The state Public Employment Relations Commission has announced that it will hold a conference call on Feb. 4 with representatives from the Washington Federation for State Employees and Washington State University. The purpose of the meeting is to establish a date when PERC can hold a public hearing to review the unfair labor practice complaint filed by WFSE against WSU.

The ULP complaint, filed in the fall, alleges that the university 1) interfered with the contract ratification process during the first Sept. 29 vote, and 2) refused to “bargain in good faith.”

WSU denies both allegations.

WFSE Executive Director Greg Devereux, during a brief meeting on Jan. 10 in Pullman, told WSU administrators that the union would not return to the bargaining table until the PERC made a ruling on its Unfair Labor Practice complaint.

“Obviously, we want a resolution before legislative adjournment; that’s why we’re pushing for funding of all WSU contracts, those that have been ratified and those that may go into effect depending on how PERC might rule on the ULP,” said Tim Welch, director of public affairs for WFSE, in an e-mail to WSU Today. “Whether that happens or not is anybody’s guess.”

At this point, “no one knows when the hearing date may be,” said Marc Downing, an unfair labor practice manager with PERC, said, “That depends on the schedules of the representatives of the parties. Once the hearing is held, the representatives are given the opportunity to file written briefs to support their case.”

Normally the briefs are due within about two to three weeks after the hearing, he said, but that is negotiable depending upon the schedule of the lawyers involved. That decision is made by the hearing examiner.

“We have a standard that we try to issue a decision within 90 days from close of the record, when the briefs have been filed. Sometimes it’s sooner, and sometimes it’s a little later.”

The hearing is open to the public, Downing said, and usually is held at the employer’s place of business. “We try to make it convenient to where witnesses are, so my guess is it would probably be in Pullman.”

WSU administrators did not want to comment on the URL issue, due to the pending hearing.