vote to end tax breaks and raise revenue.

    October 25, 2011

    Governor to unveil "options" Thursday

    Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to unveil her budget options at a 10 a.m. press conference this Thursday, Oct. 27, in advance of the special legislative session coming in November, on Nov. 28.

    This will be when we get a better idea of her position on the devastating “options” already floated to gut public safety and public services – from decimating Community Corrections, to closing six mental health wards, to closing Naselle Youth Camp, to ending the Basic Health Plan and eliminating our medical interpreters.

    Many locals are doing regular job actions. Watch for details in your area. Stay tuned to our website at and sign up for text, Twitter and e-mail alerts there.

    We’re part of a broad-based movement that’s occupied with amping up actions against these devastating budget cuts. With billions in corporate tax breaks – which are unpaid taxes that the wealthiest 1 percent get away with every year in this state – it makes no sense to slash the public safety net again and again and again and basically wipe out the Great American Middle Class.

    Even legislators, who have the power to end enough tax breaks to cover the new $2 billion deficit, are talking about the need for revenue, perhaps as a ballot measure put to voters next spring.

    Said Senate Ways and Means Chair Sen. Ed Murray in today’s The Olympian: “Without it, I don’t know how I get the votes for an all-cuts budget. It’s a very difficult situation. I think even Republicans – when they see what is left to cut – are going to be stunned. I think some of them may come to believe we ought to give the voters the option to try to buy back some of those cuts.”

    But it’s so bad, we believe the required two-thirds of the Legislature should step up in special session and vote to roll back enough tax loopholes to save our state and our Middle Class.

    Bargaining team election ballots going out this week

    Ballots for the various bargaining teams (in technical terms, the traditional state employee teams covered by the Personnel System Reform Act of 2002) go out this week. This is for the negotiations starting early next year for 2013-2015 contracts.

    However, for positions where the number of nominees equaled the number of positions, those nominees have been appointed/elected by acclamation. There will be no election.

    Finally, several positions got no nominees, so the Federation president will appoint. To help you sort all this out, below are three lists:


    Ballots for these positions will go out this week. Because the ballots will list the candidates, we won’t list the candidates here. Those ballots will be due back to WFSE/AFSCME Headquarters by Nov. 14, 2011. Those positions with elections are:

    General Government Bargaining Team:
    • Agriculture; Corrections; Ecology; Enterprise Services/Consolidated Technology Services Agency; Health; Labor and Industries; Licensing; Transportation (Westside); Veterans Affairs; Employment Security; Miscellaneous General Government agencies; Parks and Recreation; DSHS/Children’s Administration; DSHS/Community Services Division; DSHS/DD Field Services/SOLA; DSHS/DD Institutions (Westside); DSHS/Division of Child Support; DSHS/Eastern State Hospital; DSHS/Home and Community Services; DSHS/JRA Institutions, Juvenile Parole and Group Homes; and DSHS/Western State Hospital.
    University of Washington Bargaining Team:
    • Harborview Medical Center – 2 At-Large Positions; UW Campuswide/Trades Bargaining Unit (2 seats); UW Campuswide/At-Large (2 seats); and University of Washington Medical Center – 2 At-Large Positions.

    Candidates for the following positions were elected/appointed by acclamation because nominations equaled the number of positions available:

    General Government Bargaining Team:
    1. Department of Fish & Wildlife:  Bryan Quinton
    2. Office of the Insurance Commissioner:  Wendy Conway
    3. DSHS/All Other:  Robin Windhausen [RCS]
    4. DSHS/DD Institutions/Eastside & Consolidated Support Services:  Julianne Moore
    5. DSHS/Special Commitment Center:  Eliga Sacks
    Higher Education Coalition Bargaining Team:
    1. Community Colleges of Spokane:  Rick Halverson
    2. Everett Community College:  Max Phipps
    3. Green River Community College:  Todd Henderson
    4. Lower Columbia College:  Peter Hansen
    5. Lower Columbia College:  Vicki Echerd
    6. Peninsula College:  Jerry Machenheimer
    7. Seattle Community Colleges:  Rodolfo Franco
    8. Seattle Community Colleges:  Frank Deering
    9. South Puget Sound Community College:  Terry Verone
    10. South Puget Sound Community College:  Merrie Raymond-Haskey
    11. Tacoma Community College:  Angie Simpson
    12. Tacoma Community College:  Laurie Harmon
    13. Whatcom Community College:  Sharon Maupin
    Eastern Washington University Bargaining Team:

    1.    EWU:  Pat Terrell
    2.    EWU:  David Sundstrom
    3.    EWU:  Craig Walker
    4.    EWU:  Quincy Burns
    The Evergreen State College Bargaining Team:
    1. TESC:  Lana Brewster
    2. TESC:  Kirk Talmadge
    3. TESC:  Laura Carpenter
    4. TESC:  Lin Crowley
    5. TESC:  Steve Johnson
    6. TESC:  Rachel Burke
    University of Washington Bargaining Team:
    1. Bothell Campus At-Large:  John Miller
    2. UW Campus-Wide Bargaining Unit/Custodian:  Eduardo "Ed" Vazquez & Francisca Flores
    3. UW Library Bargaining Unit:  Elisa Coghlan & James “Jake” White

    Appointments will need to be made in the following positions because no nominations were received for any or all seats available:

    General Government Bargaining Team:
    1. Department of Commerce:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    2. Department of Early Learning:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    3. Department of Natural Resources:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    4. Department of Transportation/Eastside:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    5. Health Care Authority:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    6. Military Department:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    7. Washington School for the Blind and Center for Deafness & Hearing Loss:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    8. Washington State Patrol:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    9. DSHS/Department of Vocational Rehabilitation:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    Higher Education Coalition Bargaining Team:
    1. Bellevue College:  (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    2. Centralia Community College:  (2 Team Members Allowed) 2 Members Need to be Appointed
    3. Community Colleges of Spokane:  (3 Team Members Allowed) 1 Member by Acclamation; 2 Members Need to be Appointed
    4. Everett Community College:  (2 Team Members Allowed) 1 Member by Acclamation; 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    5. Green River Community College:  (2 Team Members Allowed) 1 Member by Acclamation; 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    6. Seattle Community Colleges:  (3 Team Members Allowed) 2 Members Appointed by Acclamation; 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    7. Shoreline Community College:  (2 Team Members Allowed) 2 Members Need to be Appointed
    Central Washington University Bargaining Team:
    • CWU:  (9 Team Members Allowed) 9 Members Need to be Appointed
    Eastern Washington University Bargaining Team:
    • EWU:  (9 Team Members Allowed) 4 Members Appointed by Acclamation; 5 Members Needs to be Appointed
    The Evergreen State College Bargaining Team:
    • TESC:  9 Team Members Allowed) 6 Members Appointed by Acclamation; 3 Members Need to be Appointed
    Washington State University Bargaining Team:
    • WSU:  (9 Team Members Allowed) 9 Members Need to be Appointed
    Western Washington University Bargaining Team:
    • WWU:  (9 Team Members Allowed) 9 Members Need to be Appointed
    University of Washington Bargaining Team:
    • UW:  PAC Lab, Friday Harbor & Consolidated Laundry as a Coalition, At-Large (1 Team Member Allowed) 1 Member Needs to be Appointed
    University of Washington Police Management Bargaining Team:
    • UWPM: The bargaining team must have at least two members. At least two members need to be appointed.

    Two appointments for positions where no nominations were received have been made, both on the University of Washington Bargaining Team:
    1. UW PSO’s Bargaining Unit (HMC):  Jill Burr
    2. Tacoma Campus/At-Large:  Kim Shaw

    October 20, 2011

    Do-over in the works for exemptions in the new Consolidated Technology Services agency?

    Legislators miffed because the administration cut the bargaining and civil service rights of about two-thirds of the new Consolidated Technology Services (CTS) agency may lead the charge to push the undo button and roll back the exemptions of more than 150 front-line information technology workers.

    The push to pause the CTS job exemptions, which allow the agency to fire them at will for no just cause, was aired at Wednesday’s (Oct. 19) hearing before the House General Government Appropriations and Oversight Committee.

    “It actually costs the state nothing to push pause, let some of this play out, and let you guys reconvene in January to figure out some of these finer details and how it’s coming, how it’s evolving and the shape it’s taking,” Federation Lobbyist Alia Griffing urged the committee.

    Committee Chair Rep. Zack Hudgins of the 11th District agreed.

    “I am surprised at the number of folks that fell under the exempt job descriptions,” Hudgins told CTS Director Mike Ricchio. “I don’t think that two-thirds of the agency was contemplated during the negotiations with representatives from both parties, both chambers.

    “So I’m sure there is going to be legislation to hem that in a little bit. So I hope you have an undo button somewhere in your agency you might roll back if the Legislature finds the will to do so.”

    Ricchio said the administration believes the exemptions provide needed flexibility, but their collective bargaining rights could be restored with no impact.

    “Whether these folks are classified or exempt, the work is being done,” Ricchio told the committee. “That work is being done in the same way. I think it does give us flexibility in the long run.

    “But at this point, it would be very easy to roll back to the classified service. And I don’t think it would hurt our customers to do so.”

    The hearing came amidst growing opposition – and legislative irritation – over the law consolidating several functions and agencies into the new CTS and Department of Enterprise Services. Legislators have publicly scolded the administration for assuring them during deliberations last spring on ESSB 5931 that only about 30 high-level managers would be exempted from civil service and bargaining.

    Instead, the agency proposed exempting 157 members (thanks to union bargaining, three have had their rights restored so far).

    “The way the bill is being implemented and the scope of employees who are being removed from civil service in our opinion far exceeds what was contemplated by the Legislature and what was talked about during the meetings that were privy to,” Griffing told the committee.

    Federation members analyzed the exemptions and concluded about 73 percent of the agency would be exempt – even greater than the conservative estimate of 66 percent, she said.

    “Based on the meetings that we were privy to last year, I find it hard to believe that as you were voting on this bill that this is what you were envisioning,” Griffing said.

    “I don’t believe this represents the more flexible, nimble agency that will attract and retain qualified workers. We urge you to revisit this issue next year and tighten up the broad language used in the bill, which is how they are sweeping up these additional employees.”

    One of the affected members moved from the Department of Information Services to CTS and exempted is Jeff Paulsen.

    He told the committee said his salary is basically locked in – there’s no real difference between his classified job and his new job title in the exempt band.

    “One of the issues we heard about in the lead up to this bill was the problems with recruitment and retention,” Paulsen told the committee.

    “We’ve been told through salary surveys that our compensation is roughly 25 to 30 or more percent behind the private sector. What this bill does…locks us in at the salaries that we’re at, it doesn’t give them any flexibility to grow in the future. So that will hurt recruitment and it will hurt retention. It will not help solve those problems.”

    If the administration gets away with this Wisconsin-style scheme here, it will have a chilling effect throughout state government, said Steve Pointec, an IT worker in the Employment Security Department.

    “People can be fired for any reason without showing just cause,” Pointec said. “This has turned IT workers into patronage workers. This has put fear into workers in all agencies. …

    “Who will work for the state when they know that they could be put into the street at any time?”

    Natural Resource agency members speak out at legislative hearing

    The House General Government Appropriations and Oversight Committee got updates on consolidation efforts in natural resource agencies in their Oct. 19 hearing.

    In the 2011 session, the administration pushed to merge Parks, Fish and Wildlife and some functions from other natural resource agencies into a new super-agency. That proposal didn’t survive, but a modified version of the bill 2SSB 5669, remains alive after having passed the Senate in May before dying in the House. As that bill stands now, it would direct Agriculture, Ecology, Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources to consolidate certain administrative services, functions and regions. But it’s believed the governor’s overall super-agency approach may arise again.

    Spokane Local 1221 Ecology member Scott Mallery, chair of the union’s Natural Resources Task Force, told the committee the Legislature should look at streamlining management first.

    WMS and EMS positions make up to 2 ½ times as much as a front-line worker, “so with streamlining of that, you might be able to get more people on the ground to get the job done,” Mallery said.

    So far, the consolidation plans don’t appear to help the budget bottom line that much, he said.

    “We just see deck chairs being moved around and no real savings in it,” Mallery said. If discussions go forward, “make sure management is reduced and duplicate systems are eliminated,” he said.

    “And always, we think our members and our employees should have a stakeholder at the table because a lot of them know what’s going on and they don’t get asked those questions.”

    Another member of the union task force, Olympia Local 443 member Tim Young, an IT worker in Fish and Wildlife, said surveyed members want labor represented in any consolidation discussion to protect their rights.

    But, “we think this is bad timing for anything but a study,” Young told the committee. “There have been severe staff and budget reductions at Fish and Wildlife, for example…. So this is not a good time to be talking about natural resource consolidation.”

    October 17, 2011

    Members needed at legislative hearing on agency consolidations Wed., Oct 19

    The fight for Information Tech members in agency consolidations continues Wednesday at the state capitol.

    We need as many members in AFSCME Green to show up for this Wednesday’s legislative oversight hearing on the consolidation of agencies into the new Department of Enterprise Services and the Consolidated Technology Services agency.

    As you know, the IT workers especially are under the gun. Legislation has been interpreted as stripping about 175 members of their collective bargaining rights. They and the Federation are already fighting on a number of fronts, including at the bargaining table and the Public Employment Relations Commission.

    But when legislators who voted for the bill said they never intended it to exempt more than about 30 high-level managers, there’s a problem that the Legislature needs to fix.

    This Wednesday’s legislative hearing is an important update on how the transition has gone. A perfect opportunity for you to turn out in solidarity. We’ll have materials you can hand out to committee members.

    The hearing is before the House General Government Appropriations and Oversight Committee. It will be at 3 p.m., this Wednesday, Oct. 19, in Senate Hearing Room 1 of the John A. Cherberg Building on the Capitol campus.

    For DOC members:
    • The oversight committee will also get updates on consolidation of the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board within the Department of Corrections, merger of the Sentencing Guidelines Commission into the Caseload Forecast Council and discussion of potential consolidation of criminal justice programs.
    For Natural Resources members:
    • The oversight committee will also review natural resources consolidation proposals from the 2011 legislative session.
    Hearing details:
    • House General Government Appropriations and Oversight Committee, 3 p.m., this Wed., Oct. 19, in Senate Hearing Room 1 of the John A. Cherberg Building on the Capitol campus.
    • Link to agenda

    Corrections members' mobilization continues

    Department of Corrections members continue their mobilization against proposed budget cuts that would virtually wipe out post-release supervision.

    This week, DOC members in Yakima and Kennewick will stage peaceful informational picketing this Thursday, Oct. 20:
    • YAKIMA, 11:30am -1pm at the corner of First Street and Yakima Avenue in Yakima. 
    • KENNEWICK, Noon at the corner of Highway 395 and Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick.
    Both groups have scheduled picketing on Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, too.

    Military department unit chooses WFSE/AFSCME

    Washington Youth Academy workers (in non-supervisory job classes) have won a voice at work now that their choice of the Federation as their union has been certified.

    The academy is a unit of the state Military Department. The unit includes 28 workers in the job classes Youth Academy residential specialists 1-4 and medical assistant.

    In a cross-check tally conducted by the Public Employment Relations Commission, a majority of affected workers signed authorization cards for the Federation. The tally was Oct. 3 and the certification was issued Oct. 12.

    October 11, 2011

    WFSE/AFSCME sues to reinstate PERS-1 Uniform COLA

    The Federation Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 11) filed suit in Thurston County Superior Court to stop the state's repeal of the uniform cost-of-living adjustment promised to those in the PERS 1 retirement system - current and future retirees.

    The Legislature this year passed SHB 2021 to repeal the uniform COLA created in 1995. SHB 2021 and the repeal took effect June 30.

    The Federation lawsuit says that action violates the state constitution and due process rights and is a breach of contract.

    One other charge in layman's terms is: You can't promise something and then take it away.

    The PERS 1 Uniform COLA is an automatic, annual COLA for PERS 1 retirees. It is paid in the first calendar year in which the recipient turns age 66 and has been retired for one year. The amount of the payment is a fixed dollar amount multiplied by the member's total years of service.

    PERS 1 covers state employees hired before October 1977. That covers about 33,385 retirees already getting the COLA, 12,969 retirees not yet eligible for it and 18,524 in PERS 1 and TRS 1 (teachers) who have not yet retired.

    It is believed the Washington Education Association and the Retired Public Employees Council of Washington/AFSCME will file separate lawsuits.