Last month, Jay Inslee began his version of contract negotiations—which is really more like concessions—with executives of Washington State’s public-sector unions. Inslee, green governor that he is, kicked off talks by telling a cheering crowd of more than 500 members of the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) union that he believed “it’s unacceptable that state employees have gone so long without a general pay increase.”
Again, our green governor made this statement prior to the start of the next two-year contract negotiations between the Governor’s office and the state employee union—an act akin to dumping all of your bargaining chips on the negotiation table. Of course, Inslee’s early concession may also be a part of his plan to appease one of his biggest campaign supporters—the WFSE. In 2012, the state employees PAC contributed $750,000 to the Super PAC supporting Inslee’s gubernatorial bid– and WFSE was among the 14 union accounts that gave over $3.9 million to elect Inslee.
The update on the Inslee-state employee union contract negotiation is that are is no update. Washington State does not require state/local employment contract negotiations to be public. So, Inslee is free to make concessions to one of his highest donors in secret. According to the WFSE, 22 tentative agreements have been reached. Other than the fact that some “were housekeeping and some had some notable improvements,” the nature of the agreements remain unknown. But, the union does point out: “We can’t give you a lot of details, but you can give us a lot of feedback.”
What a comfort to Washington State taxpayers…