Two bargaining units covered by proposed contract

PULLMAN — Glenn Frye, Washington State University’s labor relations officer, announced Wednesday that the university and the Washington Federation of State Employees reached an agreement July 11, whereby two of its union bargaining units (numbers 1 and 11) will be covered under the collective bargaining agreement tentatively approved to on Sept. 27, 2004.

“We are please to announce this agreement,” said Frye. “The terms of the new contract are retroactive to July 1, 2005. The 3.2 percent pay increases outlined in that contract also will take effect July 1, and, because of the timing of the agreement, will be reflected beginning with Aug. 10 paychecks for those employees.”

Bargaining unit 1 includes about 107 employees from WSU’s statewide Extension research center units. Bargaining unit 11 includes about 38 employees from the Intercollegiate College of Nursing.

WFSE also has agreed to withdraw a blocking charge filed with the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission, which allows PERC to move ahead with a decertification election for bargaining unit 5 (Library).

The proposed WFSE-WSU contract was put up for approval in three different ratification elections last fall. In the first two elections — held Sept. 29 and Oct. 20-21 — all bargaining units covered by the WFSE voted as one body to turn down the proposed contract.

After the first election, the WFSE filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint with the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) against WSU.

Then, WFSE held a third election on December 1, 7 and 8 in 2004. This time, the votes were gathered and tallied specific to each bargaining unit. In that final election, four WSU bargaining units approved the contract:

• Bargaining unit 1, Extension research center units, 38-10
• Bargaining unit 11, WSU College of Nursing based in Spokane and Yakima, 26-5
• Bargaining unit 5, library, 19-15
• Bargaining unit 2, services supervisors, 4-3

And four bargaining units turned the contract down:
* Bargaining unit 3, skilled trades
* Bargaining unit 10, administrative assistants
* Bargaining unit 2, services and
* Bargaining unit 9, office, administrative and clerical

Since last December, “the landscape has changed significantly,” said Frye.

On March 16, five WFSE bargaining units (including bargaining unit 2 for supervisors, and bargaining units 3, 5, 9 and 10) filed petitions with PERC to request decertification (to no longer be represented by the union).

On April 27, the WFSE disclaimed interest in (or dropped its representation of) bargaining units 2, 9 and 10. The people in those units — approximately 795 — automatically became covered under the state’s Civil Service rules.

On July 1, employees from bargaining unit 3 (skilled trades) filed a new decertification petition. PERC is currently reviewing that petition and will make a ruling in the future on its status.

Meanwhile, bargaining unit 2 (for supervisors of service employees) remains in dispute.

PERC, WSU and WFSE have scheduled Sept. 28-29 to hold a hearing on WFSE’s unfair labor practice complaint. Consequently, a final ruling on the complaint is not expected until October or later.

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