Union contract revote pending

Several major developments affecting classified staff in the Washington Federation of State Employee bargaining units at Washington State University have transpired in the past two weeks, including plans for a revote regarding ratification of the proposed contract between the university and the WFSE.  

On Oct. 8, Tim Welch, director of public affairs for WFSE, said the union was hoping to hold the revote during the week of Oct. 18, and that the vote would be administered by an “independent third party.”

As of 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, information was not available regarding specific dates, locations and the name of the independent third party. However, the WFSE website, at http://www.wfse.org/local1066, shows “voting information sessions” slated for Thursday, Oct. 14, through Thursday, Oct. 21, at various WSU locations statewide.

Welch told WSU Today that the revote would be administered by an independent third party to help ensure that there is no inappropriate interference from either WSU management or the union. The last election was hosted and administered by the WFSE.

Here’s a quick chronological summary of recent events affecting classified staff in WFSE bargaining units:


* Sept. 27 — WFSE and WSU administrators arrived at a tentative contract agreement.

* Sept. 29 — 827 out of the approximately 1,300 classified employees covered by the WFSE bargaining units voted (401-426) to reject the proposed WFSE/WSU contract. In addition, 23 employees showed up at the polls, but did not cast a ballot; and 75 other classified employees — not on the approved list of employees covered by the WFSE bargaining agreement — came to the polls, but their votes were kept separate and not counted in the tally.

* Sept. 30 — The WSU Board of Regents — before the official results of the WFSE/WSU contract election were known — voted unanimously to give President V. Lane Rawlins authority to approve the WFSE/WSU contract on their behalf.

* Oct 1 — Pending the final outcome of the ratification vote, WSU administrators filed the contract that had been approved by the Regents with the state Office of Financial Management.

* Oct. 1 — WSU administrators filed a budget request with the state for salary increases for all classified staff in the WFSE bargaining units and the WSU Police Guild.

The salary requests for WFSE and Police Guild bargaining units were for the same amounts as those bargained with the unions. If WSU’s contract with the WFSE is ratified by the employees in the bargaining units, and approved by the governor and the Legislature, bargaining unit employees will receive a 3.2 percent raise in base pay effective July 1, 2005, and a 2 percent one-time, lump sum payment on July 1, 2006.

* Oct. 7 — WFSE told WSU Today that it was planning to hold a revote on ratification of the contract tentatively agreed to by the negotiators for the WFSE and the University.

Additional information and points of contact are available on the WFSE website http://www.wfse.org, the WFSE Local 1066 website http://www.wfse.org/local1066, and the WSU HRS/Labor Relations website http://www.hrs.wsu.edu.

Welch said the revote is an opportunity for the union to better inform employees. “We now have time to conduct a real campaign. To go out and explain the issues to the employees.”

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