2020 Public Employee Legislative Priorities

WFSE members are the best advocates for the issues that affect your workplaces! You turned out in force to advocate for public employees' rights to privacy, gain collective bargaining rights for administrative law judges, and expanded interpreters' rightto bargain to include healthcare. Read on for the highlights of our most critical 2020 Legislative Session bills.

Key BillHB 1888 (Hudgins) - Protecting state employee dates of birth from public disclosure: State employees are outraged that current law requires the state of Washington to disclose their birthdate to anyone who asks for it.  We agree all work-related information can and should be disclosed, but personal identifiers are an entirely different matter.  Transparency will not be compromised by the state reasonably protecting the safety and security of its own employees. >> PASSED

Key Bill | 2SHB 1521 (Dolan) / SB 5655 (Hunt) - Accountability and transparency in government outsourcing: Requires agencies to consider whether using state employees would be more cost-effecting before outsourcing work they have traditionally performed. The bill will strengthen transparency around government outsourcing, and ensure contractors, not the taxpayers, are responsible for any costs incurred from errors or omissions. >> PASSED

University of Washington MOU (Supplemental Budget): A memorandum of understanding between the UW and classified employees, if ratified by the Legislature, would grant a one-time $700 bonus to each worker.  In the operating budget the Legislature funded the normal GFS share for a contingent 1% + 1% for all UW employees. The UW rejected the contingent funds, saying they can’t afford to pay their share. After subsequent negotiations, the one-time bonus was the best workers could get. The Legislature will need to ratify the MOU and re-appropriate the original $7.4 million. >> PASSED

Assistant Attorneys General CBA (Supplemental Budget): Last session the Legislature passed SSB 5297 granting collective bargaining rights to AAGs. In just a few months the AAGs collected membership cards, were certified by PERC, elected a bargaining team, negotiated and ratified a skinny interim contract. The most important element is now, for the first time, all AAGs will be placed on a salary grid, bringing transparency and predictability to their compensation. The cost in new dollars is $4.8 million. >> PASSED

HB 2017 (Frame) / SB 6224 (Lovelett) - Collective bargaining for Administrative Law Judges (ALJs): ALJs at the Office of Administrative Hearings are exempt from civil service and therefore do not have a right to collectively bargain over wages and working conditions. Last year the Legislature granted CB rights to Assistant Attorneys General, who are also exempt, and the ALJs are asking for similar consideration. A new draft addressing technical issues is being prepared. >> PASSED

SB 6207 (Saldana) / HB 2691 (Valdez) – Expanding the scope of bargaining for interpreters: Currently medical interpreters have the narrowest scope of issues they are allowed to bargain over of any group in the state.  Adding “health and welfare benefits” and “other economic matters” aligns interpreters with family day care providers and adult family home providers.  It’s only fair interpreters should have the same rights as other IP groups. >> PASSED

SSB 5950 (Randall) / HB 2002 (Ortiz-Self) – Creating the social worker professional loan repayment program: After two years of qualified service, social workers and social service specialists in DCYF would be eligible for up to $50,000 in loan repayment funds spread over 10 years.  DCYF continues to struggle to retain CPS and CWS social workers in these high-pressure, high-caseload positions, and the loan repayment program would provide a powerful incentive for these vital workers to remain with the agency. >> Did not come to a vote.

HB 1965 (Hansen) - Allowing whistleblowers to bring actions on behalf of the state for violations of workplace protections: The Worker Protection Act creates a pathway for working people to enforce current labor laws, while also strengthening the state’s enforcement capabilities.  Modeled after successful efforts to reduce fraud in the Medicaid system, this will give workers a tool to protect themselves from violations of current law. >> Did not come to a vote.