October 1, 2007
Labor Relations Office
P.O. Box 43113
Olympia, WA 98504-3113
Attn Steve McLain
Demand to Cease Washington State WPEA/UFCW International Fee
The State of Washington, an employer, has been taking a "UFCW
International Fee" payment from state employee paychecks and giving it to
the WPEA. The amount of $8.54 a month is being taken from state employees
paychecks. It may be taken in different amounts or under another name at
different agencies, Departments or institutions. This dispute is strictly
between the class of state employees subject to this state taking, and the State
of Washington, our employer who is taking our property. While the WPEA/UFCW may
have requested or demanded that the state take this employee property, it is the
act of the state in taking our pay and giving it to the union in dispute. This
Demand and action are taken on behalf of the entire class of state employees
affected by this state taking, at whatever agency, department or institution
including institutions of higher education. It is submitted in this form to
place the state under clear notice that the taking is not authorized according
to WPEA bylaws or the UFCW Constitution, nor is it authorized by the CBA.
We demand and direct the State of Washington to:
Immediately stop the taking of "International Union Fees" in
whatever amount, or taking any deductions other than the 1.25% WPEA union
dues up to the allowed cap from state employees paychecks, and cease
delivery or giving this employee property to the WPEA/UFCW.
Refund to all state employees any property previously taken by Washington
State and given to the WPEA/UFCW in whatever amount, which the state has not
documented to be fully authorized consistent with contracts, agreements,
authorization cards, Constitutions and Bylaws, and having been taken without
due process required under the state and Federal Constitutions. Employees
are entitled to notice and due process, the state is not to act as an agent
of these unions.
For the State of Washington to fully explain and justify the legal
authority, due diligence, and due process followed by the state in this
taking of employee property.
In a letter dated July 25, 2007, to "All WPEA/UFCW 365 Bargaining Unit
Members, and Other Members of WPEA/UFCW 365", from "WPEA/UFCW 365
Executive Board" it was stated that "Effective August 1, 2007 each
member will be charged a monthly "International Union
Fee" of $8.54, in addition to their WPEA Dues (1.25% of gross salary). This
letter also notes that the WPEA affiliated with the UFCW in May 2003 to protect
the WPEA from "raiding by other state employee unions… our only
protection from these raids was to affiliate with an international union…
which forbids raiding of one union by another". The affiliation was taken
TO PROTECT THE WPEA on May 19, 2003, not to represent employee interests.
Raiding would involve employees choosing to affiliate with another union. The
letter states "All Affected Locals" are required to pay a monthly per
member fee to the UFCW. It is our information that the WPEA has been paying this
fee under the following schedule:
$1.00 per capita through May 18, 2004
$2.00 per capita through May 18, 2005
$3.00 per capita through May 18, 2006
$4.00 per capita through May 18, 2007
$12.54 per capita beginning May 19, 2007
In short, the WPEA committed itself to pay these per capita fees, to
affiliate with the UFCW, to protect the WPEA from competition with other unions.
This affiliation is for the benefit of the WPEA, not employees. It reduces
employee choice and options in affiliation. The UFCW represents grocery clerks,
and has minimal or negative value to state employees. WPEA members chose to
affiliate with the UFCW to benefit the WPEA itself in 2003, prior to the forced
unionization of state employees. The WPEA paid these fees without any charge to
employees up to August 25, 2007.
The UFCW Constitution and WPEA Bylaws create a process for increasing,
establishing or levying dues, and general or special assessments, as well as Per
Capita Taxes. UFCW Constitution Article 38.A states "Except as otherwise
provided in this Constitution, reasonable dues, initiation and reinstatement
fees, and general or special assessments shall be established, increased or
levied by local unions by a majority vote by secret ballot of the members.
Not less than 15 days written notice of such proposed action shall be
sent to the membership prior to the voting."
The WPEA Bylaws, Article XI, section A states: "Except as otherwise
provided in the International Constitution, reasonable dues, initiation and
reinstatement fees, and general or special assessments shall be established,
increased or levied by local unions by a majority vote by secret ballot of
the members. Not less than 15 days written notice of such proposed action
shall be sent to the membership prior to the voting."
Article 38.3 of the UFCW Constitution covers increases in the Per Capita Tax.
It states "If the International Executive Board exercises it’s authority
pursuant to Article 18 (A) 3 of this Constitution to increase the per capita tax
an additional amount effective June 2002, or later, the monthly dues in each
local union shall be increased by an additional amount equal to
twice such increase in the per capita tax, effective the first day of the
month such tax increase is effective".
Article 18 of the UFCW Constitution covers International Revenue. 18(A) 3.
defines "… a monthly per capita tax payable by Local Unions…"
Section (D) states "Payment of all financial obligations owed
to the International Union shall be made by each Local Union…"
The following points are critical.
The WPEA did not provide 15 days notice of a proposed action.
It stated the $8.54 would be charged and taken from employee paychecks.
The 2003 vote was "about the pros and cons of affiliation"…"Affiliation
with the UFCW was unanimously passed". The 2003 "vote" was
not a secret ballot to approve charging or increasing an UFCW International
Fee, a Per Capita Tax, dues, or special assessment as defined and governed
by the UFCW and WPEA Constitution and Bylaws. No secret ballot approving
charging employees the $8.54 or any amount or affiliation fee has been held
by the WPEA. The WPEA contracted to pay this affiliation fee, to benefit the
WPEA. It has paid this fee for 4 years.
The July 25, 2007 WPEA letter states "All affiliated locals are
required to pay a monthly per member (per capita) fee to their International
Union". Note the "local" is required to pay, not the
employees. The employees have not authorized the assessment of any such dues
or fees after notice and secret ballot as required. It is the WPEA’s
obligation, not the employees, which the WPEA alone has paid for 4 years,
since prior to the forced unionization of the state workforce.
If this charge is viewed as a per capita tax the UFCW Constitution
Article 38.3 may govern passing along any increase. This Article mandates
such an increase be authorized by the UFCW Executive Board, that "the
monthly dues in each local union shall be increased by an
additional amount equal to twice such increase in the per capita tax, effective
the first day of the month such tax increase is effective". In
this case the "increase" to $12.54 is not new as authorized by the
UFCW Executive Board. It was the standard rate as authorized by that board
in 2003. The WPEA has been paying this rate since May 19, 2007, the WPEA
committed to pay this rate in May 2003, the rate has not been changed by the
UFCW Executive Board since that time, and we believe the WPEA had negotiated
a phased in "teaser rate" schedule which was paid prior to that
date. The WPEA has never been authorized to charge this Fee to employees in
any amount. This increase or amount was not charged to employees
"effective the first day of the month such increase is effective",
which was no later than May 2007. Any increase of per capita fees under
Article 38.3 is required to be doubled by the WPEA. None of these UFCW
Constitution or WPEA Bylaw requirements or tests have been met or followed
by the WPEA to charge state employees this "International Fee" or
"per capita tax". This fee does not appear to be governed or
authorized by Article 38.3.
Article 18 of the UFCW Constitution also states that the per Capita Tax
is a debt that is payable by the local unions. No where
does Article 18 require the individual employees to pay this fee or Tax. It
requires the WPEA to pay this tax. The WPEA has been paying this tax. The
state is taking employee property and giving it to the WPEA without legal
cause or authorization.
Employees of the State of Washington are not to have our property taken by
the state without due process and clear legal authority. When taking the pay of
thousands of state employees, and giving it to a politically active and
influential union with executive branch relationships which include the Labor
Relations Office and DOP, the Governor, and Agency HR management, the state has
a high duty and requirement for due diligence and due process to meet before
such a taking and giving of employee cash to the WPEA.
The state appears to be failing this duty, and improperly doing the bidding
of the WPEA in this case. We place the state under clear notice that:
The WPEA and UFCW have not followed the requirements of their Bylaws or
Constitution in authorizing the $8.54 International Union Fees deduction
or any similar deduction from employees.
The CBA does not authorize deduction of this charge from employee pay
by the state. This fee was known and being paid by the WPEA alone through
the 2005-2007 CBA and was known during the negotiation of the 2007-2009
CBA. The CBA only authorizes deduction of WPEA union dues or a
representation fee of 1.25% gross salary up to a cap amount. This UFCW
International Fee is not subject to the union security article.
The state has intimidated, influenced and directed state employees to
sign and submit "payroll deduction authorization cards". It has
intimidated and influenced employees not to rescind those cards who sought
to do so as a result of the International Fee taking. Those cards only
authorize "monthly dues or fees of 1.25% gross salary…or as dues or
fees may…be adjusted in accordance with the UFCW Constitution".
These charges or fees are not in accordance with that Constitution. In
fact this international fee is new, reported as a separate deduction under
a new name by the state on the state "Earnings and Deductions
This International Union Fee is being improperly taken from
Representation Fee payers with no union membership or international
affiliation at all.
Demand For Immediate Relief and Response
The state, and all agencies, departments and institutions to immediately
end and cease all "UFCW International Fees" or increased
deductions taken from employee pay in excess of the 1.25% of gross salary up
to the cap amount. The state and executive branch should not act as the
agent of the WPEA to take employee property and give it to these union
political allies under these facts.
That the state and all agencies, departments and institutions immediately
refund all amounts the state has taken from employee pay and given to the
UFCW. This taking is the act of the state, it is an internal matter between
the state and the WPEA if the state wishes to have the WPEA refund this
money to the state. The state has done the taking from employees, and is
solely responsible for returning the property.
That the state provide a clear written statement of the legal authority
and justification for this taking of employee property, identify who
individually was involved in the decision and what their role was, what due
process was provided by the state to employees in relation to this state
taking, and what due diligence was done, by who, on behalf of the state to
determine the taking was legal, fully authorized, and employee rights to due
process were followed in relation to this WPEA requested taking of employee
property by the state.
As a Public Records Request, the state and all agencies,
departments, institutions and office’s provide all public records related
to the WPEA/UFCW International Fees, per capita taxes, or increased employee
deductions under whatever name to include emails in their current format, to
include electronic copies of Outlook inbox, sent, and deleted messages if
that is their nature, or printed versions if so existing currently, phone
records, letters, and all other related documents from whatever source. This
is to include all documents related to demand #3 above. If the state chooses
to print documents into hardcopy rather than provide them in electronic
formats as they exist, these hardcopy documents should be provided free of
State employees have been forced into politically active unions by the
Executive branch and unions working together, including the WPEA and state
coordinating the denial of a required vote by all employees. The Executive
branch, and in our information the Labor Relations Office, specifically now have
improperly authorized and directed state agencies and institutions to take
employee property, give it to the WPEA, without due process to employees, based
on nothing more than the apparent request of the WPEA/UFCW to the state and LRO
to perform this taking.
The state should respect, defend, and strictly support employee rights to
free speech, free association, and due process before taking our property. The
executive branch appears to have again supported the WPEA and violated employee
rights. We view this as a continuing pattern and enterprise of union political
corruption involving the executive branch of Washington State and the WPEA.
This Demand is brought on behalf of all affected Washington State employees
at any agency, department, or institution including higher education, community
colleges or other educational employees, and is not limited to General
Government CBA covered employees.
We ask for and expect a prompt response to these serious violations of the
due process and other rights to be free from improper government taking or
interference which state employees are experiencing at the hands of the
Signed this _____day of October 2007
Dennis Redmon individually
Dennis Redmon for the class of state employees affected
As President, Fair Washington Labor Association
1118 East d street #7
Tacoma WA, 98421
Cc James Richmond, attorney at law
Rob McKenna, Washington State Attorney General