March 24, 2011

Calls needed to oppose Senate version of IT Consolidation bill in current form

The Senate Government Operations Committee Thursday (March 24) took up its version of the bill to consolidate state information technology services in a new Consolidated Technology Services Agency.
But unlike the version that passed the House (SHB 1841) with the good amendment retaining all civil service and collective bargaining rights, the Senate version (SB 5761), strips those rights away.
Federation Lobbyist Alia Griffing told the panel the union is opposed to SB 5761 in its current form with workers’ rights taken away.
“Quite frankly, we’re offended by the message that civil service is a problem,” Griffing said.
Management can bring issues to the bargaining table at any time, but haven’t, she said.
“Agencies can be nimble and the flexibility sought in this legislation is already built into the system,” Griffing said.
She said the bill takes out the protections against wasteful contracting out, “which means there is no required demonstration that the work being taken away from state employees will be actually cheaper, more efficient or more effective in the private sector.”
“If we can do the work more efficiently and cheaper in-house, we should be allowed to demonstrate that and present numbers and bid on the work that does in fact go out the door.”
“Rather than bargaining over these impacts, the bill stops those conversations from happening and the message here is that we, the union, are too bothersome so we’re taken out altogether,” Griffing added. 
CALL TO ACTION: Call your senator at 1-800-562-6000 and urge her or him to oppose SB 5761, the IT merger bill, in its current form and to instead support amendments retaining state civil service, collective bargaining and competitive contracting rights.

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