Last month, the city of Shelton, by voting to take no action, denied “a pair of labor reform initiatives a spot on the November general election ballot.” Now, the city is facing a lawsuit.
The lawsuit demands the Shelton City Commission place Propositions 1 and 2—workers’ rights measures—on the February ballot. Additionally, the lawsuit seeks a “declaration that the city erred when it voted on Sept. 8 to take no action on the measures.” According to the Freedom Foundation,
“Volunteers spent the summer collecting signatures to put both measures on the November ballot. They turned in more than enough petitions on Aug. 7, and the signatures were authenticated by the Mason County Auditor’s Office on Aug. 8.
By law, the city commission then had 20 days to take action on the measures. But instead, the members waited until their Sept. 8 meeting to announce they would do nothing.”
The attorney representing the plaintiff emphasized that the Shelton City Commission had two options when presented with the initiatives: pass them or place them on the ballot. By “doing nothing,” the commissioners chose “an option that didn’t exist.”
The reason why Shelton commissioners chose to do nothing is readily apparent. The Freedom Foundation writes, “Proposition 1 would require that contract negotiations between the city and the union representing its employees be open to the public. Prop 2 would prevent the union from having the city fire workers who choose not to pay dues.” Both initiatives were “vigorously opposed by labor unions all over the state.”
The lawsuit will be heard in Mason County Superior Court on Nov. 3. Similar lawsuits are expected in both Sequim and Chelan, where “the city council members in both communities likewise voted to deny” identical initiative a place on the November ballot.