October 29, 2007
Governor Chris Gregoire
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 40002
Olympia WA 98504-0002
Dear Governor Gregoire,
I am a 24 year employee of the state Department of Revenue acting as the point person for a organization of state employees seeking honest and ethical treatment by the executive branch in the taking of our property, our pay, without our permission or due process. This taking is being done under your authority, at your delegation, (according to Dolly Garcia at DOR) by the Labor Relations Office Director Steve McLain.
Attached is my most recent letter laying out the issues and arguments for Mr. McLain. It is important that you have direct knowledge of the legal and factual issues as we go forward. If you would personally intrude and direct a review and rethinking of the policy and actions by Mr. McLain under your authority it could save time, trouble and polarization in our workplace and among voters. I call on you to do so.
Simply stated our issue is the state taking since August 25, 2007 of a new "International Fee" of $8.54, separately itemized and accounted for on my/our paychecks. Mr. McLain has stated in his October 11, 2007 letter to me that this fee was taken in response to WPEA Executive Director Leslie Liddle having "met with me on June 28th, 2007 to deliver the request in person" to "increase" fees. It is unclear if the request was in writing or oral. Mr. McLain references a series of factual and procedural items that Ms. Liddle "assured" him the WPEA had done or met in connection with this fee. It appears each of these assurances were false. As you may know Ms. Liddle is no longer employed by the WPEA, her position being eliminated within a week of the August 25 International Fee taking, and her assurances are of questionable value in a matter that appears to involve over $52,000 a month of state employee property being taken each month by your executive branch, where we employees have received no notice by the state or any due process. It is not clear that any current WPEA officer has given any assurance or been asked to justify or reassert the propriety of the International Fee, or the states authority to take that fee from employees. For all we know Ms. Liddle was acting without the knowledge or authority of the WPEA/UFCW in these details.
Union security had a troubled birth in Washington. The WPEA and LRO agreed in writing that all affected employees must be allowed to vote in exchange for union security being allowed in the 2005-2007 CBA on September 16, 2004. (Attachment 2) On September 21, 2004 DOR management received email instruction and briefings informing them that only dues paying WPEA members would be allowed to ratify the CBA, in direct violation of this agreements (Attachments 4 and 5). Christopher Parsons (now at Ecology) and Dolly Garcia (still at DOR HR) can attest to these DOR instructions. The WPEA on the same day sent emails to its reps stating only dues paying members could vote to ratify the CBA (Attachment 6). These coordinated state and WPEA statements that only dues paying WPEA members would be allowed to ratify the CBA, 5 days after the all vote agreement was signed, 4 days before the ratification vote was held, are clearly improper.
PERC found in Decision 8972-A-PSRA that " the employer agreed to a union proposal for a union security clause…. In exchange for the union accepting an employer proposal that all bargaining unit employees would be able to vote during the ratification process. The union agreed to the employers proposal." PERC then ruled that the WPEA violated the agreement, counted only union member votes, and interfered with the rights of employees to freely associate. PERC was unaware of the DOR coordination and communication of the denial of a vote to non union staff, who comprised about 86% of DOR employees.
With this history it is critical that employees now be treated with the trust and respect we deserve. The state is taking the new International Fee based on the request from an ousted WPEA official and numerous false assurances she provided. A fair reading of the attached Steve McLain letter will make clear that serious issues exist about the states authority to take this new fee. I and many other state employees are longtime Democratic voters and supporters. We ask for honesty, integrity and fair treatment in this state taking being done in your name by Mr. McLain. We appreciate the political sensitivity of denying this union a request of this nature, but strongly request that the state cease using its power to take our property without due process, and leave the matter to be resolved between employees and the WPEA without state involvement.
We believe our rights have been violated and abused. We seek relief from you. Please read the letter to Steve McLain carefully to understand our circumstances raised. At a minimum you are now under clear legal notice of our issues and concerns. If you can provide some positive resolution on this matter now it would be greatly appreciated. I would be pleased to meet with you or your designee alone or in a group of state employees to explain our concerns further. If the state is unwilling to allow us due process or relief in this taking issue we will seek relief elsewhere.
1118 East D Street #7
Tacoma WA 98421
CC James Richmond, Attorney at Law