|Ted S. Warren AP file, 2015
Senate Republicans continue to fiddle around on our contracts – and get a 4% raise for doing it.
Well, as we told you before, the first 30-day special session of the Legislature ends May 23 with no budget solution and very little action elsewhere in Olympia.
Yet, the Republicans in control of the state Senate actually did something Wednesday (May 17).
They came out of hibernation not to solve the education crisis or finish the budget, but to take one more swipe at our problem-solving contracts with their modest and targeted pay raises to address the recruitment and retention crisis in state government.
This came after the recent expose by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Center for Media and Democracy that the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation is using its $800 million war chest to attack your rights at work. They call it “right to work” but it’s really a slick upside-down PR attempt that would give you the right to a job only if you agree to less power to negotiate fair pay, benefits and the right to speak up together.
A summary from the WSLC’s The Stand on Tuesday (May 16) revealed that the Bradley Foundation granted $1.5 million to the so-called “Freedom Foundation” in our state to “defund” this movement – the Federation of State Employees – that is owned by 40,000 Federation members. This is the movement that has joined members in unison to win work rights, collective bargaining, pay equity and civil rights. See more on the Bradley Foundation/Freedom Foundation scandal at: http://www.thestand.org/2017/05/bradley-foundation-targets-washington-unions/
By they way, this is the “foundation” that has gone after state employees’ freedom from invasion of our personal security by trying to force state agencies to turn over the dates of birth for state workers. So far, the Federation and its allies have blocked that effort for a year in lower courts. But the full hearing before the State Court of Appeals takes place next Tuesday (May 23) in Tacoma. The court is expected to rule later this summer or early fall.
Meanwhile, in the midst of an unprecedented budget crisis, the Senate Republicans choose to follow the Bradley Foundation/Freedom Foundation line and take pot shots at our ratified contracts and negotiated pay raises. That took place Wednesday in the Senate Commerce, Labor and Sports Committee.
That contradiction caught the eye of one news organization, KGY radio in Olympia. They came to us and got the side of the story missed at the pointless Senate hearing. The two-part interview with Federation Spokesman Tim Welch airs today and tomorrow.
“While everyone is waiting for them (the Senate) to negotiate a budget and a constitutional solution to the education funding issue, they decided to take one more swipe at state employees and public employees and their negotiated contracts and whether they should be funded in the budget,” Welch told KGY’s Nic Scott. “And we think that (attack) is a complete waste of time.”
And while our raises are in doubt, raises for the very politicians wasting taxpayer time on pot shots at your pay are not in doubt.
A citizens’ commission on Wednesday granted legislators raises of 4 percent over the next two years; under the law, their raises are automatic and do not require the kind of scrutiny given our three 2 percent raises to help custodians, gardeners, direct-care workers, and those who keep us safe and sound and living in a great state.
The irony wasn’t lost on another news organization.
“State lawmakers haven’t finished an operating budget on time in eight years,” the Tacoma News Tribune reported today (May 18).
“They’re about to get raises anyway.”
See more at: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article151133307.html