Union contract rejected again

Classified staff in bargaining units represented by the Washington Federation of State Employees voted 502-342 to reject the proposed contract between WFSE and Washington State University. The tally (obtained from the two newspapers) also included 54 contested ballots. The revote was held on Oct. 20 or 21, depending upon locations.

The contract was originally rejected 426-401 by classified staff in a vote held on Sept. 29.

The union rejected the validity of the vote and filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the WSU, alleging that the university interfered in the voting process. The university strongly disagrees.

The contract calls for a wage increase in base pay of 3.2 percent effective July 1, 2005, and a 2.0 percent, one-time, lump-sum payment effective July 1, 2006.

These increases are similar to those requested for other WSU classified staff who are not under a bargaining unit.

The most controversial point in the contract is believed to be the inclusion of an article regarding “union security.” The article states that as a condition of continued employment, all employees are to pay for the added costs of arbitration and contract administration through union membership dues or equivalent fees paid to the union. WFSE dues are currently 1.37% to a maximum of $53.29 per month.

It is anticipated that WFSE and the university will resume discussions regarding the proposed contract in the near future.

WSU Today has been unable to reach WFSE representatives for comments about the revote or their plans for future negotiations.

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