September 30, 2011

Budget battle update

We now know that the administration will release an “options list” to the Legislature and public Oct. 24. The administration believes it must put all the proposed cuts on the table first before discussing alternatives, including new revenue.

So we will continue to hear bad news as all the proposals are laid out, like:
  • The Health Care Authority proposal to cut the Basic Health Plan provided by our members that is a lifeline to 35,000 citizens and the cut to interpreter services that could harm 70,000 patients;
  • And the previously discussed proposals to close wards at Western and Eastern state hospitals and all but eliminate Community Corrections supervision of offenders released from prison.
Much is being done already:
  • Our Medical Interpreter members have mobilized to save the program that is vitally important to the quality of care of patients for whom English is a second language. They and their Local 1671 devised an online action here.
  • The Corrections Union Management Communication Committee is sending out an update to all DOC members on the gravity of the problem and urging to call the governor and legislators. Some DOC members will be circulating a petition.
  • Western State Hospital members’ job action and presence at an all-staff briefing and other meetings generated a flurry of press that sparked public outrage. As KOMO TV’s Ken Schram said in awarding the administration a “Schrammie” Award:

    “Targeting the vulnerable; plotting to send violent and aggressive mentally ill patients to area nursing homes is, quite frankly, unconscionable.”
More actions are coming. Medical Lake Locals 573 and 782 will host a rally Oct. 8 to be attended by some 500 delegates to the Federation Convention meeting in Spokane. It’ll be 4:30-5:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 8, near Denny’s Harvest Foods in Medical Lake, 215 E. State Route 202. If you’re not a delegate but will be in the area, stop by.

Members interested in doing job actions and want some help and advice, call April Sims at 1-800-562-6002.

Remember, legislators and the governor have encouraged you to contact them with input.

So call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Tell legislators and the governor to find alternatives to the proposed cuts.

If you want to add specifics about your agency, please do so. But stress we can’t cut our way out of this problem – revenue must be part of the solution.

September 28, 2011

DSHS Town Hall Meetings to discuss budget reduction options

Tuesday, September 27
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Catholic Community Services - 3rd Floor - Alberta Canada Room
1323 Yakima Avenue, Tacoma,  WA 98405

Thursday, September 29
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
1002 North 16th Avenue - 2nd Floor - Conference Room 5
Yakima, WA  98902


Thursday, October 6
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
840 North Broadway - Room 103
Everett, WA  98201


Monday, October 17
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Public Service Center - Elections Room - 2nd Floor - Room 226
1408 Franklin Street
Vancouver, WA  98666


Wednesday, October 19
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
8517 East Trent Avenue, Rockford Room - Main Floor - Suite 101
Spokane, WA  99213


Wednesday, October 26
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
3600 South Graham Street - Graham Room
Seattle, WA  98188

September 24, 2011

First push-back job action set for Monday at Western State Hospital

The first pushback rally at the proposed 10 percent cuts to fill the new $2 billion deficits takes place Monday at Western State Hospital in Lakewood.

Western is just one of the programs and institutions on the chopping block after agencies submitted their ideas Thursday. The governor is calling the Legislature back into session Nov. 28.

Monday’s job action is the first to call attention that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. It’s the first, but not the only. Unless we fight back everywhere, they’ll pick us off one line item, one ward closure, one institutions closure, one program elimination at a time. Their strategy is to attack us by inches, hoping it’ll be incremental enough that no one will notice – until it’s too late. And if while you may not be affected in this next round of budget cuts, remember – if they get away with it here, they will come for you next.

In the proposed budget cuts announced Thursday, DSHS would close two decertified wards at Western State and four civil wards between Western and Eastern State. Those aren’t the only DSHS cuts. But more on those later.

So Local 793 members have mobilized quickly. Monday’s public protest will be at 10 a.m. near the kitchen at Western State Hospital in Lakewood. If you’re able to join them in solidarity, please turn out. As we know, Local 793 has a long tradition of supporting your individual fights, too.

As we said, this is not the only attack and not the only push back action. More are coming or have already started, just in DSHS alone. We will have more details on the other agency cuts in these messages and any calls to action as we lead up to the Nov. 28 special legislative session.


The push-back against already proposed cuts started earlier this week for information technology workers going into the new Consolidated Technology Services agency.

But a months-long action by Local 716 members in Skamania and Klickitat counties hit a major milestone Thursday when they presented petitions signed by more than 1,000 residents to save the Community Service Office in Stevenson. DSHS wants to close the CSO. The action came at a packed town hall meeting Sept. 22 where the community, clients and our members came together to speak against the closure. But DSHS Regional Administrator Dan Owens said his hands were tied and the Stevenson CSO would close in June 2012. So stay tuned. His is not the last word. A copy of the petition was also sent to Gov. Gregoire

Tell the governor enough is enough on cuts!

On Sept. 22, state agencies unveiled possible cuts of 5 percent and 10 percent to address the still-growing state deficit.

Word leaked out many of the possible cuts will be brutal. E-mails and other information from your agency directors have been delivered to state employees. We believe those details will be shocking.

We believe the proposed cuts in such agencies as the Department of Corrections and the Department of Social and Health Services will be inconsistent with previous priorities as stated by the administration.

Enough is enough.

We’ve cut to the bone and into the marrow. The threat to public safety for our communities, the lives of vulnerable children and adults, the quality of care for disabled citizens and much more is too great.

We need flexible alternatives and agencies must work with our members at the bargaining table to work on solutions that save this state.

And with the national debate on finding new revenue for vital services, we need to have the same debate here.


Call the governor via the toll-free hotline at 1-800-562-6000.

Urge the governor to join with us in supporting new revenue and closing corporate tax loopholes to head off devastating cuts.

Enough is enough! Feel free to add information specific to your agency.

The hotline is open from 8 a.m.-12 noon and 1-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also contact the governor via her online e-mail form at:

September 20, 2011

Call Personnel Director today on CTS-IT issue

The personnel director’s hearing on the proposed package of information technology exemptions in the new Consolidated Technology Services (CTS) agency took place today.

Quickly, DOP Director Eva Santos did not act, repeat, did not act after a flurry of concerns raised by Federation members and state House Reps. Sam Hunt and Chris Reykdal of the 22nd District.

Before we get into more details, the call to action.


State Personnel Director Eva Santos said she will consider your phone calls and e-mails in making her decision. So, call Eva Santos at (360) 664-6350 or e-mail and urge her to hold off adoption of the CTS IT exempt package until at least January to allow legislators to clarify the intent of the law, to allow bargaining to finish and allow the Public Employment Relations Commission to determine bargaining unit clarification issues.


In delaying her decision, Santos said she will study the bargaining and unit clarification issues raised by the union.

The union on Monday – following previous court rulings – asked the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) to clarify the affected bargaining unit “and in the process determine whether CTS can terminate the collective bargaining rights of approximately 72 percent of the union by exempting the employees” from the civil service and collective bargaining law.

Hunt and Reykdal asked Santos to give their colleagues time to revisit the intent in the legislation that created this whole mess, ESSB 5931. Hunt told Santos the original intent was to exempt high-level IT job classes with only about 30 employees. He said the final bill has conflicting language that legislators need to go back and clarify.

“We think the scope is broader than we had intended,” Reykdal said.

Required bargaining over the issue has not wrapped up either.

Even narrowly interpreted, approving the package “gives the signal that the state is not willing to fulfill its collective bargaining obligations,” said Gladys Burbank, the Federation director of PERC activities.

Santos stuck to the narrow focus of her jurisdiction – setting salaries for the exempt classes proposed by CTS. Even on that narrow issue, Federation members ruled the day.

“The question is would I give up civil service protections and collective bargaining rights for $8,000 a year more and I wouldn’t do it,” said Tim Young, an IT member at the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“I heard you,” Santos said at the end of the hearing.

“I will consider all that’s been said today” – (including the hundreds of e-mails and phone calls she has already received from Federation members), she said.

Santos said she would act at a later date, perhaps before the Oct. 1 deadline for the agency consolidation takes effect but possibly not until January to allow the Legislature to act.

“Time is of the essence, I’m not sure I can wait until January to make a determination but I will seriously consider that,” she added.

She said she will also consider the hundreds of phone calls and e-mails that have already come in from Federation members, the bargaining that is going on and the clarification process that is now before PERC.

That’s why it’s important to call or e-mail Eva Santos. Again: call Eva Santos at (360) 664-6350 or e-mail and urge her to hold off adoption of the CTS IT exempt package until at least January.

September 16, 2011

Washington's New Biennial Budget Crunch

From the Public News Service

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington state government could take in $1.4 billion less revenue than anticipated for 2011 through 2013 for the General Fund, according to the state's chief revenue forecaster. Even so, Dr. Arun Raha had some good news in his presentation on Thursday to the State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

Farmers and exporters are doing well, Raha says, and so are Boeing and Microsoft. However, he told the council, it hasn't been enough to compensate for the drag from other industries.

"Part of the problem here is that construction accounts for 5 percent of the economy, but 10 percent of revenues - and construction is not going anywhere for another 12 to 18 months, the best I can see. That's what's holding revenue back."

Next week, state agencies will turn in tentative plans requested by the governor to trim another 5 percent or 10 percent from their budgets. But Greg Devereaux, executive director of the Washington Federation of State Employees, says he isn't pessimistic. He agrees with Dr. Raha that the national economy takes much of the blame for the state's recession, and thinks members of Congress will set aside their differences to provide some relief.

"I don't think either side will turn down the tax credit for payroll for both employee and employer; and I don't think either side will turn down the infrastructure (proposal). It may not be exactly what (President) Obama has proposed, but I think at least two-thirds of Obama's jobs bill will go through."

The Washington Legislature has already cut the state budget by $4.6 billion for this biennium, which began July 1. There is now talk of a special session and a supplemental budget, perhaps before the November budget forecast.

The council meeting and Raha's presentation can be viewed online at
Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA

September 15, 2011

Results of Community College Coalition contract ratification votes

Members at all 12 Community Colleges covered by the Community College Coalition have voted to ratify the new Community College Coalition contract.

Ballots were counted today at Federation Headquarters in Olympia.

Even though it's one contract, members of each college hold separate ratification votes.

The new contract takes effect July 1, 2012. The terms and conditions of the 2009-2011 contract remain in effect through June 30, 2012.

Here are the results:
  • Bellevue College:  9-1 to ratify
  • Centralia College:  19-0
  • Community Colleges of Spokane:  133-3
  • Everett Community College:  43-2
  • Green River Community College:  29-3
  • Lower Columbia College:  47-2
  • Peninsula College:  20-2
  • Seattle Community College:  107-6
  • Shoreline Community College:  37-0
  • South Puget Sound Community College:  26-0
  • Tacoma Community College:  31-2
  • Whatcom Community College:  26-0
 The combined vote was 527 to accept and 21 to reject.

Fight attacks on our collective bargaining rights

ESSB 5931 stripped collective bargaining rights - and a voice at work - from information technology workers moving into the new Consolidated Technology Services (CTS) agency. It was an outrage. But now it's being interpreted to strip rights from even more IT workers.

This is unacceptable.

On Sept. 20 the state personnel director will hold a hearing to formally exempt 23 IT job classifications from civil service and collective bargaining.
The workers placed in those new categories would become "at-will" employees, meaning their agency can terminate them on the spot for any reason.

No process. No protections. No justice.

This is where the rubber hits the road. An injury to one of us is an injury to all of us. Stripping the bargaining rights of 200 IT workers is an attack on the bargaining rights of all 40,000 Federation members.

Readers of the 9/15/11 HOTLINE story "Stop attacks on our collective bargaining rights" requested a list of affected job classes.  Here they are:

Members who are currently in these classifications:

  • Contracts Specialist 1 (144F)
  • Contracts Specialist 2 (144G) 
  • Contracts Specialist 3 (144H) 
  • Information Technology Specialist 2 (479J) 
  • Information Technology Specialist 3 (479K) 
  • Information Technology Specialist 4 (479L) 
  • Information Technology Specialist 5 (479M) 
  • Information Technology/Applications Specialist  (479N) 
are being reallocated into these new exempt positions:
  • B9500 Systems Integration Specialist - CTS
  • B9501 Systems Integration and Design Expert - CTS
  • B9502 Systems Integration Enterprise Expert - CTS
  • B9503 State Data Center Security Manager
  • B9504 State Data Center Infrastructure Manager
  • B9505 State Data Center Facilities Manager
  • B9506 State Data Center Services Manager
  • B9507 Telecommunications Network Specialist - CTS
  • B9508 Telecommunications Network Expert - CTS
  • B9509 Telecommunicaitons Netword Enterprise Expert - CTS
  • B9510 Contracts Specialist - CTS
  • B9511 Senior Contracts Specialist - CTS
  • B9512 Contracts Attorney - CTS
  • B9513 Contracts Manager - CTS
  • B9514 Information Technology Services Coordinator - CTS
  • B9515 Information Technology Services Manager - CTS
  • B9516 Senior Security Engineer - CTS
  • B9517 Expert Security Gateway Engineer - CTS
  • B9518 Expert Security Infrastructure Engineer - CTS
  • B9519 Security Architecture Design Engineer - CTS
  • B9520 Security Manager - CTS
  • B9521 Chief Information Security Officer - CTS

September 14, 2011

EWU members ratify contract

Members at Eastern Washington University in Cheney have ratified their 2012-2013 contract.

In the ballot count Sept. 13, the vote was 117 to accept and 3 to reject. Ten ballots were voided. The new contract takes effect July 1, 2012. The terms and conditions of the 2009-2011 contract remain in effect through June 30, 2012.

September 8, 2011

Update on the situation in Longview and elsewhere involving our allies in the Longshore and Warehouse union (ILWU)

We’re closing watching the struggle of our allies in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which is fighting back against a taxpayer-subsidized international conglomerate (EGT) at the Port of Longview and elsewhere.

The Washington State Labor Council, the Seattle Times and others report that violence erupted today as the ILWU stormed the grain terminal in Longview.

This came a day after ILWU supporters temporarily blocked rail shipments of grain through Vancouver and Longview.

All this against EGT, the joint Japanese-South Korean-US venture that is trying to undercut wages and which imported union workers from another jurisdiction to cross the ILWU picket lines. The Washington State Labor Council and others have condemned those actions.

Federation-represented Department of Agriculture grain inspectors are not crossing picket lines.

The Seattle Times reports that work at other ports, including Seattle, is at a standstill.

Meanwhile, the ILWU is appearing this afternoon before a federal district court judge in Tacoma over a petition filed by the National Labor Relations Board alleging, “ILWU Locals 4 and 21 had targeted EGT officials, workers and contractors with increasingly violent unfair labor practices,” according to the Seattle Times. Not mentioned is how an EGT contractor plowed through an ILWU picket line Aug. 29, striking and injuring two ILWU members.

There’s no question in this era of Wisconsin-style attacks on workers that the Federation joins with the Washington State Labor Council, the Oregon AFL-CIO and others in condemning the management actions to break the ILWU at Longview or any port along the West Coast. We must never forget it was the ILWU that 10 years ago stood with us in our first-ever strike. They stood with us and shut down the ports of Vancouver, Kalama and Tacoma on the first day of the walkout. That show of union solidarity kick-started the strike that then built up momentum that culminated in a successful settlement for Federation members. We must never forget that without the ILWU’s selfless actions in 2001, the Federation strike might have ended before it even started.

For more up-to-date information on the ILWU situation, check these links:

September 6, 2011

2013-2015 bargaining documents available online

You’ll soon be getting in the mail a special September edition of your union newspaper, the Washington State Employee, which will include:
  • the bargaining structure for negotiations on the next, 2013-2015 contracts;
  • the procedure for nominations and elections of members for the respective bargaining teams;
  • and a bargaining proposal form you can fill out and take to your local for consideration. The deadline for proposals is Nov. 23.
These documents are available now on the Federation website at Hover on “Bargaining” on the left side of the main page; these will be the first items on the menu, marked “NEW: 2013-2015….”

By next Monday, Sept. 12, the Federation will mail out the call for nominations for the respective teams. That form will be online soon (, hover on “Bargaining”). The deadline for nominations is Oct. 10.