PERC Examiner Finds No Discrimination in Temporary Demotion Caused by Unrelated Funding and Workload Issues

By Therese Norton

DemotionIn Seattle School District, PERC Examiner Emily Whitney dismissed a discrimination complaint brought by the Seattle/King County Building and Construction Trades Council against the Seattle School District. The Trades Council had alleged that the School District discriminated against a foreperson in the sheet metal shop when it demoted him after laying off two other staff members.

[Read more...]

College Satisfied Required Effects Bargaining of Change in Technology

By Therese Norton

BargainIn Seattle Community College, the American Federation of Teachers, Local 1789 alleged that the College committed a refusal to bargain violation when it unilaterally changed which online Learning Management System (LMS) it used without an opportunity to bargain the decision or the effects of the decision. PERC Examiner Casey King concluded that the decision to change the technology was not a mandatory subject of bargaining and that the College had sufficiently bargained the effects of its decision.

[Read more...]

PERC Affirmed Ruling of No Discrimination and No Interference by Port of Seattle Against Shop Steward

By Therese Norton

Arb DecisionsIn Port of Seattle, the Public Employee Relations Commission affirmed Examiner Martin’s ruling that the Port of Seattle did not discriminate against a shop steward when a supervisor “coached” him in his duties.  Decision 11848-A (PECB, 2014). The Commission also affirmed Examiner Martin’s ruling that the Port of Seattle did not interfere with the shop steward’s collective bargaining rights through statements made by his supervisor.

[Read more...]

Court of Appeals Holds That When Yakima Police Officer’s Disability Manifests Itself as Insubordination, City of Yakima can Terminate

By Emily Nelson

FiredIn Brownfield v. City of Yakima, the Washington Court of Appeals, Division III, found that Yakima police officer Oscar Brownfield, fired for insubordination in 2007, failed to support his claim that he was actually fired because of a disability.  The Court held that his refusal to submit to a fitness for duty examination, not the disability that led to the examination requested was the proximate cause of the discharge.

[Read more...]

PERC Examiner Finds No Discrimination or Interference Against Monroe Corrections Sergeant

By Therese Norton

Case DismisseddIn State – Corrections, PERC Examiner Emily Whitney dismissed a discrimination and interference complaint brought by the Teamsters Local 117 against the Washington State Department of Corrections.  Decision 12002 (PSRA, 2014). The Teamsters alleged that the Department discriminated against a corrections sergeant who had previously testified in a separate PERC unfair labor practice hearing by investigating him regarding the distribution of a “sensitive” video and by denying him a promotional opportunity.  Separately, the Teamsters alleged that the Department made statements that interfered with the collective bargaining rights of a unit member and shop steward.

[Read more...]

PERC Examiner Finds Employer Removal of Union Posters is Not a ULP

By Therese Norton

Bulletin BoardIn Kittitas County Public Hospital District 1, PERC Examiner Page Garcia dismissed the Washington State Nurses Association’s complaint that Kittitas Valley Healthcare refused to bargain in violation of state labor law by making a unilateral change to the past practice of allowing the Association to post its materials at the hospital. Decision 11992 (PECB, 2014). Generally, union use of bulletin boards has been found to constitute a mandatory subject of bargaining, and in this case, the Examiner again determined that any change in how bulletin boards were used at the hospital would have to be bargained with the union. Ultimately, however, Examiner Garcia ruled that the Association failed to establish the existence of a past practice to post materials at all department break room bulletin boards, in addition to the single union designated bulletin board.  As a result, the union could not carry its burden that a unilateral change violation had occurred. [Read more...]

PERC Dismissal of Untimely Lake Washington School District ULP Serves As Important Reminder to Pay Close Attention to All Timelines

By Jim Cline

 DeadlineA recent decision by PERC hearing examiner in Lake Washington School District and described in more detail in our recent blog article serves as an important reminder to pay close attention to all timelines. Although this decision arose in the context of an unfair labor practice complaint and PERC six-month statute of limitations, the same lesson applies in the processing of grievances under your labor contract.

[Read more...]

PERC Examiner Dismisses Lake Washington School District ULP Due to Untimeliness

By Therese Norton

Dismissed 2In Lake Washington School District, Examiner Page A. Garcia dismissed the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 46’s skimming complaint as untimely under Chapter 41.56 RCW.  The examiner concluded that the District provided “clear and unequivocal notice” to IBEW Local 46 in a letter to the union’s business representative, which falls outside of the six-month statute of limitations. Lake Washington School District, Decision 11913 (PECB, 2013)

[Read more...]

PERC Examiner Rules State Government Collective Bargaining Statute Does Not Create Independent Right for Employers to Allege Union Interference

By Therese Norton

In a reStatutecent decision, PERC Hearing Examiner Robin A. Romeo dismissed an interference complaint brought by some state community colleges against the Washington Public Employees Association (WPEA). Bellevue Community College, Decision 11469-A (PSRA, 2013). The community college employers alleged that WPEA had interfered with its right to select its bargaining representative, a multi-college coalition representative called the Labor Relations Office (LRO). They alleged WPEA committed an unfair labor practice when it communicated directly with the employer and attempted to sever the relationship between the colleges and the LRO. Examiner Romeo looked at the specific language of the Personnel System Reform Act of 2002 (the law covering collective bargaining for most Washington State government employees) and concluded, “Nowhere in the statute does it state that it is an unfair labor practice for an employee organization to interfere with or discourage an employer in its choice of representative.”

[Read more...]

Failure of Pacific County to Consider Mitigating Factors for Deputy Alleged to Have Mishandled Dog Bite Case, Bites County in the Butt

By Anthony Rice

In Pacific County, Arbitrator Guy Coss (PERC staff examiner assigned to arbitrate) found the County lacked just cause for suspending a sheriff’s deputy since the County failed to consider mitigating factors in a dog bite case. [Read more...]