Unfair labor practice complaint slated for Sept. 28-29 hearing

An initial decision on the unfair labor practice complaint filed last fall by the Washington Federation of State Employees against Washington State University will not be isssued by a Public Employment Relations Commission hearing examiner until late this year, at the earliest.

On Feb. 4, PERC, WFSE and WSU held a telephone conference call and selected Sept. 28 and 29 as the dates when the ULP hearing will be held by a PERC hearing examiner.

The ULP complaint, filed last 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. 11 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.

“Once the hearing is held, the (WFSE and WSU) representatives are given the opportunity to file written briefs to support their case,” Marc Downing, an unfair labor practice manager with PERC, told WSU Today prior to the Feb. 4 telephone conference call.

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 at WSU Pullman.”

If either WFSE or WSU is not satisfied with the hearing examiner’s decision, an appeal of the decision can be taken to the full Public Employment Relations Commission.

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

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