Following is a statement from Richard Heath, associate vice president for administration and human resources
Washington State University’s administration is perplexed by the allegations that have been attributed by the news media to officials of the Washington Federation of State Employees.
According to media sources, WFSE officials in Olympia are alleging management interference with the recent ratification vote conducted by the WFSE on the WSU/WFSE contract. The WFSE (as of 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1) has not made any complaints of this nature to the WSU administration.
WSU denies that it did anything inappropriate with respect to the vote that was taken by the WFSE.
Further, the WFSE’s reported allegations appear unusual given the history or our previous interactions with the WFSE:
* After nine months of good faith negotiations, we reached agreement with the WFSE on a contract to be submitted for ratification to the employees and the Board of Regents.
* As part of the negotiations, WSU and WFSE agreed that all employees to be covered by the contract (about 1,250) would be allowed to vote on ratification, not just the union members (about 200).
* WSU and the WFSE also developed a joint statement regarding the contract that could be provided to employees prior to the vote; although, the WFSE later used its own statement.
* The WFSE conducted the vote under its own rules.
In the past two days, our Human Resources Department has received numerous complaints from employees concerning various tactics used by the WFSE during the ratification vote, and has explained to employees that they need to direct their concerns to the WFSE.
The Board of Regents agreed to hold a special meeting to ratify the contract, and the administration expected there would be a ratified contract for the Board to act upon at its meeting on Thursday morning (Sept. 30). When there was no official word from the WFSE on the results of the vote, the Board took action to ratify the contract pending word from the WFSE.
We are hoping that the WFSE will directly communicate with university administration, so that we can begin a dialogue and bring this matter to a mutually satisfactory conclusion.