Union contract vote continues Tuesday, Wednesday

About 1,300 classified staff represented by the Washington Federation of State Employees have been asked to vote a third time on a proposed union contract between the WFSE and Washington State University. The content of the proposed contract, which was defeated in two earlier votes (426-401 on Sept. 29, and 502-342 on Oct. 20-21), remains the same, including a union security clause. However, the union is stating that it will separate and tally the votes for each of the seven individual bargaining units covered by WFSE. Election times, dates and locations vary based upon the bargaining unit involved, with election dates including Thursday, Dec. 1; Tuesday, Dec. 7; and Wednesday, Dec. 8. (See details below.)

The WFSE, in a Nov. 24 Federation Hotline update, http://www.wfse.org, states that individual bargaining units that approve the proposed agreement will be covered by the contract and will receive pay raises in 2005 and 2006. Those bargaining units that reject the contract “would not get the pay (raises) or other provisions in the contract.”

However, there appears to be two potential concerns, which WSU administrators are investigating:

• First, it is unknown whether approval of the proposed contract — by individual bargaining units or by all seven bargaining units — will ensure that those people covered by the agreement will receive the proposed pay raises or benefits, because the contract was not approved and submitted to the state in time to meet an Oct. 1 deadline.

RCW 41.80.010 (3) states: “The governor shall submit a request for funds necessary to implement the compensation and fringe benefits provisions in the master collective bargaining agreement or for legislation necessary to implement the agreement. Requests for funds necessary to implement the provisions of bargaining agreements shall not be submitted to the Legislature by the governor unless such requests have been submitted to the director of the office of financial management by October 1, prior to the legislative session at which the requests are to be considered.”

• Second, it was mutually agreed by both the WFSE and WSU that “all bargaining units would be covered by one bargaining agreement,” said Glenn Frye, WSU labor relations officer. “Neither side can unilaterally change any provision in the proposed contract,” Frye said. “It requires a mutual agreement from both sides.”

Frye said he has sent “several letters” to the WFSE noting that the university is willing to resume further discussions regarding the proposed contract at any time. However, WFSE has not indicated any desire to do so, he added.

Early election results

The first day of the ratification vote, Dec. 1, included Bargaining Units 1, 11 and 3. According to the WFSE website, http://www.wfse.org, the results showed two bargaining units approving the contract and one rejecting it.
* Bargaining Unit 1, the statewide cooperative-research center unit, voted 38-10 to accept the contract. 
* Bargaining Unit 11, the WSU College of Nursing based in Spokane and Yakima, voted 26-5 to accept the contract.
* Bargaining Unit 3, skilled trades, vote 80-97 to reject.

Remaining voting times and locations

Remaining voting times and locations are as follows, according to the WFSE website:

Tuesday, Dec. 7

• Bargaining Unit 5, library, 5:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., S.E. 1256 Bishop Blvd., Suite N, Professional Mall II, Pullman

• Bargaining Unit 10, administrative assistants/supervisors, 5:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., S.E. 1256 Bishop Blvd., Suite N, Professional Mall II, Pullman. (Voting by supervisors and non-supervisors will be separate.)

Wednesday, Dec. 8

• Bargaining Unit 2, services, 5:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., S.E. 1256 Bishop Blvd., Suite N, Professional Mall II, Pullman. The voting time and site for WSU Tri-Cities will be announced. (Voting by supervisors and non-supervisors will be separate.)

• Bargaining Unit 9, office, administrative and clerical, 5:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m., S.E. 1256 Bishop Blvd., Suite N, Professional Mall II, Pullman.

If you have any questions regarding the election, go to the WFSE website at http://www.wfse.org or call the state WFSE office at 1-800-562-6002.

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